My Life In Books Tag

Coming back at you with another tag! I found this tag on Book Loving Nut’s blog and I figured it would be a great way for my readers to get a little glimpse of who I am. Because I primarily e-read, my physical bookshelves are not exactly ready for a bookshelf tag quite yet!

Pick a book for each of your initials

EEverything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

I just finished this book and I loved it so much. Celeste Ng’s writing is absolutely beautiful. Keep an eye out for my April Wrap Up for my full thoughts.

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

F – The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

This is a sweet romance with the tried-and-true bed sharing romance trope. I had a good time reading this but it’s definitely not my favorite romance.

Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…

Count your age along your bookshelf, what is it?

The Day Boy and the Night Girl by George MacDonald

I was getting nervous when I was counting because my books were slowly starting to mix with my boyfriend’s. But this one was a great middle ground! He recommended this to me a few months ago. This short novella was perfect for getting me out of a slump while also reading an author that my partner really enjoyed. I did originally listen to the audio book but I loved it so much that I wanted a physical copy! 26 turned out ok.

Pick a book set in your city/country.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Having been a 14 year old girl during the height of Twilight mania, of course I loved reading that Bella grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. Everytime I read this book, I look forward to the scene where Bella uses the bathroom at Phoenix Sky Habor International Airport to give a vampire the slip. When I travel, I always think of Bella when I use the restroom in the airport. She was right though, they do have two exits. Perfect for tricking vampires.

Pick a book that represents a place you’d like to travel to.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

I would love to travel to Ireland. While the main characters, Marianne and Connell, don’t necessarily hit all of the tourist spots, they do attend univeristy in Dublin. It will probably be a while before I get to Ireland (just pandemic things), but I have heard nothing but great things from my friends who have been there.

Pick a book that’s your favorite color.

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

When I was growing up, I never really had a favorite color because all colors seemed to have the same impact on me. I decided when I was 10 years old that purple was my favorite color because I heard that it was the color of royalty. Is purple actually my favorite color? I don’t know, I just always say it is so I picked the Lost Apothecary. I love the dark purple on this cover. The gold foil in contrast with the deep purple make this cover one of my favorites that I have on my physical shelf.

Which book do you have fondest memories of?

Forever by Judy Blume

I read this book when I was about 15. This story introduced me to the romance genre while also being pretty realistic about teenage relationships. Whenever I think about this book, I am transported to the summer after my sophomore year of high school, reading this book in my parents’ backyard with my family dog swimming laps in the pool. I haven’t read it since then and I’m a little scared to revisit because I don’t know how well it has aged.

Which book did you have the most difficulty reading?

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

The writing style mixed with the subject matter made this book such a slog. I couldn’t get into it. As someone who has listened to an extensive amount of true crime podcasts, this seemed like it would be right up my alley. The difference was 100% in the delivery. Truman Capote is very verbose and descriptive which didn’t include many natural breaks. I am glad that I finished it but if it hadn’t been for my book club, I would have DNFd.

Which book in your TBR pile will give you the biggest accomplishment when you finish it?

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

I have heard nothing but incredible things about this book. All this hype has made me nervous to start it. What if I hate it? I don’t want to break some hearts with a negative review so I have just let it sit on my shelf. I did get a physical copy of this book which is also contibuting to my hesitation. It’s so big! I’m currently waiting on the audio book from my library so I’m hoping that will help me tackle it.

Thanks for taking a read! Some of these books really brought me back. I won’t be doing a reread of Twilight again this year, but maybe I’ll revisit Judy Blume for a summer read! Did any of these answers surpise you? Let me know in the comments below.

Ben Thats Me Sticker

March Wrap Up

March was a pretty good reading month for me. I had a lot of 4 star reads and my first 5 star read of 2021! There were a few books this month that really took me a lot longer to read than normal. I also had a couple that I tore through in one sitting. I mostly kept within my comfort zone this month when it comes to genres and that may have lead me into the slump that I’ve been dealing with at the beginning of April. Let me know if any of these books are your favorites!

Shipped by Angie Hockman

This book is pitched as The Unhoneymooners meets The Hating Game which is what initially drew me to it. Unfortunately this book didn’t do either the beach getaway/forced proximity of The Unhoneymooners or the coworkers hate-to-love tropes of The Hating Game nearly as well. While I did find this book to be sweet and fun, I read this book at the beginning of March and I can’t remember anything about it other than the fact that the main characters go on a cruise. I initially gave this book 4 stars, but I think now that I have sat with it, it’s more of a 3 star.

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson

My Goodreads review for this book is just “oof, but in a good way” and that still sums up my feelings about this book. This was one of the stories that I tore through extremely quickly. This book speaks candidly about grooming and abuse within the entertainment industry. This is super important to shed light on, especially within the YA format. In this story, the main character, Enchanted, gets swept up into the entertainment industry by a powerful R&B star. With the promise of her own recording career being dangled over her head, she is easily taken in by this man. While I do think that the pacing of this book was a bit strange, overall the message is super important for teens to read.

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟½

Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

I have a more in-depth review about my feelings here. But this was my first 5-star read of 2021. πŸ‘€

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

This was the March pick for my book club and although it was pretty universally liked, we also didn’t have much to say about it. I thought that the concept was a fresh take on the idea of purgatory. It was an easy and enjoyable read and supplied some valuable commentary about living with regrets. While it did deal with some death and mental health issues, it did so tastefully. The ending wrapped itself up in a nice bow and overall this book did what it set out to do.

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

I really wanted to love this one. The concept was so intriguing. It’s pitched as “Rear Window meets Get Out” and while this story had elements from both films, it failed to execute them in a successful way. The pacing of this book was very strange. The first 2/3 was extremely slow with a romance that was shoehorned in. The male lead made my skin crawl. I felt as though he was fetishizing Sydney and using performative allyship to try to earn her trust. I do think that Sydney’s comments about his eagerness to be seen as trustworthy is a stirring commentary about performative activism. While I really liked this concept, the story suffered because of the strange pacing. The ending happened all at once and I found myself wanting more from it. There was a lot of set up that felt unneccessary but at the same time there were lot of plot holes that needed more explanation.

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

I chose to read this book mainly because the cover was beautiful. I know, I know, don’t judge a book by its cover. But it’s so pretty! I did put myself into a reading slump after this one though. I loved the world building and the descriptions of the setting. I thought that 1920s Shanghai really came to life. If this were adapted into a Netflix series, I would be the first one to watch it because I think the visuals are stunning. I just didn’t care about either of the main characters. I understand that the “Romeo and Juliet” aspect of it all hinges on miscommunication but oh my gosh? Just talk to each other? Fantasy continues to not be my thing and I keep trying YA fantasy hoping that it’ll be a little easier for me to digest. I have concluded that I can digest it fine, I just don’t like it. And the ending? If you know, you know, but wow I was pissed. I don’t see myself reading the sequel but I do want to know how it ends. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taylor Jenkins Reid has done it again. One of my favorite books that I read in 2020 was The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and it has become clear to me that I live for celebrity drama. While I do think that Evelyn Hugo does it a bit better, I tore through this book in one sitting. The coming-of-age story mixed with the drama of 1960s Hollywood was the perfect storm for me. I wanted to give this story 5 stars up until the very end. The ending was soooo rushed. There was so much time spent with these characters while they were in the band that the ending felt like an afterthought. It felt like a promo for “Where Are They Now?” but we never got the full episode . We only get one paragraph about Daisy and all of her successes after the band and I felt like she deserved a bit more than that.

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

“A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them.” A hell of a tag line. I will admit that the idea of this apothecary was too fun to pass up. While I enjoyed the story set in 1791, I was a bit bored with the story that takes place during present day. I was expecting more from the actual apothecary story and less time spent dealing with Caroline’s super shitty husband. The parallels were definitely there with the two stories, but there was some clunkiness that could have been ironed out.

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

What a month. And what a slump I’ve been in since! Please send me some recommendations because my reading in April is so so dry. Did you love any of these books? Did you hate any of these books? Let me know! And thanks for reading. πŸ“š

Popular Books I’ve DNF’d

DNF. Did Not Finish. I love DNFing books. I have been able to read sooo many more books since I embraced the art of DNFing. I DNF books for a variety of reasons. Sometimes I just am not in the right mood to read a specific title and I will eventually return to it. Other times, I can tell within a few chapters that the story just isn’t for me. Whatever the reason, I have stopped feeling guilty for dropping books that I’m not interested in. That being said, I do get sucked in to bookstagram and booktube hype and I find myself picking up recommendations that I see online with sometimes little to no context. I couldn’t escape the following titles. I saw them all over the place and I was compelled to try them out. Some of them I may revisit, and others annoyed me so much that I will never pick up again.

DISCLAIMER: If one of these titles is your absolute fav, please don’t come for me! I know it’s hard to see negative reviews about your favorite title but these books just didn’t work for me, if they worked for you, that’s great!

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

This story is Lolita in the Me Too era and it does not hold back. I had to DNF within the first few chapters because the descriptions of abuse were so graphic and difficult to read that I couldn’t stomach reading the whole thing. While I think that this book has a valuable message about trauma and abuse, I personally was not in the right mindset to consume such a dark story.

Will I revisit?
I’m honestly not sure, the writing itself was really well done (from what I read) but the subject matter was very upsetting. If in the future I feel compelled to read Lolita, I think I will pick this one up instead.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Everywhere I see this book, it is rated 5 stars. It feels sacrilegious in the book community to not love this book, but I just couldn’t connect with the characters at all. The writing felt inaccessible and exposition heavy. I also felt like Achilles and Patroclus had an instant-love connection and any character development flew out the window the moment they got together. I got about 30% of the way through and felt as though I got the gist of the story. Having read the Iliad and seen the movie Troy, I know this story and didn’t like Achilles in any of them!

Will I revisit?
Probably not, I really didn’t connect with the characters or the writing and this is a story I already know so I wouldn’t be getting anything new from this book.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

This is the book I probably got the furthest into before DNFing. I got just over 50% through this story and I had to dump it. The romance in this story was an enemies-to-fake-friendship-to-lovers and I felt like it was so rushed. I really enjoyed the first bit of the story and the build up to their relationship, however once they were together, I didn’t care about the side plot or any of the factors keeping them apart. I think I just had too many issues with the pacing that I needed to let it go. They got together so quickly and then the side plot and external factors moved sooo slowly. There are so many other romances with similar tropes that don’t take forever to get to the conflict.

Will I revisit?
Probably not. There are so many other romances out there without a side plot that I didn’t care about. I just don’t have the energy to pay attention to fake politics when actual politics in the US require so much mental space.

The Deep by Rivers Solomon

I absolutely love the concept of this story. I really enjoyed the part that I did read, but I had to drop it. I only had the audiobook for this story and I felt like I wasn’t able to commit my full attention to the story in that format. I think that there are so many new words and concepts that I would have liked it a lot better if I had a physical copy. I have a hard time concentrating on audiobooks when they are doing world building in a fantasy setting.

Will I revisit?
Absolutely. I would love to read this story in the physical format. I think once I know the story and understand the lore, I would enjoy the audiobook a lot more than I initially did.

One by One by Ruth Ware

This was another one that I really liked the concept but I had to say goodbye. I had to dump the book because I didn’t want anything bad to happen to the characters πŸ™ƒ. I know that is a goofy reason to DNF a thriller but I just wasn’t in a thriller mood at the time. I think that Ruth Ware did a great job at establishing the plot and the setting. She opens the story by telling the reader that there are multiple deaths that occur during this book, and I wasn’t ready. I had just finished a thriller before picking this up and I think I was fatigued.

Will I revisit?
I will definitely take another crack at this one because I really enjoyed the set up and I also loved the dual perspectives.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

This is another one where I feel like I chose the wrong format to consume this story. I read this one on my e-reader and I DNF’d at about 20%. I think that I would really enjoy this story through audio instead. I really enjoy Caitlin Doughty’s Youtube videos and the way that she tells stories about her crematory and about the death industry. I think that listening to her tell this story would captivate me a lot more than the written version did.

Would I revisit?
100% I would love to try the audiobook for this memoir!

Call Me by Your Name by AndrΓ© Aciman

(I was unable to link to the Goodreads page as it was down, here is the Wikipedia page).

I absolutely hated almost everything about this book. I got to about 45% of the way through on my e-reader and I just couldn’t stomach it. The writing style didn’t connect with me at all. It was a little bit all over the place and in a stream of consciousness style that I found confusing. I also think that the glorification of a sexual relationship between a 17 year old boy and a grown man is something that I just can’t overlook. Especially when the author has been quoted saying that he “see[s] 12-year-old girls and [he] already find[s] them attractive.” (source). This attitude coupled with the Armie Hammer scandals really put a bad taste in my mouth over this story.

Will I revisit?

DNFing has changed my reading for the better. No more am I plagued by book guilt and books that I don’t connect with. Are any of these your favorite books? Let me know!

February Wrap Up

February was a weird reading month for me. I started out with the idea to read my boyfriend’s books. Instead of reading just romance books all through February for Valentine’s Day, I wanted to read books that my boyfriend liked or that he chose. While I think that it was a fun way to connect, he definitely has different taste than me. It was just reading slump after reading slump. I eventually dropped the theme of reading only his books in order to get back into the reading vibe. I think that after such a strong January, I just got a bit bogged down in all the numbers. I also think that all of the books I read during February were just ok. I didn’t really have any 4 or 5 stars which was discouraging. But! I will say that March is already off to a better start. Here are the books that I read in February and my thoughts.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

This book is one of those books that always gets referenced. I decided to read it just because it was on my shelf and I was mildly curious about it. It was one of those things where I wasn’t particularly excited about my next read (especially after reading The Vanishing Half) so I just grabbed a book that was there. This is one of my boyfriend’s books and so the best part of reading this was that I could talk to him about it. I will say that Oscar Wilde’s writing is beautiful but definitely wordy. I found that the audiobook really saved me with the reading experience and was the main reason I was able to get through it.

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

The Day Boy and the Night Girl by George MacDonald

This is another one of my boyfriend’s favorites and I really enjoyed reading this. This is a short and sweet fairy tale about an evil witch that raises two children separately. She raises the boy to only wake during the day and to fear the night, while she raises the girl to only wake during the night and to fear the day. This story follows the children as they meet each other and learn not to fear the unknown. I think that this was a nice pick me up after the Picture of Dorian Gray.

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Outlawed by Anna North

As someone who never reads westerns, this was surprisingly palatable. While I felt that this story was fun and definitely outside my comfort zone, I found the ending extremely dissatisfying and rushed. I really enjoyed how the author addressed nonbinary characters and bisexual characters. The way that she mentioned that the Kid is nonbinary and then just treated them like the rest of the cast without harping on their identity was a really fresh take for me. I felt the same way about how she addressed Lark’s bisexuality. A queer feminist western was something that I didn’t know I needed but that I really enjoyed.

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

Pet Sematary by Stephen King

For a full review, check out my blog post about this boy!
This was the last book that I buddy read with my boyfriend this month and while I think that Stephen King is definitely a good writer, I don’t know if his content is for me.

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

So I definitely read this to get me out of the reading slump that Pet Sematary put me in. I was hoping to love this and I just didn’t. I thought it was fine but kind of forgettable. The only thing I remember about this plot 2 weeks after reading, was that the main character has an abusive ex. I do think that the depictions of manipulation and emotional abuse were handled really well, however the relationship between our two romantic leads was lackluster for me.

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

This was the February pick for my book club and let me tell you! This was divisive. The main character of this book is a sexist sadboy loser who can’t figure out why everyone in his life doesn’t live up to the ideal versions of them that he created in his head. While I think that Nick Hornby’s writing was really well done, the main character was soooo insufferable. If I didn’t have to speak about this in book club, I would have DNF’d it. I do think that after a bit of time, the story grew on me but the main character Rob just deserves every bad thing that happens to him. At one point it turned into me hate-reading this in order to see all the bad decisions that Rob would make.

My Rating: 🌟🌟

A Pho Love Story by Loan Le

This was my biggest disappointment of the month. This story had all the potential to be very sweet but the writing itself fell flat for me. The two main characters are a boy and a girl who each work at their families’ competing restaurants. This book was told through dual narratives in first person, but because our main characters were so similar, the first person narratives would blend together and I would forget which narrator was speaking. I also think that this book read very young. I know that this is a YA romance, but these characters seemed to read more closely to 14 or 15 as opposed to 18. The story was sweet but the narration and the writing lost me. Typically I can read a YA romance in one or two sittings, but this one took me nearly a week just because I wasn’t excited to pick it up.

My Rating: 🌟🌟½ (just because I couldn’t put this in the same category as High Fidelity)

February was such a weird reading month. I am hopeful that I will actually like what I read in March. I do have a couple that I am very excited about like Act Your Age, Eve Brown and The Midnight Library. I also already have a 4 star read for March so things are looking up!