A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow Review

Hi all,
I hope you’re all having a, as much as it can be, good week. I’ve been checking twitter every so often for updates on the election, I’m sure I’m not the only one, but reading has been such a good distraction for me.
I had the pleasure to take part of the following book’s Blog Tour which had some of my favourite things combined.

A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow

by Laura Taylor Namey

Genre: YA Fiction
Release Date: Nov. 10th, 2020
Publisher: Simon and Schuster

For Lila Reyes, a summer in England was never part of the plan. The plan was 1) take over her abuela’s role as head baker at their panadería, 2) move in with her best friend after graduation, and 3) live happily ever after with her boyfriend. But then the Trifecta happened, and everything—including Lila herself—fell apart.

Worried about Lila’s mental health, her parents make a new plan for her: Spend three months with family friends in Winchester, England, to relax and reset. But with the lack of sun, a grumpy inn cook, and a small town lacking Miami flavor (both in food and otherwise), what would be a dream trip for some feels more like a nightmare to Lila…until she meets Orion Maxwell.

A teashop clerk with troubles of his own, Orion is determined to help Lila out of her funk, and appoints himself as her personal tour guide. From Winchester’s drama-filled music scene to the sweeping English countryside, it isn’t long before Lila is not only charmed by Orion, but England itself. Soon a new future is beginning to form in Lila’s mind—one that would mean leaving everything she ever planned behind.


For more information about the Blog Tour and the schedule click the image

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐.5

6 reasons to read this book
*MC is Cuban-American girl, LI is a white English boy, slowburn romance
*Cuban representation! cuban food, culture, families, traditions
*so much food! perfect for foodie! and latinx/cuban foodies especially
*England setting, but a village in the South East
* explores themes of overcoming grief, accepting change, forgiveness, lots of explaration of family dynamics especially tight-knit family, friendship dynamics,
*light and fluffy read, some sad moments but overall light-hearted with a splash of romance

cw: death of a family member, dementia, grief, loss

Lila Reyes just went through what she calles the Trifecta, her grandmother died suddenly, her best friend without telling her decided not to move in with her and leave the country and her boyfriend of three years decided he needed to ‘find himself’. Things are not going her way and most of all Lila is not dealing well with the grief. Her family scared for her decide the best thing for her to do is some time off and what more is perfect than spending the summer in a quaint nice small village in South East, England with her aunts. But Lila isn’t very happy about this plan or her family making all these decisions over her.
When the book starts Lila is stubborn, she’s stuck in her ways and sees very little nice about England, but as time goes on, as she opens up not only to her aunt and her life in Winchester, but to Orion, his friendship, his group of friends and little by little we can see how she starts overcoming loss.
Orion is an interesting character because we meet him, he seems put together with his nice little tea shop. But he also has been dealing with grief in his own ways.
It was nice to read these two characters meeting, kind of a reluctant to friends dynamic at first, and from there a sweet slow friends to romance happens.
I especially loved the food and culture infusion within the book, the recipes were mouth-watering, some of them made me miss home.

I do have to admit it took me a while to get into the book especially because Orion seemed to good to be true all throughout the book, and I guess the slow pace plus the formatting errors of the E-ARC had me at times pushing myself to finish it.
But this book did remind me of all the things I love about England, it’s not an amazing place sometimes, but some other times, the people I’ve met here, like Lila, made this a place I’m so fond of.

The moments were she grieved over her grandmother were also bits I could relate to, I’m still grieving my grandmother and reading Lila going through that was probably one of my favourite aspects of the book, that overcoming her grief.
I have to comment on the last bit of the book, since it has such a romcom ending, but honestly as it was very light-hearted throughout, it also made sense for the book to end as it did.

Overall, if you’re looking for a light-hearted read of journey to overcoming loss, moving on and accepting change in a village in England with some tint of romance, a sprinkle of family and new (and old) friendships and a big big splash of food, this is the perfect book for you.

Laura Taylor Namey is a Cuban-American Californian who can be found haunting her favorite coffee shops, drooling over leather jackets, and wishing she was in London or Paris. She lives in San Diego with her husband and two superstar children.
This former teacher writes young adult novels about quirky teens learning to navigate life and love. Her debut, The Library of Lost Things, published 10/08/19 from Inkyard Press/HarperCollins. Her #ownvoices sophomore project, A CUBAN GIRL’S GUIDE TO TEA AND TOMORROW is coming November 10, 2020 from Atheneum Simon and Schuster, with a third title to follow fall 2021.


A Taste of Sage Review

Hi all,

Late post today. Last week was a bit hectic as I have started working (teaching) again, this involves commuting, wearing a face visor or a mask 24/7 and then commuting back home. I’m a bit rusty on that kind of routine so things piled up.
Good thing about commuting though, getting to read (audiobooks most of the time) books 🙂 so I’ve been doing great in terms of TBR! But we’ll talk about that later!
Today I bring you the review of one of my most anticipated books of this year.

A Taste of Sage

by Yaffa S. Santos

Genre: Adult Romance
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Release Date: May 19th, 2020

Lumi Santana is a chef with a gift: she can perceive a person’s emotions by tasting their cooking. Despite being raised by a mother who taught her that dreams and true love were silly fairy tales, she puts her heart and savings into opening her own fusion restaurant in Upper Manhattan. The restaurant offers a mix of the Dominican cuisine she grew up with and other world cuisines she is inspired by.
When her eclectic venture fails, she is forced to take a position as sous chef at a staid, traditional French restaurant owned by Julien Dax, a celebrated chef known for his acid tongue as well as his brilliant smile. After he goes out of his way to bake a tart to prove her wrong in a dispute, she is so irritated by his smug attitude that she vows to herself never to taste his cooking.
But after she succumbs to the temptation and takes a bite one day and is overcome with shocking emotion, she finds herself beginning to crave his cooking and struggling to stay on task with her plan to save up and move on as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Julien’s obsessed secretary watches with gnashed teeth as they grow closer and becomes determined to get Lumi out of her way permanently.


Rating: ⭐⭐⭐.5

6 reasons to read this book
*mc is dominican-american, LI is french-canadian
*feel good rom-com about two chefs, food and love in the kitchen
*perfect for foodies! recipes included within the book
*MC has a form of synesthesia wherein emotions are attached to food
*some tropes include dislike to like, coworkers to lovers, HEA, smitten hero, miscommunication
*Dominican representation, food, culture

cw: serious injury, depictions of being shocked, scars, sex scenes

A Taste of Sage tells the story of Lumi Santana who senses people’s emotions through cooking, she’s been told never to eat someone elses cooking as they could hurt her. All her savings were put into her Dominican/Other cuisine fusion restaurant on Upper Manhattan. But when it starts struggling, she’s forced to quit the restaurant of her dreams and become a sous chef at the traditional French restaurant owned by the arrogant Julien Dax. She’s determined to save up and move on as soon as possible, but when she tries his food and spends more time with him outside of the kitchen, she starts to rethink her opinion of him.

I have to admit this was a very quick read, the book isn’t too long but also the pace of the book helps to make this a quick and fun read. One of the things I most loved about this book was the Dominican representation, not only through food but little mentions here and there that felt real. Lumi, with all her issues and insecurities was a great heroine, one that was flawed but also determined to make it through.
There were some very dramatic issues that happened in the book and even Lumi had some dramatic reactions to a lot of things – no spoilers here – which at times took me out of the story or felt too fantastical.
I loved the magical way food was presented here, Lumi’s connection to food and how she could feel emotions, this was one of my favourite aspects of the book as well as all the recipes included.
Julien was hard to like, it took me a while to get to know him, as when he’s first introduced you immediately think of him as the typical arrogant French rich boy. But it’s nice to see how what we know of him changes as the book goes on.
The pacing of the book was, sometimes, too fast and sometimes not fast enough, and by this I basically mean that I wish there were more moments of their relationship growth. I didn’t get to see enough of their chemistry to fully get 200% (as I usually do) invested in their relationship. But even then, I like seeing the main characters be happy and together by the end of the book.

Overall, this was a good, quick read with amazing food included. I would say don’t read this if you’re hungry.

Yaffa S. Santos was born and raised in New Jersey. A solo trip to Dominican Republic in her teenage years changed her relationship to her Dominican heritage and sparked a passion for cooking and its singular ability to bring people together. Yaffa is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied writing and visual art. She is a member of RWA. She has lived in New York, Philadelphia, Santo Domingo, and now lives in Florida with her family.


The Mall Blog Tour Review

The Mall
by Megan McCafferty

Genre: YA contemporary
Release Date: July 28th, 2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books

The year is 1991.
Scrunchies, mixtapes and 90210 are, like, totally fresh.
Cassie Worthy is psyched to spend the summer after graduation working at the Parkway Center Mall. In six weeks, she and her boyfriend head off to college in NYC to fulfill The Plan: higher education and happily ever after.

But you know what they say about the best laid plans…

Set entirely in a classic “monument to consumerism,” Megan McCafferty takes readers on an epic trip back in time to The Mall.


Rating: ⭐⭐⭐.5

6 reasons to read this book
* coming-of age story set in the 90s mostly in a mall, mall culture! nostalgia everywhere! 90s music references! 90s clothes references! all the 90s pop culture references!
*MC is the type A bit of a nerd overachiever who finds her future plans slowly falling apart after her boyfriend cheats with her and she loses her job
*story involves a quest in the form of a treasure hunt and unexpected friendships and romance
* set in that post-school pre-university setting
* dislike to love type of romance, summer fling type of love story
*talks about assumptions, how looks can be deceiving and the importance of not judging a book by its cover, widening your circle, loyalty and honesty

The Mall tells the story of Cassandra (Cassie) Worthy who after recovering from being sick and confined to her house due to a severe case of mono, she’s ready to begin phase two of her plan with her boyfriend. They will spend the summer before college working together in The Mall. All that falls apart when she finds herself dumped by her boyfriend for another girl he met at prom, the same prom she convinced him to go to without her and have fun. But worse, now she’s all without a job.

Luckily, she finds a job at her fifth grade best-friend Drea’s mom’s, now there’s a treasure hunt to go through, new friendship, new love? Most importantly, Cassie will learn the importance of opening herself to changing her plans, her assumptions and judgements of people and how sometimes loyalty and honesty will come from the least expected places.

I think first of all, one thing to mention this book is all the nostalgia it’ll give you, if you grew up in the 90s, the book is full of references, pop culture, music and fashion references. I have to admit there’s many references I missed or passed by me but I liked the feeling it gave me, like watching Ferris Bueller or 90210 any of those teen 90s movies or shows. I might not relate to everything but I still find it enjoyable to read. I think also this is one of the reasons why it took me a while to get into the book.
I do have to say by the mid point of the book, it was real hard to put down.

Cassie is the perfect A-type, most likely to suceed type of character, and as the book progresses it’s nice to see her going from this very rigid character to slowly develop and grow as a character. Her friendship with Drea is one of the reasons she starts opening up more to first, an iffy treasure hunt, new experiences, and even the possibility of little summer fling.

Spoiler: (Font is in white)

kissing to come as you are is probably the best moment I’ve read

Now that I got that out of my head.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, it was a fun read with (no spoilers) a nice sweet ending that highlights how precious friendships are.

She’s with Me Book Tour Review

She’s with Me

by Ava Violet

Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: January 7th, 2020

When Amelia Collins moves to a new town to escape her dark past, she just wants to keep her head down and finish her senior year.
Her plans change drastically when she runs- literally- into the school’s hottest badass and number one person on the ‘don’t mess with’ list, Aiden Parker.

Amelia needs to find a way to survive senior year while she tries not to fall for the annoyingly handsome Aiden, or his mischievous, cocky player of a best friend, Mason.

With new friends, fun pranks, bitchy queen bees, old rivalries, and a haunting past, Amelia’s senior year is destined to be filled with some drama.


Click the image for more about the Tour

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

6 Reasons you should read this book
*contemporary YA
*highschool teen Romance
* revenge! pranks! rivalry! mystery? there’s something about that MC!
* MC is snarky, confident and assertive, will-not-take-anyone’s-BS type
*best friends-more-like-family, more-like-brothers, friends-as-support-group
*romance is slow-ish burn, broody love interest
*cw for alcohol, slut-shaming, death, bodily injuries

Not very spoiler-y

She’s with Me tells the story of Amelia Collins who has some sort of dark past we are not very sure of, but because of this she and her mom are forced to move to a new city and start her senior year in King City High School mid-semester. Amelia is hoping she will fly under the radar, lay low, graduate and hopefully move on with her life. That, of course, is spoilt in the first few minutes of her first day when she bumps into Aiden Parker and now she finds herself immersed in this new group of friends and rivalries and pranks. Laying low won’t be as easy now.

I have to say I read this book in one sitting down, while I feel like I didn’t particularly attach myself to any character, the plot was different and distinct enough that I couldn’t stop reading it. I needed to know what was going to happen with Amelia and what was her backstory. Especially because, did i mention there was so much drama and mystery in the book? So much, that I would not be satisfied without knowing the end.

While this book seemed it would be centred around romance, I was pleasantly surprised the romance ended up being more slow burn-ish. Most of the book focused around Amelia, her mysterious dark past and her new friends. This really supportive, always there for each other, more-like-family group. I especially love this trope! The romance and relationships between Amelia and Aiden also spent more time understanding each others problems, their personal problems and how these ultimately united them.

I do have to say my main issue with the book was the slut shaming, the name calling was not healthy and not something I would like to see in characters without not addressing or condemning it. Related to that, I didn’t much appreciate the characterisation of the Queen Bee, Kaitlyn, I think she would have been interesting to further flesh out her character as the “villain” or “mean one” but in the end I feel like most of the drama between her and Amelia could have been easily solved or ignored. Luckily, Amelia does that.

The book ends in a cliffhanger and while there are some things that kinda got resolved, there are also so many questions left hanging, what will happen to Amelia? what will happen to Aiden? What do you mean ***** is ****? (no spoilers!)

Overall, this was a quick contemporary read about teenagers in not the greatest of situations but somehow powering through and living each day at a time.

Thanks again to the Fantastic Flying Book Club Tour for giving me the opportunity to participate in this Tour. If you want to know more about them check them out. And thank you to the publishers!

See you next time!