Bite-Sized Reviews of Hello Sunshine, In 27 Days, Love and First Sight, and Oishinbo a la carte: Volume 1

August 22, 2017 Coyer, Reviews 8

I’ve got four bite-sized reviews today—for four great books! One of them (Love and First Sight) is a review written by my mom (Gay), and then I just added my two cents.  🙂  I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction!


Bite-Sized Reviews of Hello Sunshine, In 27 Days, Love and First Sight, and Oishinbo a la carte: Volume 1Hello, Sunshine by Leila Howland
Published by Disney-Hyperion on July 11th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 368
Source: The Publisher
My content rating: YA/NA (Characters have sex, Some adult situations)
My rating:
4 Stars

A Prep School Girl with a Hollywood Dream

Becca Harrington is a reject. After being rebuffed by every college on her list, she needs a fresh start, so she packs up everything and moves to LA, giving herself one year to land an acting gig or kill herself trying.

Unfortunately, not everything turns out as planned, and after a few grueling months, LA is looking like the worst idea ever. As hard as she tries, Becca can’t land an agent, she's running out of cash, and her mom is hounding her to apply to more schools. In an act of desperation, Becca and her friend Marisol start posting short videos online—with the help of their adorable filmmaker neighbor, Raj—and the videos catch the attention of a TV producer. Could this be it? Her big break? Or will she have to move back home with nothing but some bad head shots and a monstrous credit-card bill?

Becca may not get the Hollywood ending she was hoping for, but perhaps she’ll learn there’s more than one way to achieve her dream.
Readers will love every page of this funny, romantic, aspirational, and ultimately triumphant novel about a girl who just wants to make it on her own.

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I was a theatre major in college, so this book called to me. Reading the Leila Howland’s bio, you’ll find that she spent five years acting in New York, so she knows a thing or two about how tough it is to make it in the acting world, and it shows in the book. It takes a good mix of talent, luck, hard work, and knowing the right people to be successful. Howland gives us a realistic view of that—at first I was worried that everything was going to fall into place a little too easily for our MC, Becca, but that wasn’t the case. I thought that Howland did a great job of giving us a story that’s hopeful and positive but doesn’t tie everything up with a nice little bow and turn Becca into an instant superstar.

The relationships in this story are the stars. Becca befriends Marisol and Raj, who help her navigate her new world and challenge her to think about her life (and her past relationships) a little differently. I loved both of them! These friendships don’t run completely smoothly through the whole book, but Becca learns a little bit about herself and about love and loyalty in the process of figuring it all out. Becca’s relationship with her mom is also very sweet and realistically depicted (her mom sometimes wants to rescue her, but she’s willing to let her baby go when she needs to).

Sometimes Becca seemed a little naive, but her mistakes in learning about the acting business were part of the entertainment, and I thought that most of them were very realistic—you just never know how much you don’t know until you realize you don’t know it!

This book is a fun read that will inspire you to follow your dreams—wherever they might take you.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of Hello Sunshine, In 27 Days, Love and First Sight, and Oishinbo a la carte: Volume 1In 27 Days by Alison Gervais
Published by Blink on July 25th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 352
Source: The Publisher
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing, Themes of death and suicide)
My rating:
4 Stars

Hadley Jamison is shocked when she hears that her classmate, Archer Morales, has committed suicide. She didn't know the quiet, reserved guy very well, but that doesn't stop her from feeling there was something she could have done to help him.

Hoping to find some sense of closure, Hadley attends Archer's funeral. There, Hadley is approached by a man who calls himself Death and offers her a deal. If Hadley accepts, she will be sent back 27 days in time to prevent Archer from killing himself. But when Hadley agrees to Death's terms and goes back to right the past, she quickly learns her mission is harder than she ever could have known.

Hadley soon discovers Archer's reasons for being alone, and Archer realizes that having someone to confide in isn't as bad as he'd always thought. But when a series of dangerous accidents starts pushing them apart, Hadley must decide whether she is ready to risk everything - including her life - to keep Archer safe.

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The premise of this book was more than intriguing. What if an acquaintance committed suicide and you had the chance to go back and change things? What if you were told upfront that there would be complications, and you weren’t 100% sure what you were signing on for? Would you risk it for someone you didn’t really know well? Hadley does. She feels compelled to help him, even though she’s going in somewhat blind. She has twenty-seven days to convince him to change his mind, but she has to start from scratch and try and build a relationship with this guy who obviously isn’t interested in forging new friendships. As she gets to know him and learns about the tragic circumstances that have led him to his current state of mind, she is more and more convinced that she can’t possibly be enough to help him. Plus, she finds that her actions have consequences she could never have imagined.

I read this book in a single (albeit long) car ride, so I had the benefit of zipping right through it so that I could discover all its secrets. It’s easy to fall for Archer as his backstory unfolds and we learn why he would feel desperate enough to kill himself. And I absolutely loved seeing Hadley reap the unexpected benefits of connecting to Archer’s close-knit family.

This is a story of love and sacrifice and having the tenacity to attempt the impossible. It shows how much we can change the world by simply seeing the people around us.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of Hello Sunshine, In 27 Days, Love and First Sight, and Oishinbo a la carte: Volume 1Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on January 3rd 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 281
Length: 6 hrs. 25 min.
Source: BEA, Library
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing, Some bullying)
My rating:
3.5 Stars

Love is more than meets the eye.

On his first day at a new school, blind sixteen-year-old Will Porter accidentally groped a girl on the stairs, sat on another student in the cafeteria, and somehow drove a classmate to tears. High school can only go up from here, right?

As Will starts to find his footing, he develops a crush on a sweet but shy girl named Cecily. And despite his fear that having a girlfriend will make him inherently dependent on someone sighted, the two of them grow closer and closer. Then an unprecedented opportunity arises: an experimental surgery that could give Will eyesight for the first time in his life. But learning to see is more difficult than Will ever imagined, and he soon discovers that the sighted world has been keeping secrets. It turns out Cecily doesn’t meet traditional definitions of beauty—in fact, everything he’d heard about her appearance was a lie engineered by their so-called friends to get the two of them together. Does it matter what Cecily looks like? No, not really. But then why does Will feel so betrayed?

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I loved that this story was told from the perspective of Will, who has been blind since birth. His parents sent him away to a school for the blind when he started kindergarten because of an “incident” that caused his mother to decide to send him there. Will’s mother loves him very much and is very protective of him, to the point that Will thinks she still treats him like a toddler, which he resents. Will decides he wants be able to relate to people who aren’t blind and decides he wants to go to mainstream high school. That’s where the story begins.

Josh does a great job of telling this story from Will’s point of view. It was very enlightening to read about how a blind person perceives and feels about the world around him, even how the brain develops differently. At one point in the story Will has to decide if he wants to have an operation that could possibly give him sight. It’s a hard decision since there are also many things that can go wrong.

The story mainly revolves around Will, Cecily and three other teenagers who befriend Will when he starts at his new high school. Cecily has spent her life being made fun of and bullied, but she doesn’t tell Will about this or why. Cecily has a way of describing things to Will that no one else can. She is loving and kind and has a very hard life. You are rooting for her and Will to be together. They seem to be drawn to each other. Their relationship is sweet but also sometimes bumpy since they both have trust issues.

Will is kind, funny and a little sarcastic. He has accepted that he’s blind and doesn’t want pity from anyone.

This was a very easy book to read. I read it in one day. I would recommend that everyone read it!

There were a couple of little things I  didn’t love: I thought the mother’s reaction to the “incident” was a little harsh. Also, the 16-year-old teenagers go on a long road trip by themselves across the country, which I felt was unrealistic. I understand the reason for it in the story, but couldn’t see it being endorsed by parents in real life.

I agree with my mom about this one. Not sure what took me so long to read it (I actually ended up listening to the audiobook), but I enjoyed it overall. Hands-down, my favorite aspect of the book was hearing about Will “learning” to see after his operation. I found this utterly fascinating and it seemed like Sundquist really did his research on the subject. For me, the only drawbacks to the book were Will’s negativity toward his mom (I know she babied him a bit too much, but he sometimes seemed to want to take his independence to an extreme) and his reaction to finding out that Cecily and his friends had hid details about her appearance. Again, it just felt a bit too extreme for the situation, and I couldn’t relate to his response. I thought he was being a bit petty and sort of mean about the whole thing. But the good aspects of the book outweighed the bad for sure.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via BEA in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of Hello Sunshine, In 27 Days, Love and First Sight, and Oishinbo a la carte: Volume 1Oishinbo a la carte, Volume 1 - Japanese Cuisine by Tetsu Kariya, Akira Hanasaki
Series: Oishinbo #1
Published by VIZ Media on January 20th 2009
Genres: Manga
Pages: 272
Source: Library
My content rating: All ages
My rating:
4 Stars

Follow journalist Yamaoka Shiro on a rich culinary adventure as he hunts for the "ultimate menu". To commemorate its 100th anniversary the heads of newspaper Tozai Shimbun come up with a plan to publish the “Ultimate Menu”. The assignment is given to journalist Yamaoka Shiro, the protagonist of the series. With the help of a female coworker, Kurita Yuko, Yamaoka starts off on what can only be termed an epic saga to find the dishes hat will go into the “Ultimate Menu”. The subject of volume 1 is Nishon ryori, or Japanese cuisine, featuring stories on subjects like how to prepare a proper dashi (broth that is one of the building blocks of Japanese cooking), or matcha (the powdered green tea used in the tea ceremony), or red snapper sashimi. The subjects of the later volumes are: 2) sake, 3) fish, 4) vegetables, 5) rice dishes, 6) udon, and 7) izakaya or “pub” food.

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This is a really unique manga because it’s almost more instructional than it is entertainment. The book teaches all about Japanese cuisine and preparation methods, but it does it in a fun and interesting way. The story follows Yamaoka Shiro, who has been tasked with creating the “ultimate menu.” But he is thwarted at every turn by his cantankerous, impossible-to-please father, who insists Yamaoka knows nothing about proper cooking techniques. In many scenes in the book, Yamaoka has to prove his skills or his knowledge. The book teaches about many types of Japanese food preparation and also teaches about things like knife skills and etiquette. There is a huge emphasis on doing things in the traditional way with fresh, organic ingredients. I’m honestly not much of a foodie, but even I found the discussion of the Japanese foods and cooking methods to be incredibly interesting.

The only drawback to the manga is that this is sort of a “best of the best of,” so you don’t get the full story arc. The story skips around in time (you find out from notes that certain characters are married, etc). I missed learning the details of those stories, but I understand why it had to be done this way since the manga was HUGE in Japan (with over 100 volumes), and they couldn’t possibly have translated them all.


That’s it for now! Have you read any of these? What did you think?

8 Responses to “Bite-Sized Reviews of Hello Sunshine, In 27 Days, Love and First Sight, and Oishinbo a la carte: Volume 1”

  1. ShootingStarsMag

    Great reviews, from both of you! I’m glad these were mostly positive reads. Love and First Sight seems interesting – I’ve only read one book, that I can remember, that had a blind MC.

  2. Sam@WLABB

    I liked In 27 Days. I liked watching the friendship between Hadley and Archer grow, but I felt like there were some holes with respect to the paranormal aspects. There is a second book, so I am hoping I get some answers. I loved Love & First Sight. I loved Will and his friends and I smiled so much.

  3. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Some interesting reads on here. In 27 Days sounds like an interesting read. Stories about suicide are difficult to read but then one where it happens and an acquaintance can go back and attempt to prevent it from happening? That’s unique. It sounds interesting and the fact that the MC goes back despite not really knowing the other guy, that’s pretty damn cool.

    Love and First Sight sounds interesting as well, it may go a bit OTT with some things but it’s still an interesting concept. I’ll definitely read that if I come across it.

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