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 »

MORE FAVORITE BOOKS & SHOWS: December 2020 Wrap Up

And just like that, it’s the end of 2020. I’ve had a quiet December, since I had three weeks off from grad school and have been really back to being home the majority of time with the pandemic, aside from running some errands and going on long walks. I didn’t necessarily mind being home because I deep dived into reading and TV. I’m hoping to squeeze in at least one more book before the New Year. I am super bummed that I won’t be getting together with friends this NYE, but I might spend my NYE reading until midnight.

I felt like I read a lot of this month, but I didn’t realize I read a total of 15 books (so far)! I haven’t been able to read this much since the summer, given my full grad course schedule, clinical practice, and work. Obviously being off from school and spending time at home helped my reading life, but I read at least 3 of the following books during the last two weeks of the semester and definitely procrastinated on some final work, oops. I do have mini reviews for the majority of the books below coming in January, so I decided to change up my wrap up style (I either give some brief thoughts about each book or say nothing at all) with some highlights. 

Ties That Tether by Jane Igharo | 4/5 Stars

The Cousins by Karen McManus | 4/5 

The Roommate by Rosie Danan | 4/5 Read More »

READING, STRESS, & TV WATCHING: November 2020 Wrap Up

How are you? I think the word ‘draining’ could be used to summarize 2020 overall, but November was a particularly tiring month for me. You likely know that COVID cases have risen once again in the US, including the state where I live & go to school. November was also a super stressful time grad school wise, with a ton of final projects and deadlines coming up within the next two weeks. It’s absolutely crazy to think that in less than two weeks, the fall semester will be over and I only have one semester left until I finish my degree. And once again, despite all the hectic-ness & school work, I’m actually so surprised that I still managed to read 9 books this month! These were all super solid reads for me, and I either have reviews published or reviews coming soon for all the books below. 

I read some of my most anticipated books of 2020 in November, and I’m happy to report to report that they did not disappoint. While I loved some more than others, this was a great reading month overall. 

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab | 5/5 Stars

Snapped (Snapped #4) by Alexa Martin | 4/5

Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club #3) by Lyssa Kay Adams | 4/5

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd | 4/5 (reviewed in my What I Read & Watched This Weekend post)

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren | 5/5

Simmer Down by Sarah Smith | 4/5

Nobody Will Tell You This But Me by Bess Kalb | 5/5

Love & Olives (Love & Gelato #3) by Jenna Evans Welch | 4/5 

The Wedding Party (The Wedding Date #3) by Jasmine Guillory | 4/5 

I’m also currently reading Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory, the fourth book in The Wedding Date series, and I’m absolutely loving it! I hoping to have it finished midweek!

I talked about watching Dash & Lily (Netflix) and Clouds (Disney+) in my What I Read & Watched This Weekend post. I still found myself re-watching Gilmore Girls, but so many good shows (helloooo Virgin River S2) came out on Netflix during the week of Thanksgiving. I now feel like I’m behind on shows, even though I felt just last week I had nothing new to watch. I don’t want to complain too much though because I’m so looking forward to some serious Netflix binge-watching over winter break.

The Mandalorian S2 (Disney+) – The second season of The Mandalorian came out at the end of October. I was disappointed that Disney only puts out one episode a week… but then life happened and I’m now three episodes behind, oops. This is definitely another show I’ll be catching up on either this weekend or during winter break because I can’t be without Baby Yoda for too long. 

Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions (Disney+) – I thought I’d actually do school work after school on Wednesday afternoon, but Disney+ decided to drop Taylor Swift’s recording sessions for Folklore and I immediately needed to watch. I loved hearing the stories behind the songs, especially when it came to the Betty/James/August dynamic. ‘august’ and ‘illicit affairs’ were my favorite songs to listen to. 

The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix) – The Queen’s Gambit hype finally got to me, and I’m really enjoying it so far! There’s definitely a lot of chess talk, but you don’t need to know much at all to be enticed by the show. I’m 4 episodes into it so far. 

Sugar Rush Christmas S2 (Netflix) – I originally thought I would save Sugar Rush Christmas for December, but my sister and I found ourselves binge-watching the first 5 episodes of season 2 on Saturday. Sugar Rush is seriously my favorite baking competition show. It’s definitely the only American baking show where the judges are actually nice and not too critical, and I always love the holiday twist. It was a little weird watching since the show was filmed pre-COVID and there’s a lot of hugging and little social distancing (is it me, or was I not the only one who was disappointed to learn that they film holiday shows SO early in advance??). I’ll likely watch the sixth and final episode of season 2 sometime this week – I wish there were more! 

Continued watching: The Bachelorette (ABC), Below Deck (Bravo) 

Reviews

MY NEW FAVORITE HOLIDAY ROMANCE: In a Holidaze Review

MOST ANTICIPATED ROMANCE OF 2020: Crazy Stupid Bromance Review

2 YA Reads & A Much-Loved Thriller: Recent Mini Reviews

Contemporary Romance Mini Reviews: November 2020 Edition

MY NEW FAVORITE V.E. SCHWAB BOOK? : The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue Review

A 2020 YA FAVORITE: Chasing Lucky Review

A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea & Tomorrow Review & Inspired Recipe

A POTENTIAL FAVORITE ROMANCE AUTHOR?: Party of Two Review

Other Bookish Fun

Holiday TBR: 2020 Edition

End of Year Book Tag: 2020 Edition

 

What do you read & watch in November? Any recommendations for me? How are you doing? Share in the comments!

September 2020 Wrap Up

Is it me, or did September seriously fly by? I feel like it was just this weekend I was sitting on the beach for Labor Day- but more accurately, this weekend I was doing grad school work in between procrastinating, reading, and a few Netflix binges. September was another one of the months where while I’m happy I’m somewhat in a routine again between work, my clinical internship, and grad school classes, I just feel drained by the end of the day. Aside from blogging, I’m trying to avoid being on my laptop or screens, which is pretty difficult considering that my classes are online and 95% of my remote work and school work require me to be on my laptop.

Everyone knows that reading is my go-to way to relax, but I’ve been especially grateful for it lately because it’s such a great way to escape and also for me personally, doesn’t require a screen (sorry Kindle, but I’ll be sticking back to my physical books for a while).

I’m not only really content with the fact that I was able to read 9 books in September, but also because I enjoyed them all. While some of them weren’t exactly standouts, they were all pretty enjoyable reads, and I finally got to some books I’ve been meaning to read all year. I have reviews already published or coming for all of the books below. 

The Marriage Game by Sarah Desai | Stars

They Went Left by Monica Hesse | 4/5

All This Time by Mikki Daughty & Rachel Lippincott 

American Royals by Katharine McGee (reread) | 5/5 

Majesty (American Royals #2) by Katharine McGee | 4.5/5

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BOOKS, TV, & MY CURRENT NORMAL: June 2020 Wrap Up

June was another transitional month into my new normal, with plenty of books in tow. I’ve been keeping busy, between starting my remote jobs and grad school. It’s crazy to think I finished my first round of grad school classes, and my second round started this week. I started experiencing some Zoom burnout this month, so reading and taking my eyes away from my laptop screen with books helped things. I actually have to read two YA books for my grad school classes in July, and I’m so excited to be getting to read YA for school – I read two YA books for undergrad, but that was purely because I decided to do my capstone projects on them.

My reading and TV watching were all over the place this month. I read a lot of contemporary and reread a few books, while I still dove into a reality TV this month. I often had trouble really concentrating on TV, movies especially – I had one night where I tried watching three different movies and then ended up rewatching Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and an episode of Queer Eye. 

What is also improving my reading mood even more is that my local library re-opened for door side pick up! I may or may not have put 15 books on hold as soon as the online catalog re-opened. Although there are plenty of good things going on personally right now, there’s definitely still some uncertainty this summer, to say the least. While my state’s covid-19 cases have significantly decreased over the past two months, we’re seeing multiple states have huge increases in cases. Between work and school, I’m typically home Monday through Friday but these increases has made me rethink a few weekend plans and curious to see how my state moves forward with re-opening plans. I went to my first outdoor restaurant and first trip back to Barnes & Noble last week, but my family and friends and I are still being cautious and smart about where we go. 

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Beach Read by Emily Henry | 5/5 Stars

Like me, I’m sure you’ve seen Emily Henry’s Beach Read EVERYWHERE, but I’m here to confirm that the hype is more than worth the read! There’s such depth to this contemporary romance.

Love at First Fight by Sandhya Menon (novella) | 5/5

I’m a firm believer that Sandhya Menon is the queen of novellas, with Love at First Fight as no exception. You don’t have to read it before picking up 10 Things I Hate About Pinky this July, but it was a really fun addition to the Dimpleverse! 

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell 5/5 (reread)

One of my best friends IRL is reading Fangirl, aka honestly my all-time favorite book, which led me to make the decision to reread Rainbow Rowell’s contemporary books this summer. Attachments still reigns as my favorite adult fiction novel of hers. 

Slay by Brittany Morris | 4/5

If you’re looking to read more YA books by black authors, as well as books that reflect some of the conversations we’re currently having about race in the U.S., Slay is definitely worth checking out. Read More »

CONTEMPORARY READS & REALITY TV MOOD: April 2020 Wrap Up

April was another month filled with ups and downs. I’m super grateful for my health and safety right now, but I am definitely missing college life and like everyone, wondering when we’ll be able to get back to some state of ‘normalcy.’ This month, I technically finished my undergraduate work (online), had some fun Zoom sessions and reunions with friends, and again had so many books and TV shows as comfort.

whatireadnew

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee | 4/5 Stars

The Thousandth Floor was the first book of April that fit my ‘let me catch up on all the YA dystopian contemporary (trust me it’s a category)’ and shortly after reading, found myself buying books #2 and #3.

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Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2) by Lyssa Kay Adams | 5/5

Undercover Bromance was such a great companion sequel to The Bromance Book Club. It also made me realize how much I need a book featuring the Russian.

Brunch and Other Obligations by Suzanne Nugent (ARC) | 4/5

It had been a while since I picked up a women’s fiction book, but I enjoyed Brunch and Other Obligations for its slightly comedic twist.

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris | 3/5

My sister finally got me to read Behind Closed Doors in April. It definitely wasn’t the best book ever (sorry sis), but at the same time, I couldn’t seem to put it down. 

Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher | 4/5

I took a little break from (adult) contemporary romances in April , but I’m glad I still read Not the Girl You Marry. Despite the mixed reviews for this one, I thought it was a cute & funny read.Read More »

March 2020 Wrap Up

It’s an understatement to say that this March wasn’t the best. I’ve shared some more details below and in some posts this month, but March was definitely an adjustment to a new type of normal for me, having moved home from my last year of college two months early. I am very appreciative of all the people in my life during this time, but the following books and TV also were the perfect way to find comfort.

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I’m so especially that I read so many incredible this month- at least five of these are favorites of 2020 and contenders of being my #1 favorite book of 2020!

Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett (ARC) | 5/5 Stars

I think I finished Chasing Lucky on the last day in February, but forgot to add it to my February wrap-up. I haven’t met a Jenn Bennett book I haven’t loved, but this May 2020 release nailed everything I love in a YA contemporary.

Blitzed (Playbook #3) by Alexa Martin | 5/5

Blitzed follows one of my favorite characters in the Playbook series, Brynn. I loved the romance and the recurring cast from the first two books.

break your glass slippers by amanda lovelace | 4.5/5

I know I’ll be revisiting a lot of the poems in this new favorite Amanda lovelace poetry collection of mine.

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February 2020 Wrap Up

February was filled with some fun moments with family and friends- and all the homework and school/senior year stress- but I was content with the amount of time I was able to commit to reading this month! March is going to be an even busier month with school and work, but I have some really exciting weekend plans with friends and family coming up. While I do have work and homework to do, I just started my spring break and I’m hoping to dedicate some serious time to reading and blogging this week.

whatireadnew

Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home by Nora Krug | 4/5 Stars

My friends are reading Belonging in a course on the Holocaust that I’ve already taken, and I was really intrigued by this graphic novel while looking over their syllabus. Exploring her family’s life in World War II Germany, Nora Krug’s memoir is told through a variety of historical documents, letters, and photographs. It had such a unique format and a very interesting story.

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton | 4/5

I finally gave into the hype and read Chanel Cleeton’s Next Year in Havana, which I really enjoyed! Despite all of the reviews I had read before, there were a few twists I was not expecting at all!

Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman (ARC) | 5/5

My favorite read of the month and so far in 2020, I was blown away by Akemi Dawn Bowman’s Harley in the Sky. The circus setting absolutely sold and I loved the focus on Harley’s relationship with her parents.

Night by Elie Wiesel (reread) | 5/5

I’ve been reading Holocaust memoirs for my independent study this semester, which made me want to reread Elie Wiesel’s Night– I hadn’t read it since the eighth grade!

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NEW YEAR, SAME FANGIRL: January 2020 Wrap Up

January 2020 has been one of the busiest months of my life. I spent so much time with my friends this month, went abroad (for the first time ever) to Ireland, and jumped into my final undergraduate semester. Between friends, school, and abroad, I didn’t have too much time to dedicate to reading in January- and I’m content with that. I really enjoyed the books that I did pick up, as well as the TV and films I was able to also watch this month.

whatireadnew The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper (ARC) | 3/5 Stars

The Gravity of Us delivered on its NASA and space-premise, but I just wasn’t a fan of the chemistry between the main characters and character development.

The Risk (Briar U #2) by Elle Kennedy | 5/5

The Risk is my favorite book in the Briar U series! I loved everything about this book, and I can’t wait to read the last book in the trilogy- even though I am putting it off for a bit longer because I don’t want to be done with the Off Campus world yet!

You’re Not You by Michelle Wildgen | 4/5

You’re Not You was a really enjoyable adult contemporary and I’m interested in watching its film adaptation.

Together We Caught Fire by Eva V. Gibson (ARC) | 3/5

Together We Caught Fire is definitely a unique YA contemporary romance and provides an in-depth look at a lot of issues. However, I was not the biggest fan of the character and plot development and relationships.

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