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LA Weather by Maria Amparo Escando: Book Review

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LA Weather  by Maria Amparo Overview: Oscar is obsessed with the weather. It rules his mood and all his days, and his family doesn't understand why. They don't know about the secret crop that is dying in the sun miles away. Keila is a successful sculpture, but her dissatisfaction with Oscar and her marriage is leaving her with little inspiration. Their three daughters are all plagued by individual issues and secretly crumbling marriages as well. Over the course of 2016, the family navigates soap opera level disaster after disaster. Overall: 3 Characters: 3 I really struggled with these characters. I just had a hard time finding much attachment to any of them. Every twist and turn felt completely out of the realm of the story and it bounced between calamities without making room to get to know any of the characters. They came off flat and one dimensional with a handful of personality traits glued on the front of each. I found myself craving the chance to get to know any of them

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid: Book Review

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Malibu Rising  by Taylor Jenkins Reid Overview: It's assumed that children of rockstars have their lives made. But that wasn't true for the Riva siblings. Their dad bounced in and out of the picture throughout their entire childhood, leaving their mom alone to care for four children on her single income from working at the family restaurant. The Riva kids grew up with plenty of love from their mother but a complete lack of a father and a shortage of money. Now adults, the Riva kids have leveraged the small bit of notoriety their last name gives them into careers modeling, surfing, and keeping the family restaurant on the Malibu coast afloat. To celebrate how far they've come, they throw an epic summer party every year, and this one is looking to be the biggest yet. Told in alternating timelines between flashbacks to their childhood and the hours before and during the party, the book ends with the stately home on the cliff going up in flames. Overall: 5  Characters: 5 As alw

Setting Reading Goals for 2022 and Accepting That Reading Habits Change

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I'm seriously debating not having a reading goal for the first time since I was 13. Seeing how every year I read fewer and fewer books, it almost feels like a more depressing exercise than just accepting however many books I read on my own. My goal used to be 100 books a year, which I often beat by a solid margin, and I've spent the last few years wondering what was wrong with me because I never come anywhere close anymore. After I missed my goal of 100 books for the first time in my first year of college, I lowered it to 50 books for this year. I still didn't manage to meet that, and I finished 40 books. 2021 was my biggest failure with reading ever, and while I don't feel great about it, I understand why it happened this way. For starters, 2021 was my first year back in in-person school since halfway through ninth grade, which makes a major impact. I had less time to slip in 15-30 minute reading breaks throughout the day with a longer walking commute and not always be

21 (Almost) Best Books of 2021

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Hello, everybody! It's been a while since I've checked in with all of you. I might write a longer chatty post for New Year's Day, but I wanted to finish everything 2021 related before stepping into the new year, so I had to throw together my favorite books of 2021 rather fast.  2021 had the most changes for my reading life since I was 13 as I started exploring a new age category of books while also coming back to my YA roots. As with every year I get older, I also read less, which is discouraging. I barely read at all during my first LA semester, so I only managed to read 40 books this year (when I was aiming for 50). I started to wonder if I even liked reading anymore, but since I've been home, I've been reading a ton, so I've proven to myself it's really a time issue more than anything.  I started bullet journaling in 2021, and this book comes from one of those spreads. I aimed to write down 21 favorite books of 2021, and I didn't quite make it. Having

Margot Mertz Takes It Down by Carrie McCrossen & Ian McWethy: YA Book Review

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Margot Mertz Takes It Down  by Carrie McCrossen & Ian McWethy Overview: Margot likes to make money on the side by putting her hacking skills (both through her computer and her social charm) to the test to clean up internet errors for her classmates (and sometimes teachers and other adults). She finds it interesting, and it's quickly filling back up her college fund her uncle squandered away. This time, though, Margot may have bitten off more than she can chew. Overall: 5 Characters: 5  Margot is great. She has a witty, dry sense of humor and is super intelligent. She's my favorite kind of lead character that doesn't take life too seriously while simultaneously taking life way too seriously. She's a bit of a loner, standoffish, and completely capable on her own - even though that's probably not best for her. Once she's zoned in on a goal, she'll go to any lengths to achieve it, which predictably leads her astray. She does have super supportive, chill pare

Fiction Book Review: Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Daisy Jones & the Six  by Taylor Jenkins Reid  Overview: The Six was a band started by two brothers that eventually grew to include another pair of brothers, a drummer, and a keyboardist. And together, led by Billy Dunne, they were good. Good enough to get enough attention to be flown out to LA to sign to a record label.  Daisy Jones was born into the glamorous Hollywood life but to distant, self absorbed parents. She soaked up the world of the Sunset Strip, though, and all the drugs and rock 'n roll that came with it. Both effortlessly beautiful and vocally talented, she easily scored a recording contract, but she only really wanted the one thing that didn't come perfectly naturally - to be a revered songwriter. Still, Daisy Jones was good too.  But then Runner Records, who had signed both the Six and Daisy Jones, made them great when they threw both acts on a billing together. And Daisy Jones & the Six was born, ready to, as most icons do, rise fast and flame out earl

Book Review: My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

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My Year of Rest and Relaxation  by Ottessa Moshfegh TW: drug use, mentions of suicide/self harm, bulimia Overview: While we don't know the protagonist's name, nothing in her inner world is off limits as Moshfegh probes through the life of a grief stricken, isolated young woman in New York City at the end of the year 2000. After graduating from Columbia, the protagonist wanders through life halfheartedly working in an art gallery, seeing a man who is generally disinterested in her, and only offered companionship by a best friend she hardly likes. As her life slowly spirals downwards, she starts coasting on her inheritance from her parents' estate and decides to employ a psychiatrist with shaky morals to give her enough drugs to sleep through the next year of her life. Maybe if she can finally, truly rest, she'll be able to recalibrate her life on the other side into something far better than the current drudgery. Overall: 3.5 Characters: 4 The main character is classical