BOOKS & HBO Max: February 2021 Wrap Up

February felt like the longest and shortest month ever – which I guess kind’ve makes sense since February is the shortest calendar month. This is was an intensely busy month for me grad school wise. Once I finish and submit a major assessment for my master’s in early March, grad life *should* get slightly more calm before I graduate in May. We also got a ton of snow where I live in the US – I actually don’t think location matters too much because everywhere in the US seems to have been slammed by snow over the past few weeks – which meant a few more remote work days and plenty of trips out to my car to clean off snow. 

I am super excited though that the weather seems to be warming up, and it’s staying light out for longer at night. Going for walks and runs after school and getting fresh air to such a big stress reliever for me, so I’m really looking forward to spring weather. As you can probably tell below, the biggest stress reliever for me in February was reading and watching TV & movies. I was definitely on more of a reading kick early on in the month, but I totally admit my HBO Max subscription got to me and I leaned into TV and movies way more than usual. 

I’ve so far read 8 books in February, which I’m pretty content with considering my school schedule and that I’m currently reading a certain 700+ page fantasy read. I have reviews coming or already published for all of the books below, so I’ll just be sharing my star ratings. 

Love in English by Maria E. Andreu (ARC) | 4/5 Stars

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes | 4.5/5 

Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure by Amy Kaufman | 4/5

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel (ARC) | 4/5 

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MINI LIFE UPDATES & ALL THE BOOKS: January 2021 Wrap Up

I can’t be the only one shocked that the first month of 2021 is almost over. My first few days of January started out fairly relaxing, having stayed home for New Years and reading a few books & watching tons of Kara & Nate before I jumped into my full time clinical internship for my master’s program. Aside from diving into full time work life this month, I also have a mini life update – I’m living at my grad school! Being on a college campus during a pandemic is a very different experience – picture masks everywhere a and really only going into the building you live in and the campus mailroom – but it feels surprisingly more normal than expected. 

Between being back at school – which means binge-watching all the shows & movies with my roommate- and having a full time academic schedule, I expected my reading life to suffer a tiny bit this month, but I still managed to read 9 books. I’m hoping to continue to carry on this reading energy throughout the rest of the semester. What’s slightly helping my reading is that since I’m on a laptop all day for my clinical and grad classes, I enjoy taking my eyes away from any screen at night and turning to a book.  

Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli (ARC) | 4/5 Stars

I decided to start off my New Year with one of my most anticipated releases that I was fortunate enough to read early for review (coming in April!), Becky Albertalli’s Kate in Waiting. I loved the emphasis on self-growth, friendship, relationships, growing up, & so much more. After enjoying it so much, I may make my reread book of February as Becky’s The Upside of Unrequited, aka my favorite book of her’s! 

We Came Here to Forget by Andrea Dunlop | 4.5/5 

Although I am content with the books I chose in January,  none of them screamed FAVORITE books of 2021 — but if I had to choose a favorite, it’d be Andrea Dunlop’s We Came Here to Forget. I loved the plot, following a former Olympic skier who relocates to Buenos Aires after a family tragedy.

Lucky Caller by Emma Mills | 4/5 

I was craving a YA contemporary and decided to finally pick up the only Emma Mills book I hadn’t yet read, Lucky Caller. I ended up enjoying it more than expected – the school radio premise was done well and like Emma Mills’ other books, I liked its quiet feel and emphasis on friendship. 

Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win by Jo Piazza | 4/5

Books about politics, let alone one about an election, might not be everyone’s cup of tea right now, but Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win was a really enjoyable read. I liked how much it explored what it’s like for a woman to run for government vs. a man. I’m still not sure how I feel abut the ending though. 

The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman | 4.5/5

If there’s one fluffy read I would recommend this month, it’s hand down The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany. I loved the plot, the setting in Italy, and the themes surrounding family and love. If you’re a fan of Chanel Cleeton’s Next Year in Havana and want something a little more lighter, I definitely recommend picking this one up. Read More »

What I Read & Watched This Weekend: January 2021 Edition 

Is it just me, or is anyone still feeling some of the 2020 burnout seeping into the first few weeks of the new year? I can’t get into too much detail, but I started the first full week of my clinical practicum for my master’s program this week. Although I had a nice week getting back into the swing of things, I was absolutely drained by Friday afternoon and probably didn’t get as much work as I would’ve liked to over the weekend. I think my goal for 2021, or at least this semester, is to not let work pile up on me on Sunday and instead try to divide some work over both days of the weekend. Anyway, what I really did enjoy over this weekend was getting to cozy up with a few reads and deep dive into some travel vlog watching. 

What I Read

I try to read at night as much as I feel during the week, but my mind tends to favor mindlessly watching TV over reading.

Halfway through this week, I found myself missing reading, so I think it was Thursday night that I began Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win by Jo Piazza. This might not be the most comforting read for some, given politics & division in the US – & yes like many, last Wednesday’s news coverage of the Capitol definitely kept me glued to the couch and away from reading – but I really enjoyed it. The book follows Silicon Valley COO Charlotte as she moves her life and her family back to her home state of Pennsylvania as she runs for Senate. This was a really smart but super readable & addicting read that delved into female representation in politics, as well as the family & relationships intricacies Charlotte must deal with as she runs for office. Read More »

What I’m Reading & Watching This Weekend

Like myself, I’m sure many of you have been super grateful to coffee and books for getting you through this week! I already feel like October has been the shortest & longest month ever – I can’t believe it’s already October 9th, but this month is so packed for me with school and work commitments. For today’s post, I thought it would be fun to fill you on what I’ve been reading in between work and school this week, while also sharing what books I hope to pick up and what TV shows I hope to sink into this weekend. Although I’ll be digging into school assignments and blogging this weekend, I’m hoping to read at least two of the books below this weekend.

What I Read & Watched This Week 

What I Read 

Those Who Prey by Jennifer Moffett (ARC)- I mentioned in my September Book Haul that the lovely team at Simon & Schuster sent me two YA thrillers, one of which being Those Who Prey, which comes out on November 10. I instantly wanted to pick it up for its college setting, as college freshman Emily is recruited into a religious student group and sent on a mission trip to Italy, where she begins to learn that the Kingdom is not what it seems. I’ve been able to read about fifty pages each night, and I’m hoping I’ll have it finished by tomorrow. 

What I Watched

Below Deck Mediterranean S5 E19 (Bravo) – I really don’t have a ton of time for TV during the week, but Below Deck Mediterranean has been the show this summer & fall I must watch at least 24 hours after it premieres. I know some people feel like this season has been a bit slow, but I’ve been enjoying it so much. The editors actually had to minimize one cast member’s role as much as possible because of their racist & sexist posts on Instagram and then had to focus on or amp up other storylines. I think since so many shows have been delayed from filming because of the pandemic, the editors created more episodes out of the footage – which goes to show how reality TV can manipulate storylines so much through editing, but here I am still watching! This season of Below Deck Mediterranean ends on October 19th, with the new season of Below Deck premiering on November 2. 

Emily in Paris (Netflix) – Like so many other viewers, I was pretty conflicted about how I felt about Emily in Paris. On the one hand, I blew through this ten episode season about a twenty-something who works for a marketing firm in Paris in three days. I loved the setting, Ashley Park’s character, Mindy, and Emily’s neighbor, Gabriel, because he was so, so dreamy. On the other hand… I can’t believe this show is being described as the millenial/Gen Z Sex & the City because it is not it. I know why it’s been described as so, since it was created by Sex & the City creator Darren Star, but Emily in Paris and Carrie Bradshaw can’t even compare. While yes, it was such a fun binge and escapist watch, I thought the storylines were wrapped up way too nicely each episode. I watched the final episode on Monday (hence why it’s in this post), and I didn’t think it was that big of a cliffhanger ending because it was super predictable.  As someone with marketing experience and you know, someone who uses social media, I did not understand Emily’s Instagram fame, and there’s no way she would be able to get away with half of what she did at her job. Also, I am for sure part of the crowd who doesn’t understand how this girl affords a new Chanel outfit or bag each episode…Read More »