Posts By: Rashika

Friday, March 16, 2018

Cute but Needs Work: How the Cowboy Was Won by Lori Wilde

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Cute but Needs Work: How the Cowboy Was Won by Lori Wilde
How the Cowboy Was Won
Lori Wilde
Series: Cupid, Texas
Genre: Adult, Retellings, Romance
Publication date: March 27th, 2018
by Avon

Return to New York Times Bestselling Author Lori Wilde’s beloved town of Cupid, Texas, where wedding fever is in the air . . . and two best friends discover that sometimes the perfect match is standing right in front of you . . .

Ember Alzate is a fantastic matchmaker with one big problem: she can’t find the perfect mate for herself! Alzate family legend says that when she kisses “the One” she’ll hear a mysterious humming in her head. Well, Ember’s kissed a lot of guys and she’s never heard a thing. Now, instead of searching for herself, she vows to find her best friend, Ranger Lockhart, a bride. It’s clear this smart, sexy man just needs to meet the right gal.

Ranger’s returned home to Cupid with marriage on his mind, but he’s not interested in the parade of women Ember pushes under his nose. His thoughts keep returning to his best friend—with her combustible combination of curves and sass. No one compares to Ember, but what’s it going to take to convince her she’s the woman for him?
-A copy was provided by Avon for review-

When one of my mutuals pointed out How the Cowboy Was Won was an Emma retelling, I was all aboard. I adore Jane Austen novels and I especially adore retellings of them. I don’t think I’ve seen many literary Emma retellings so it’s amusing that this year, there are two on my TBR!

So. Anyway. I have a complicated relationship with this book. There are parts of it I really liked but there were a bunch of things that rubbed me the wrong way and I haven’t seen many reviews talking about some of the things that bothered me which makes me more inclined to be critical. I want issues to be talked about. SO. ANYWAY. I am going to start with the good stuff first and break this review down into pros and cons because I am a lister.


  • The romance has a slow buildup. Not necessarily because there aren’t sparks right off the bat, but because their feelings take sometime to build up and I LOVE IT. THE SLOW BURN IS REAL, PEOPLE.
  • Supportive couple. Ember and Ranger are ridiculously supportive of one another. As friends, as a couple. I love that even when there is jealousy, it is never ever ever about their successes and they are always there for one another. There is a lot of angst in this book but like regardless, Ember and Ranger are just REALLY GOOD FRIENDS and even better romantic partners.

In general, my positive experience reading this book was centered around how the romance was written. Lori Wilde did a really good job making me feel invested in the couple and their future. However, there were a bunch of cons that did impact my overall reading experience.


  • Our first intro to Ember centers how she felt ‘other’ growing up because she inherited her mother’s fair skin and red hair instead of her father’s Native American genes. I am sorry but what? I am pretty sure that in general, being white passing has benefitted her more often that not. Also in general, I feel like the author really portrays Ember’s Native American identity in a very stereotypical way and really only uses it in this exoticized, watered down way that just felt icky and disrespectful to me. There are more books in this series and maybe things are done differently in them but since this is the only book I’ve read in the series, it is the only one I can speak to.
  • There is ableist language in this book. Especially pertaining to Ranger’s various illnesses growing up. His younger self is referred to as an ‘invalid.’ Which is problematic on a number of levels. You can read more about why the word is hurtful here.
  • So the main plot of this book is that Ember is trying to find Ranger a wife with good social skills so he can get the job he wants and not have to move to New Zealand. In comes Dawn, his research partner and this is what Ember has to say about her. “Dawn knew his world. Had great social skills. She would be an asset to any man trying to climb the academic ladder.” (note that this quote was not taken from a final version of the book, only my review copy.) Excuse me????? Dawn does not exist to only be an asset to a man who wants to climb the academic ladder. She wants to climb the ladder too and as a woman in STEM, that ladder is gonna be much harder for her to climb than a man lacking in social skills. This really irked me because it just seemed to dismissive of women in STEM.

On a larger scale, some of my cons may seem minor but these things build up and I think they are worth addressing because they are indicative of larger problems. There is good to be had in this book and the romance will be sure to win over a number of readers, but I think these issues are important to keep in mind and I hope anyone who picks the book up will do just that.

2.5 Stars
2.5 Hot Espressos

The Book I Wish I Had When I Was in Middle School: Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

The Book I Wish I Had When I Was in Middle School: Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Posted by on 03/14/2018 • 5 Comments

I never read Rick Riordan’s books. The short story is that there was no real reason to why I didn’t pick the books up. The longer (and a little pointless) story is that when The Lightning Thief first came out, it had a completely different cover then what it has now. I was in the middle school and our librarian told us all about it. I grew older but it stayed in the corner of my mind, I was in eternal search of the book with the white cover and never realized until a year ago (seriously!!!) that that book was the same one written by Rick Riordan that was so beloved now. Anyway, long pointless story short, I am weird and specific about what I read.

So I missed Rick…

5 Bookshelves I’ve Been Eyeing

5 Bookshelves I’ve Been Eyeing

Posted by on 03/12/2018 • 8 Comments

When I am daydreaming, I like to get ahead of myself and imagine the kind of bookshelves I’d buy if I have money and didn’t just want to store my books but rather showcase them.

1. The Read Your Bookcase bookshelves

I’ve been eyeing these bookcases for a time now and I am not entirely sure whether or not I think they are aesthetically pleasing, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want it.

2. This bookcase that is shaped like a tree

I’m a minimalist kind of gal (even though I own like 400 fucking books) and this bookshelf just looks so relaxing and clean.

3. Honeycomb Shelves

THEY ARE SO ADORABLE AND SO //different.// I don’t know if they could fit all my books but that doesn’t even…

The Intersectional Feminist Anthology We Need: The Radical Element edited by Jessica Spotswood

The Intersectional Feminist Anthology We Need: The Radical Element edited by Jessica Spotswood

Posted by on 03/09/2018 • 0 Comments

There was once a time when while reviewing an anthology, I would review every single story within it. I don’t do that anymore because 1. I am lazy but 2. I don’t think anyone really wants to read a review of EVERY SINGLE short story in an anthology because thats a lot to read and most people will pick an anthology up even if it has a couple mediocre short stories. Also, like, I do want to say I am definitely appreciative of the people who do review every single story and you guys are great. ANYWAY. The Radical Element is chockfull of some of the best YA writers right now and it ups the ante from A Tyranny of Petticoats. Tyranny certainly won my heart in 2016 but we still needed a…

All Five Stars: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

All Five Stars: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Posted by on 03/08/2018 • 4 Comments

I am a finnick-y asshole when it comes to rating books 5 stars which isn’t necessarily because I don’t love books but I want to reserve that 5 stars for a book that is something that I am going to remember for a long time after I close the last page shut. The Poet X is just one of those books you are gonna come out of feeling something. I don’t share the same identities as the main character and yet the way Xiomara navigates her diaspora completely moved me. The way her story was told made me feel seen and validated.

The Poet X is told in verse and yet it tells an overarching story that I am not sure prose could have done justice to. Acevedo is a incredibly talented…

Can You Read Too Many Books?

Can You Read Too Many Books?

Posted by on 03/06/2018 • 8 Comments


I feel like the question that is the title of this post is super loaded but I don’t know how else to really get into a question that I’ve been contemplating for a while. Which all starts with this, GOODREADS CHALLENGES.

Some people love challenging themselves to read more every year and other people don’t want to set a number for how much they are gonna read, lest they ruin it. I am somewhere in the middle? I’ve taken to setting challenges as 1 book a year for the past two years but like, here is the thing. I can set it to 1 to make myself feel good but I’ll always have another ambitious goal where I wanna read like 5,000,000 books.

The most books I’ve ever read…

A Fierce Adventure: The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras

A Fierce Adventure: The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras

Posted by on 03/05/2018 • 0 Comments

I am garbage for a good middle grade adventure so when The Mad Wolf’s Daughter was pitched to me, I was on board and wanted to gobble this book up. Good thing it wasn’t disappointing, amirite?

Here is the thing, among the sea of commercial fiction that dominates Middle Grade books, The Mad Wolf’s Daughter doesn’t necessarily stand out but thats not really a good or bad thing? Familiar tropes and adventures are good things and just because The Mad Wolf’s Daughter isn’t necessarily //different// doesn’t mean that it is a bad book or a mediocre book?

The thing about tropes (at least in my opinion) is that it all comes down to how the author uses them to enhance their story. You’re never going to read a book that is free of tropes…

Diverse Books Out February 2018

Diverse Books Out February 2018

Posted by on 03/04/2018 • 4 Comments

Heyyy, I am still here doing these roundups. I mean, it is only February and I still have like 10 more months to give up but I haven’t yet! These roundups tend to focus on YA and MG books because those are easiest to keep track of but I do try to include romances because I also read those and I want to make the list as thorough as possible. If I miss a book, or include one that shouldn’t be on here, let me know!!!



***The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza has an instance where a character is deadnamed

Any of these on your TBR? What are you most looking forward to diving into??