Review: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Ali Waxman

Genre: Chick Lit
Maturity Level: 4
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Rating:
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The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.

1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.


Nina was the most intensely relatable protagonist of all time. It was literally like reading a book about myself. The things she said, thought, and did were all so ME. I especially loved her snarky responses and conversation. Abbi Waxman just gets me, and I need to make friends with her NOW please. Although, thankfully, I don’t have anxiety as bad as Nina does.

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Review: Young Jane Young

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

Genres: Women’s Lit; Fiction
Maturity Level: 4
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

“Young Jane Young’s” heroine is Aviva Grossman, an ambitious congressional intern in Florida who makes the life-changing mistake of having an affair with her boss – who is beloved, admired, successful, and very married – and blogging about it. When the affair comes to light, the congressman doesn’t take the fall, but Aviva does, and her life is over before it hardly begins. She becomes a late-night talk show punchline; she is slut shamed and considered a blight on politics in general. How does one go on after this?

In Aviva’s case, she sees no way out but to change her name and move to a remote town in Maine. She tries to start over as a wedding planner, to be smarter about her life, and to raise her daughter to be strong and confident. But when, at the urging of others, she decides to run for public office herself, that long ago mistake trails her via the Internet like a scarlet A. For in our age, Google guarantees that the past is never, ever truly past, that everything you’ve done will live on for everyone to know about for all eternity. And it’s only a matter of time until Aviva’s daughter, Ruby, finds out who her mother was and is and must decide whether she can still respect her.


I expected to really like this book, but I was surprised by how much fun I had reading it! It’s a captivating story, well-written, a quick read, and a great reading experience.

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Review: When You Read This

When You Read This by Mary Adkins

Genres: Chick Lit, Fiction
Maturity Level: 5
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆


For four years, Iris Massey worked side by side with PR maven Smith Simonyi, helping clients perfect their brands. But Iris has died, taken by terminal illness at only thirty-three. Adrift without his friend and colleague, Smith is surprised to discover that in her last six months, Iris created a blog filled with sharp and often funny musings on the end of a life not quite fulfilled. She also made one final request: for Smith to get her posts published as a book. With the help of his charmingly eager, if overbearingly forthright, new intern Carl, Smith tackles the task of fulfilling Iris’s last wish.

Before he can do so, though, he must get the approval of Iris’ big sister Jade, an haute cuisine chef who’s been knocked sideways by her loss. Each carrying their own baggage, Smith and Jade end up on a collision course with their own unresolved pasts and with each other.

Told in a series of e-mails, blog posts, online therapy submissions, text messages, legal correspondence, home-rental bookings, and other snippets of our virtual lives, When You Read This is a deft, captivating romantic comedy—funny, tragic, surprising, and bittersweet—that candidly reveals how we find new beginnings after loss. 


What I loved about this book is that it is just regular people living regular lives. There’s no catch or hook or surprise murder mystery or magic to make this book more interesting. It is literally just people talking to each other. YES.

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Review: An American Marraige

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Genre: Fiction
Maturity Level: 5
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆


Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. In this deft exploration of love, loyalty, race, justice, and both Black masculinity and Black womanhood in 21st century America, Jones achieves that most-elusive of all literary goals: the Great American Novel. 


Wow. What a beautiful book. The writing was so lush, and lovely, and lyrical. I was expecting this to be a powerful book, but I was completely taken by surprise by how incredible the writing was.

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Review: Bel Canto

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

bel cantoGenre: Fiction
Maturity Level: 4
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆


In an unnamed South American country, a world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. Alas, in the opening sequence, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion through the air conditioning ducts. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home to watch a favorite soap opera. And thus, from the beginning, things go awry.

Among the hostages are Russian, Italian, and French diplomatic types. Swiss Red Cross negotiator Joachim Messner comes and goes, wrangling over terms and demands. Days stretch into weeks, the weeks into months. Joined by no common language except music, the 58 international hostages and their captors forge unexpected bonds. Time stands still, priorities rearrange themselves. Ultimately, of course, something has to give.


I don’t know how to adequately express how much I loved this book or why. It was so beautiful, and I connected with it so deeply. Continue reading “Review: Bel Canto”

Review: The Winter of the Witch

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

the winter of the witchSeries: The Winternight Trilogy
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Maturity Level: 4
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆


Now Moscow has been struck by disaster. Its people are searching for answers—and for someone to blame. Vasya finds herself alone, beset on all sides. The Grand Prince is in a rage, choosing allies that will lead him on a path to war and ruin. A wicked demon returns, stronger than ever and determined to spread chaos. Caught at the center of the conflict is Vasya, who finds the fate of two worlds resting on her shoulders. Her destiny uncertain, Vasya will uncover surprising truths about herself and her history as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all.


What a great end to this amazing series! The Winter of the Witch was everything I hoped it would be. It answered all my questions, gave my favorite characters good arcs and development, fleshed out the magic a bit more, and went in a completely different direction than I was expecting! Continue reading “Review: The Winter of the Witch”

Burnout Solution Check-In

So way back in June I wrote a post about how I was getting burnt out on YA, mostly because I was reading sooooooo much of it. I’ve always been a reader who prefers lots of variety, and tend to read any old thing that catches my interest. But since I started blogging I’ve been reading lots of YA books.

My solution that I devised for myself was that I separated my books into loose “genres”, and read one from each before I could do any repeats.

The good news: it’s going GREAT! I’ve read so many AMAZING books this year, and several of them are books I probably wouldn’t have ever picked up if I hadn’t started this process. In particular I’ve read three SciFi’s that I’ve loved, and a couple really good mysteries, which were genres I’d definitely been neglecting. I’ve been very happy with each and every book I’ve picked up in the last six months, and I’ve felt so refreshed. It’s nice knowing every single book is going to be a change of pace!

The things that need to be improved: since I was primarily focused on reading more genre fiction, everything else got sort of lumped together. Historical fiction, chick-lit/contemporary, literary fiction, they all got kind of thrown together. The result is that I’ve read exactly zero literary fiction since then. And while it’s not my favorite genre, there’s a couple of literary fiction novels that have been sitting on my tbr for years, and at this rate I’ll never get to them! I also haven’t read a lot of historical fiction, and that IS one of my favorite genres. Continue reading “Burnout Solution Check-In”