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Showing posts from 2022

My Biggest Book Haul in a While (My Trip to the Ripped Bodice: Romance and YA)

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I finally made it to a new LA bookstore, and it's the shop that's been at the top of my bookstore bucket list since I arrived. So far I've been to Skylight Books, the massive Barnes and Noble at the Grove, Stories, and now The Ripped Bodice . I was supposed to attend a book signing there last Monday, but I wasn't able to get over to the store in time, so they were nice enough to get my book signed for me and put it on hold til I was able to get to the store. The following Thursday, since my grandma had come to LA to see me, I took her to the store to claim my book, and she let me indulge my inner teen who loved nothing more than collecting piles and piles of books. I've been really good in the last few years about primarily utilizing the library and buying books less frequently (I just don't have the space anymore!), but when books are being offered as gifts, I'm never going to pass up that chance. Also, I love getting to support independent bookstores and a

The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

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The Roughest Draft  by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka  Overview: Katrina and Nathan met at a writing program in upstate New York as young adults. From the second Nathan heard Katrina read her first pages at the writing meet up, he knew he wanted to work with her. After one book that sold well enough and a blockbuster book that broke up their partnership, they haven't spoken in four years. Katrina got engaged to her literary agent and gave up writing and Nathan got divorced from his college sweetheart and wrote his first solo book. With his new book flopping without Katrina and Katrina's relationship on the rocks over her early retirement, the only thing left to do is for Katrina and Nathan to come together again in the same Florida house they wrote their bestseller in and write a new book while working out why everything went so wrong. Overall: 5 Characters:  I love Katrina and Nathan. Katrina is a little socially anxious and a bit withdrawn and weary of the world a

My First Ever YALLWEST

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You know those moments when you look back and you get to be like, "My younger self would be really excited for me right now"? I had one of those yesterday as I headed out to Santa Monica to go to YALLWEST for my first time and it's first in the pandemic world. I'd spent a week debating whether I wanted to go or not, but in the end, I decided I couldn't pass up the chance of going to a festival I'd only been able to dream of attending as a young teen when it was 30 minutes from my house. So off to the beach I went.  I'd seen on Insta stories that a friend of mine from school was also planning on attending, so we immediately found each other at the front concourse area. She was already in line for a signing wristband, and we caught up while we waited. I didn't have much of a plan going into the day since I'd only decided the night before that I was going to go. Since my friend had planned her day pretty meticulously, I decided to just follow her prog

Portrait of a Thief: College Fiction Book Review

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  Portrait of a Thief   by Grace D. Li Overview: Five Ivy League college students. Five priceless zodiac head sculptures to return to China. One massive heist plan. Those are the parameters of the book as these new adults hatch a feeble plan to return the stolen art to China from Western museums and claim their $10 million a piece prize. While they each have the smarts and skills to pull it off, none of them are trained thieves, and with a tight clock and the united police agencies of the world after them, there's much at stake for these five who could win or lose everything. Overall: 4 It makes my heart so happy to see college protagonists hitting the NYT Bestseller list. I hope that this can be yet another sign to publishers that Red, White, and Royal Blue  was not a fluke and that so many of us are craving college aged and early 20s main characters to relate to. This was the first book I've picked up in a long time that I was able to directly relate to. aThey were forced to

Here's What I've Been Reading In The Last Few Months: Nonfiction Book Ideas 2022

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I have been on a serious nonfiction reading kick lately. It's such a new genre to me that I've been slowly easing into since I started reading it while working at the bookstore that it still feels vastly endless in what there is to read. I'm going to get back to fiction and YA very soon (I recently bought a ticket to Casey McQuiston's book event in May that I'm so excited for), but since I've been so busy, I've been relying on audiobooks to get me through. There's only one more month of finals prep and school busyness, so I'm hoping I'll have more time soon to delve into some good fiction. But for now, here's what I've been reading since my last review.  Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close  by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman This audiobook was an easy pick because I'd listened to the Call You Girlfriend podcast for a while. With the podcast finally over, I decided to pick up the book to extend the world a little longer. I alway

An Honest 2022 Reading Update (and 5 Year Anniversary): Where I'm At Now with Reading, Writing, and Blogging

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We all know that I haven't blogged in a bit longer than I would've liked. And for the first time, I've been reading books without writing reviews for them. If you'd told 16 year old me that would happen, she would've stared at you in disbelief. I've been through bad reading slumps before and times when I questioned how much I still loved books, but every book I did finish turned into a review for the blog. And this winter, that stopped happening.  I wanted to write a little update for those of you who have followed Reading, Writing, and Me's journey since 2017 and share where I'm at in my reading and writing life as the moment as well as a mini life update. Even though this blog is a smaller part of my life than it once was, I still don't want to disengage from my love of writing, books, and this community. The updates are just a bit more infrequent now. In a way, it's nice to have this place return to what it once was for me—just a hobby. So l

Hunger by Roxane Gay: A Memoir Review

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Hunger  by Roxane Gay Overall: 4  TWs: discussion of eating disorders, sexual assault When I was looking through my TBR trying to figure out what to read next, I discovered that Hunger  was available on audiobook from my library and immediately dove in without reading any kind of summary. It was a book I needed to read for a project, and all I really knew was that this book had been a big deal when it had first come out. I was re-reminded of it as Roxane Gay announced she was pulling her podcast from Spotify as not to share airspace with Joe Rogan. Over the years, I've seen Tweets or heard random podcast episodes with Gay, so I was curious to finally read her writing.  This book is quite heavy and does not hold back when it comes to a multitude of potentially harmful or triggering topics, so proceed with caution. Still, that's the only approach that would allow any substance in a book like this. Hunger is comprised of a multitude of short essays that follow a narrative arc gen

Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon: Romance Review

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Weather Girl  by Rachel Lynn Solomon Overview: Ari has always dreamed of being a meteorologists on TV, just like the icon of her childhood, Torrance Hale. She's worked her way through different stations since college and landed a job working for Torrance and reporting on-air weather during the weekdays. Even the super early mornings can't bring down her sunny disposition. Off camera, though, the Hale's marriage is falling apart and bringing down the station, Ari's fiancĂ© just moved out, and she's struggling with her relationship with her mom. After a failed work Christmas party, though, Ari unites with her co-worker to Parent Trap their bosses, but maybe it's not just love between the Hales that's the only kind brewing. Overall: 4  Characters: 4 Ari is a great main character. She's in her late 20s and figuring out how she wants her life to look now that she has more stability in her job and where she's living. She has a close relationship with her br

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