Waiting on Wednesday: The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

waiting on wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that highlights pre-publication/upcoming releases that readers cannot wait to get their hands on. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.


Title: The Downstairs Girl
Author: Stacey Lee
Publication date: August 13, 2019
Publisher: Putnam
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Historical


By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, “Dear Miss Sweetie.” When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society’s ills, but she’s not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender. 

While her opponents clamor to uncover the secret identity of Miss Sweetie, a mysterious letter sets Jo off on a search for her own past and the parents who abandoned her as a baby. But when her efforts put her in the crosshairs of Atlanta’s most notorious criminal, Jo must decide whether she, a girl used to living in the shadows, is ready to step into the light.

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GIMME! I love Stacey Lee’s writing and storytelling. I cannot wait to read Jo’s story.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Top 5 Tuesday: Summertime Reads

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Bionic Book Worm

Today’s topic: Top 5 Summertime Reads

Click on my photographs to be linked to my review or the book’s Goodreads page.

What are some of your favorite summertime reads?

Top Ten Tuesday: Underrated/Hidden Gem Books I’ve Read In The Past Year Or So

HOSTED by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s topic is…

Top Ten Underrated/Hidden Gem Books I’ve Read In The Past Year Or So

(Click on the book cover to be linked to its Goodreads page or my review)











What are some underrated/hidden gem books you have read in the past year or so?

ARC Review: The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee


Title: The Secret of a Heart Note
Author: Stacey Lee
Publication date: December 27, 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy
Format: ARC
Source: Author

About the Book:

An evocative novel about a teen aroma expert who uses her extrasensitive sense of smell to mix perfumes that help others fall in love while protecting her own heart at all costs

Sometimes love is right under your nose. As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of weeding, mixing love elixirs, and matchmaking—all while remaining incurably alone. For Mim, the rules are clear: falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mimosa doesn’t want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school experience with friends, sports practices, debate club, and even a boyfriend. But when she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the lovesick woman’s son, the school soccer star, to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that falling in love isn’t always a choice you can make.

At once hopeful, funny, and romantic, Stacey Lee’s The Secret of a Heart Note is a richly evocative coming-of-age story that gives a fresh perspective on falling in love and finding one’s place in the world.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |  The Book Depository

My Rants and Raves of The Secret of a Heart Note

The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee is one of those books that you just want to hold against your chest and sigh after reading it. I loved how perfectly Lee grinds in elements of contemporary and romance with a dash of fantasy and magical realism. More importantly,  I enjoyed how Lee beautifully writes scenes filled with unforgettable aromas, heartfelt moments, and playful banter.

Formerly homesechooled, Mimosa (“Mim”), the main character, consumes this book with her daily routine of keeping up with her family job as an aromateur, a love witch creating matchmaking elixirs with her mom, while also balancing a “normal” high school life. Mim is a character that does not hide her concerns and worries from the reader; instead, she struggles with self-doubt, encounters self-discovery, and tries to minimize and control her attraction towards a classmate named Court. And I loved Court! Court forms a camaraderie with Mim based on their personal anxieties and broken promises that life throws at them. The pages containing the banter and conversations between Mim and Court are honest, humorous, swoony, and very heartfelt. If you love cute and very awkward flirtation, you will love these two characters.

Another component that I enjoyed in this book is the familial bonds rooted in the story. The mother-daughter relationship and the generational divide between Mim and her mom is so passionate but also strenuous. Mim’s mom places a lot of expectations, particularly ancestral expectations, on Mim’s shoulders throughout the novel. Mim carries on an important gift of matchmaking with her heightened sense of smell, which restricts her to enjoy very little pleasures in life. She is limited to tasteless foods and a strict declaration to avoid falling in love. The scenes that unfold between Mim and her mother adds a dash of excitation to the novel itself, and I love how their relationship unfolds in the end.

Stacey Lee’s writing captures more than a romance brewing between two teenagers in this book. She has created a novel that heightens our senses on all levels. The Secret of a Heart Note is a young adult story that will fiddle with your heart, while tickling fragrances under your nose. It is a story of diversity, generational gaps, strict parental expectations, adolescent anxieties, and the understanding that love comes in all forms. This novel is refreshing and sweet–it reads as the perfect blend of crisp air with the comforting undertones of butterscotch. 

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

NOTE: Thank you to Stacey Lee for providing me an advance reader’s copy. I was not provided any compensation for reading this book. I read this book at my own discretion. All statements and opinions are my own.