Nicole Reads

Nicole Reads

Consumed with wanderlust. Dreams of writing her own novel. Devours books. Fluent in Spanglish. Intersectional feminist.

4 Stars
[REVIEW] The Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon
The Sun Is Also a Star - Nicola Yoon

This book is so... bittersweet. For a hot second, I thought it was going to end badly and I was ready to hurtle my e-reader across the room but it ended well so I’m pleased. Some parts resonated with me more than I wanted to (like immigration, regret, dreaming so much you forget to live) and I had to take breaks in case it overwhelmed me. Daniel is a sweetie and Natasha... I just wanted to hug her.

2 Stars
[REVIEW] The Wicked King by Holly Black
The Wicked King - Holly Black

Right after finishing it
I don’t know how to rate this. I’m not sure if I loved it (which is possible because I swallowed it in less than 24 hours) or if I hated it (THAT ENDING WTF). I need to think.


Unpopular Opinion Time~
I'm more inclined to believe that I... hated it? Cardan (lbr the real reason I'm reading this) hardly interacts with Jude or even appears on the page. Nothing really happens so I ended up skimming big chunks

particularly when Jude is kidnapped and from what I can tell, I didn't really miss much.

(show spoiler)

Most of the issues between Jude and Cardan would be solved if they just TALKED. The big twist at the end just made me rage because it makes me think that in book 3 (which I will be reading because I clearly hate myself) Cardan and Jude will have even less time together. All of this to say that I ended up even more frustrated and with more questions than I expected.

4 Stars
[REVIEW] The Governess Game by Tessa Dare
The Governess Game - Tessa Dare

What a delightful book. Just what I needed to start off my year as a hopeless romantic. I laughed, I gasped, I cried (a little) and I swooned. Alexandra (Alex) was such a wonderful heroine and Chase was such a funny, dashing rake. Their chemistry is really good and really steamy! Also, the daily doll funerals had me laughing all the time. I just really love how light and carefree and happy I feel after I finished reading it.

4 Stars
[REVIEW] The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
The House on Mango Street - Sandra Cisneros

It’s hard to rate this book, the first book of the new year. I loved the intro because it spoke directly to my soul in such a way that it left me breathless. The little vignettes were a mixed bag: some good, some boring, some I wanted to skim through. However, when she spoke of the little girls, my heart broke for I saw how little being a woman has changed. Cisneros prose is a strange yet delightful mix: such beauty with bouts of grittiness.

3.5 Stars
[REVIEW] A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman
A Thousand Beginnings and Endings - Preeti Chhibber, Roshani Chokshi, Alyssa Wong, Aisha Saeed, Melissa  de la Cruz, Sona Charaipotra, Elsie Chapman, Renee Ahdieh, Rahul Kanakia, Julie Kagawa, Shveta Thakrar, Aliette de Bodard, Cindy Gerard, Lori Foster, David G. Myers, Ellen Datlow

Probably my last book of the year. It was a very good anthology filled with folklore and mythologies (a subject that I really love) that I have not been usually exposed to but I enjoyed reading about very much. Some were better than others, some felt quite flat.

Rating for each story

Forbidden Fruit by Roshani Chokshi 3.5/5
Bittersweet story. Had lovely turns of phrases. Something didn’t quite click with me though. I felt the writing, while super pretty, kept me at a distance and didn’t allow me to connect with the characters or the story.

Olivia’s Table by Alyssa Wong 4/5
Sad ghost story, filled with melancholy and loss and also honor and respect. It made me feel things.

Steel Skin by Lori M. Lee 2.5/5
I didn’t like this one mostly because I kinda guessed the twist and because the end was left up in the air. Not sure if the element of the androids helped or hindered the story the author was trying to tell.

Still Star-Crossed by Sona Charaipotra 3.5/5
Creepy but good.

The Counting of Vermillion Beads by Aliette de Bodard 3.5/5
I felt lost during most of the story and had a hard time differentiating Cam and Tam until halfway through. I am glad the author retold this folktale in a way that the sisters weren’t enemies but helped each other out.

The Land of the Morning Calm by E.C. Myers 4/5
This one might be my favorite so far. It made me cry. It felt like a story, even if it was a short one. It left me feeling satisfied.

The Smile by Aisha Saeed 4.5/5
By far my favorite. It was lovely and powerful and rang true to me. This is what I expect of retelling.

Girls who Twirl and other Dangers by Preeti Chhibber 2/5
Meh. Didn’t love it. It was only ok.

Nothing into All by Renée Ahdieh 3.5/5
Well-written and very cute. 

Spear Carrier by Rahul Kanakia 1/5
Didn’t like this one. Couldn’t relate to it at all and it was too vague and emotionless for me to care.

Code of honor by Melissa De la Cruz 2.5/5
Felt jumbled and all over the place. I didn’t hate it but I couldn’t connect with it.

Bullet, Butterfly by Elsie Chapman 3/5
Man, this one made me sad. I wished it would’ve ended differently, but it is what it is.

Daughter of the Sun by Shveta Thakrar 3/5
Sometimes it rushed and the characters didn’t possess enough depth. The story itself was interesting.

The Crimson Cloak by Cindy Pon 4.5/5
I really liked this one. I loved that the author gave the weaver a decisive voice and that their tale is one of choice on both sides.

Eyes like Candlelight by Julie Kagawa 5/5
I loved this one. Probably because I’m familiar with some Japanese mythology. The story was very well-written and catches you immediately, not letting you go until the end.

3 Stars
[REVIEW] A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Andrews
A Holiday by Gaslight  - Mimi Matthews

A very cute holiday (Christmas to be specific) novella. I enjoyed Ned and Sophie's relationship, seeing it grow and develop was satisfying. I enjoyed the cast of characters even if I wanted to strangle a few of them like her father and at times her younger sister. 

I really wish Sophie had told her father off or at least not accepted so readily that her sister and herself--at least to him--are not his legacies but the house is. Then again, I also found that to be sadly very believable.

(show spoiler)

The romance in itself was very sweet and chaste. Ned was a perfect gentleman, though at times one wished for some sexiness to spice things up.

3 Stars
[REVIEW] Super Chill: A Year of Living Anxiously by Adam Ellis
Super Chill: A Year of Living Anxiously - Adam Ellis

I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoy reading Adam Ellis’s comics on Instagram. They always make me smile. I expected to enjoy them in a book format in the same way, but by the time I reached the end, I was left high and dry. Before I could really get into them or enjoy them as much as I wanted to, it was over. I was also surprised at the lack of cohesion between them. Sure, it doesn’t stop them from being incredibly relatable and super easy to read. I just wanted more. However, I did appreciate his humorous approach to talking about mental illness, and I loved the comics about his trip to Japan: the food he ate, his love of the character Gudetama and his ability to procrastinate planning said trip until he was actually in Japan. Even though I didn't love this, I still look forward to his reading work.

4 Stars
[REVIEW] Loading Penguin Hugs: Heartwarming Comics from Chibird by Jacqueline Chen
Loading Penguin Hugs by Jacqueline Chen Loading Penguin Hugs: Heartwarming Comics from Chibird - Jacqueline Chen

I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I follow this artist from tumblr and I love her art. It's adorable and heartwarming and always makes me smile. This book was a quick, easy and uplifting read. The illustrations are colorful and cuddly. There isn’t necessarily a connecting thread in the pages and some messages came across as redundant and repetitive but it didn’t bother me too much. This is definitely a book that requires you to have it as a physical copy so you can open it on a random page when you’re feeling under the weather and get a burst of positivity and cuteness.

4 Stars
[REVIEW] Fence #11 by C.S. Pacat and Johanna the Mad
Fence #11 - Joana Lafuente, Johanna Lindsey, C.S. Pacat

This was a really cute issue. Eugene behaved like the best boy.

4 Stars
[REVIEW] Fence #10 by C.S. Pacat and Johanna the Mad
Fence #10 - C.S. Pacat, Johanna Lindsey, Joana Lafuente

This was so damn INTENSE and also cute. 


You gotta give it to those two lonely boys. They are adorable even when they first fight.

3 Stars
[REVIEW] Fence #9 by C.S. Pacat and Johanna the Mad
Fence #9 - C.S. Pacat, Johanna Lindsey, Joana Lafuente

I feel for Kally but I’m glad Nicholas is improving. That last panel, tho...

3 Stars
[REVIEW] Fence #8 by C.S. Pacat and Johanna the Mad
Fence #8 - C.S. Pacat, Johanna Lindsey, Joana Lafuente

Back to this being just ok. I did enjoy the peek into Seiji’s routine and his discipline. I also like Harvard a lot. He seems to be the more mature of the bunch.

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
4 Stars
[REVIEW] Fence #7 by C.S. Pacat and Johanna the Mad
Fence #7 - C.S. Pacat, Johanna Lindsey, Joana Lafuente
Omg does Aidan like Harvard? I AM DED. This is so cuuute. These are getting much more interesting or at least I’m more captivated.


4 Stars
Fence #6 by C.S. Pacat and Johanna the Mad
Fence #6 - C.S. Pacat, Johanna Lindsey, Joana Lafuente

I really enjoyed this one! Finally, you got to see another side of Seiji and Nicholas. This made me laugh and I really needed it.

3 Stars
[REVIEW] Fence #5 by C.S. Pacat and Johanna the Mad
Fence #5 - C.S. Pacat, Johanna Lindsey, Joana Lafuente

It has its good points. It was good to see Seiji sweat but at the same time, I want to smack Aiden for being a manipulative asshole? Meh.

3 Stars
[REVIEW] Crown Anthology, edited by Analog de Leon & Gabriel Sage
Crown Anthology - Analog De Leon

I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

"Do not reduce yourself
to anything less than
who you are meant to be,
so that your heart will not engulf people
who are not meant to survive 
within its vastness."
(pg. 105)

This anthology is definitely a mixed bag. Some of the poems resonate with me, some feel hollow, some aren’t very well written and others are a big wtf. The good thing is most of them seem short and the collection is remarkably easy to read through. The foreword by Tyler Knott Gregson was eye-roll worthy. A bit trite, to be honest. But then again I’ve never connected with his poetry. I feel as if some of the poems were trying too hard to be inspirational, while others rang truer to me. Of course, this is very personal and not everyone responds the same. I just expected to feel more and not less.

currently reading

Progress: 20/234pages