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Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour: Fiction Book Review

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Yerba Buena  by Nina LaCour Overview: Sara and Emilie both fought through tough childhoods on their journey to adulthood. Sara escaped her small town and its ghosts at 14, paying a high price to get to LA. Emilie was born in the city but struggled in her own way to find her place and her voice among a family that had to devote all of their time to her sister, Collette, and her drug addiction. Sara makes it out of the youth shelter to become a sought-after bartender/mixologist, creating menus for LA's hottest restaurants. Emilie drifts in the wind, taking 7 years to finish college, working in a flower shop, caring for her ailing grandma, and ultimately, flipping houses. Along the way, Sara and Emilie's paths intersect at various points when they need love, hope, and connection most. Overall: 4.5  Characters: The two central characters in the book are Emilie and Sara. We get the time to sink deeply into their worlds as individuals before we see them come together as a couple as t

And They Lived by Steven Salvatore: YA Book Review

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And They Lived  by Steven Salvatore Overview: Chase made it into his dream animation program and is ready to embrace his brand new life in upstate New York as a college student. Though he knows he'll miss his mom and sister, he's ready to strike out as his own person – and maybe find his own happily ever after like all the Disney movies he loves. While college involves facing his ex-best friend who's trying to steal his dream, learning to cope with new roommates, struggling with body image and gender questions, and falling in love with a guy who's just as lost as Chase, it's also a beautiful time to learning and growing with a new support system that understands his art. The stakes are high for Chase at CIA, but the reward will definitely be worth it. Overall: 4.5  Characters: Chase is a bundle of overthinking anxieties. He's still trying to unspool a lot about himself while forming his brand new life as a baby adult (or at least that's the label that feels

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