Review: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

Title: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

Author: Abbi Waxman

Publisher: Berkely

Genre: Contemporary

Publication Date: July 9, 2019

Nina Hill has a life she loves. She works at a bookstore, she belongs to a winning trivia team, has a book club that sometimes discusses the books they read, and, once a week, has a night devoted to doing nothing (aka reading). However, her life is thrown into turmoil when the father she never knew dies and she’s introduced to a complicated family tree. Now, surrounded by brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews, Nina has to come out of her shell and interact with these people, some of whom hate her for existing. To top it off, her trivia rival, Tom, a sexy man shows interest in wanting to get to know her. Nina likes things simple, but her life is suddenly not so simple. She’s going to have to come out of her shell and drastically revise her planner to keep up the sudden cascade of people in her life.

To be perfectly honest, the further away from this book I get, the less I like it. It was okay, I guess. Nina was an interesting character. I liked that while she was an introvert, she wasn’t a shut in. She had an active social life and plenty of friends. I guess that’s actually one thing about the book that bugged me. She’s got things to do and people to see every night. She’s social and active and happy, but the book seems to indicate that her life isn’t complete because she doesn’t have a romantic partner. And maybe I’m taking it too personally, but as a happily single woman who would kill to have Nina’s social life (although, honestly, right now, my social life is more booked than it’s been in the past) I don’t get what’s so bad about being single. And even when she began to notice Tom as a romantic partner, it didn’t take much for her to go for it. She clearly wasn’t single because she was shy, but because she’d not found someone she was interested in.

I loved her family members, particularly the nephew who reached out to her (whose name is escaping me) and her brother Archie. I liked how naturally they came together and got along, seeing similarities in each other. The wider family was okay, but those two relationships were great.

I really didn’t like the handling of Nina’s anxiety, however. As someone who’s suffered for years and didn’t realize how bad it was until this summer, I found the fact that she was so anxious and not even trying to do anything but cope a little irritating. At one point, she suggests to herself she might want to find a therapist, but nothing comes of it, as happens to much in books. And I hated the way Tom reacted after she had a full blown anxiety attack. It made me really want her to kick him to the curb.

I wouldn’t discourage someone from reading it, but I wouldn’t actively recommend it unless the person mentioned wanting a book very similar to this one. If they were looking for a book about a bookish person that’s also a romance, I’d suggest it. But it’s not on my list of favorites.

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Each week, participants answer three questions:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading: I’m continuing to say that I’m reading Interview with the Vampire, even though I haven’t touched it in weeks. I feel this is the week I’m going to be making progress on it, though.

I also started Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco, which I’m really liking. I had no idea what it was going to be about and was completely taken by surprise in a good way. I can’t wait to read more. Audrey Rose continues to be the best, and I love her relationship with Thomas. I love all the characters, actually; they’d just wonderfully done. Also, the cover is so gorgeous. I wish it was my book so I could put it on display somewhere. Alas, it belongs to my sister and I shall have to return it when I’m done.

I’m also continuing with Stephen King’s On Writing. I’d gotten through the part about his background and am now on the next part, which I believe is called “What Writing is” or something to that effect. It’s a very good book and I stayed up much later than I meant to reading it the other night. I love when that happens.

I’m also listening to Beyond the Grave by C.J. Archer, which is the third in the Ministry of Curiosities books. I’m a little annoyed because last book was all “will they or won’t they” and then it seemed to be resolved, but now we’re back to that game again. But the plot is good and I love the narrator, so I’m happy.

Just Finished:

I finished Finale by Stephanie Garber a few days ago and absolutely loved it. I wished that there’d been some more time devoted to Scarlett, but overall, I was very satisfied.

Last night, I finished The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner, which is an ARC I got from NetGalley. I loved this book. I was so sweet and gentle and a lot of fun. The characters were wonderful, the plot interesting, and it made me want to reread all teh Jane Austen books right now.

Reading Next:

Gosh I don’t know. I have so much to read that it’s hard to choose. I have a bag of books that I bought home from Thanksgiving and I think I’ll just reach inside and pull the first one I touch.

What are you reading this week? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Top 5 Tuesday – Dear Santa, I’d Like These 5 Books!

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah at the Bionic Book Worm. Each week, participants are given a topic and invited to respond. This week’s topic is “Dear Santa, I’d like these 5 books!”

To be perfectly honest, I want all three books in the Arc of the Scythe, but if I can only have one, I want The Toll by Neal Shusterman. I am so excited to read it. I have a massive TBR pile, but if Santa brought me this book, I’d drop everything to devour this one.

I meant to buy The Tyrant’s Tomb by Rick Riordan when it came out, but it somehow passed me buy and now, here I am, months later, without it in my possession. So, please, Santa? Make a girl happy?

This might be cheating, because I have the Kindle version of The Magpie Lord by KJ Charles, but the physical book is so pretty and I love this book so much, that I’d love to own it. Once again, I’d like to own all three, but even just this one would be great.

When I first read Legend by Marie Lu, I was blown away. I loved the world of June and Day and the the trilogy ripped my heart apart and stomped all over it. So, I was super excited when a fourth book came out. But, once again, I never was able to buy it because of that pesky thing called money. Maybe Santa can help.

I greatly enjoyed Renegades by Marissa Meyer, but, for whatever reason, the library never got Arch Enemies. Oh, wait; it did. In Spanish. So, it sadly didn’t do me much good. So, Santa, if you could tuck this into my stocking, I’d appreciate it. 🙂

What’s a book you’re hoping Santa will bring you?

Review: Her Majesty’s Necromancer

Title: Her Majesty’s Necromancer

Series: Ministry of Curiosities (book 2)

Author: C.J. Archer

Publisher: C.J. Archer

Genre: paranormal

Source: Library

Publication Date: August 24, 2015

When bodies start disappearing from the local cemetery, Lincoln Fitzroy, the head of the Ministry of Curiosities, begins an investigation. His maid, Charlie, isn’t supposed to interfere, but she can’t help but stick her nose in and conduct an investigation of her own. She also is looking for information on her mother, a necromancer like herself. She hopes to find answers about her powers and where she comes from.

When Lincoln needs Charlie’s help in his investigation, Charlie is only too eager. She’ll do anything to not only make herself useful, but to gain his attention and admiration, not that he is very effusive in his praise. But, soon, things take a turn and Charlie is put in danger. Will Lincoln get there in time? Or, considering the state of their relationship, will he want to?

This was a highly enjoyable book. Once again, Archer has developed her interesting character and expanded her role. While I miss Charlie posing as a boy and surviving on the streets, I like to see how she’s able to settle more into her skin She’s grown more confident and sure of herself, and she’s holding her own against Lincoln’s taciturn nature and tendency to anger quickly.

I also really like the relationship between Charlie and Lincoln. There’s a nice tension between them, and obvious high regard, and fraught desire. I like the UST in this book. I thought it was well done and moved along nicely.

I am a little irritated that the only other woman of note is kind of a jerk. Lady Hartcourt went from being a tentative ally for Charlie to something worse in this book, and while plot-wise it works, the fact she’s the only other main character who’s a woman is frustrating.

Overall, though, the characters are enjoyable, the relationships are great, and the plot was interesting to read.

Yes, I recommend this. If you’re a fan of paranormal mysteries with a dash of romance, this book is up your alley.

Weekly Wrap-Up

I survived the week before winter break! The week wasn’t as hard to get through as I thought it would be, but it was definitely crazy. Three of the five days, we had assemblies in the morning. Then we’d go back to class and have to test. It was insane. But the kids held together and we got through.

On the reading front, I got a lot done. I finished Finale last night and Her Majesty’s Necromancer earlier in the week. I didn’t get a ton of reading done, but that’s okay; I was busy. Mostly what I did was relax. I got home on Monday and realized I was very close to being totally burned out, so what I needed to do was just let my mind turn to mush and zone. So, that’s what I did.

Yesterday, I ran my second 5K. It was a Christmas themed race, so I joined in the spirit:

Woman wearing reindeer antlers and a red  nose.
Run, Run Rudolph!

I managed to shave a few milliseconds off my time, which was not as fast as I wanted, but still good. Now, I just need to train for my New Year’s run. 🙂

Monday: The Last Necromancer by C.J. Archer (review)

Tuesday: Top 5 Books I Didn’t Get to in 2019

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Monday: Her Majesty’s Necromancer by C.J. Archer (review)

Tuesday: Dear Santa – I’d Like These 5 Books!

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman (review)

Friday: TBD

Saturday: Snippet Saturday – Dark Goddess

How was your week? Any great reads? Drop a comment and let me know!

Review: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Title: The Power of Habit – Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Author: Charles Duhigg

Publisher: Random House

Pages: 375

Genre: Self-Improvement

Publication Date: February 28, 2012

Charles Duhigg is a business reporter who has researched and explained various scientific explanations as to why people form the habits they have. A habit, Duhigg, is a three step process: a cue, a routine, and a reward. All habits can be broken down to these three steps, but, at the same time, there are more complicated steps involved in habit formation and changing habits. Duhigg explains how habits are formed an changed in individuals, businesses, and societies. He explores cases of people with memory loss forming new habits, how businesses have changed their culture, and how movements in society have been influenced by people’s habits. In the end, he offers a four step process for how to form new habits.

I thought this book was great. It was easy to read and understand, and the findings were amazing. I loved the stories and how he interweaves the various stories with researched backed facts. I found myself watching my own patterns of behavior through the eyes of the habit loop. I’m interested in finding ways to use the loop to form new and better habits in my life.

I even found the section on businesses interesting. I thought that part would be boring and irrelevant to my life, but learning how Starbucks shapes its culture and how other businesses focused on one keystone habit to improve their product was actually very interesting. I actually though Starbucks was better at training their employees at customer service than Disneyland is, at least when I worked there. I wasn’t given acronyms and habits to fall back on when a customer complained; I had to wing it and bring the Disney magic all on my own.

If you have any interest in habits and forming and changing them, I think you’d like this book. It’s a great read as we come to the new year and gives plenty of food for thought.

WWW Wednesday

Okay, I’ve made three days this week. I can do two more. Then, I’ll be on vacation. I can make it!

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Participants are invited to answer three questions each week:

What are you currently reading?

What did you just finish reading?

What are you planning on reading next?

Currently Reading:

So, here me out on Interview with the Vampire: I haven’t touched it since Thanksgiving but I’m totally going to finish it next week when I’m on vacation. It’s my goal. I’ve been dithering around too much with it and just want to get through.

I’m about halfway through Finale by Stephanie Garber, and I’m really liking it. I’ve just been so tired before bed at night, I’m not getting through as much as I thought I would.

Beyond the Grave by C.J. Archer is the third Ministry of Curiosities books and, while I’m not very far into it, I’m still enjoying it. I’m just getting a little frustrated by the romance. I want it to progress and it’s regressing before my eyes.

I started On Writing by Stephen King last night. So far, it’s pretty interesting. I’m impressed by his dedication to writing at an early age. I spent every day of my life from childhood to earlier this year insisting I would never, ever be a full time writer. Now, that’s all I want to be.

Just Finish Reading:

I finished The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg over the weekend and thought it was interesting. It had some great explanations on how habits form and how we can exert control over changing them.

Her Majesty’s Necromancer by C.J. Archer was very good. I thought the the falling action of the book went on a little long. It didn’t have as exciting as climax as the first book, bu the ending made it all worthwhile.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman was okay. I’m not really into contemporary fiction, especially adult contemporary fiction, but this was cute enough. I’m just not sure if I agree with the message. Or, at least, what the book club questions at the end are implying the message is. I have no idea of Waxman intended it to be read the way I’m reading it, but, yeah. My review will be up next week.

What I’m reading next

I plan to read ALL THE BOOKS next. I borrowed a literal ton of books from my sister at Thanksgiving and bought a few more from Thrift Books. But, I think the winner will be:

It’s in my possession, it’s supposed to be good, and I’m going to devour it.

What are you reading this week?

Top 5 Books I Didn’t Get to in 2019

Today is Tuesday and I’m doing Top 5 Tuesday. This is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah at the Bionic Book Worm. This week’s topic is Top 5 Books I Didn’t Get to in 2019

I really wanted to read The Toll by Neal Shusterman this year, but I didn’t get around to it. Part of it is because I want to buy all three books in the Arc of the Sythe series, and I just don’t have the money. I need to hit the library and see if it’s there, because it’s torture not getting to read it.

I very much enjoyed Carry On and looked forward to reading Wayward Son, but I never got around to picking it up. Soon.

Rebel by Marie Lu is another that I intended to read when it first came out, and then I just never bought it. Once again, I hope it’s at the library or someone bought it for me for Christmas/Hanukkah, because I’m desperate to read it.

This has been on my TBR for weeks, ever since I bought the dang book, and I just never opened it up. It’s sitting right next to me, now, but I doubt I’ll get to it before the new year.

I am now in possession of a borrowed copy of Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco, but I also borrowed about eight other books from my sister and doubt I’ll read them all before the new year. But, this one will be near the top of my list for 2020

What are some books you never got to this year? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Review: The Last Necromancer by C.J. Archer

Charlie has been living on the streets as a 13 year old boy for the past five years. Five years before, she’d discovered a terrible power she had: she could raise people from the dead. Her father, horrified when she’d accidentally raised her recently deceased mother, had kicked her out of the house. Charlie’s only way to survive was to disguise herself and become a thief on the streets. She’s known as “Fleet Footed Charlie” and is one of the fastest boys out there.

Until the day she’s caught and thrown in a holding cell with some dangerous men. When one is killed trying defend her, Charlie has no choice but the raise his spirit and use him to escape. That, however, brings her on the radar of the Ministry of Curiosities and Lincoln Fitzroy, who will stop at nothing to secure both her and the girl, Charlotte Holloway, under the guise of protection. The only problem is, Charlie is Charlotte Holloway, and she doesn’t trust her captors with that information.

Fitzroy says he’s on the trail of a dangerous madman who wants to use Charlie and Charlotte to raise an army of dead. But is he any less dangerous than the madman? Or is he and the Ministry even worse?

I loved this book so much. First off, it has my favorite trope every, Sweet Polly Oliver, where a girl disguises herself as a boy and lives successfully as one until she’s accidentally discovered. And this book does that so well. It draws out that moment of discovery until it’s sweet torture and you don’t know if you want it to continue or want the discovery to happen. And then, it delivers and it’s wonderful.

Charlie is an amazing character, too. She’s smart, funny, vulnerable, and charming. You can see how she was able to survive on the streets for so long. I loved her relationship with all the characters, especially Fitzroy, but her interactions with his underlings, Seth and Gus, were charming as well.

Fitzroy is an amazing character. There seems little he can’t do, except behave like a human being. He’s cold, reserved, mysterious, and brilliant. He’s very intriguing, and Archer does a good job teasing his past and personality as the book goes on.

The mystery was quite well done as well. I admit, it took me a long time to figure out what was going on, even though at one point I said, “Oh, it’s sounds like X.” I should have listened to my instincts. I felt so foolish for not making the connection to what I said to what was going on. But the mystery was intriguing and unfolded at a natural pace. It kept me riveted and wanting to listen to it nonstop.

Also, a special shout out to the narrator, Shiromi Arserio. She has a gorgeous voice and I’m completely astonished at the ride range of colors she brought to each character. I’ve got a little bit of a crush on her and her voice.

If you like supernatural mysteries with romantic tension and humor, this is for you. I highly recommend this book. It’s quick and fast paced and just a lot of fun.

November Wrap-Up

So, November was a weird month. It went by really quickly, but also felt really long. I’m not quite sure how that happens.

Highlights: I won NaNoWriMo my first time out. I figured I probably could, since I’d just written a novel the previous month, but at times, I was sure I was going to fail. My initial outline was way too bare and if I’d stuck to it, I wouldn’t have met the 50,000 word goal. Luckily, I was able to flesh out the plot once I was in and met it the day before Thanksgiving.

I also ran my first 5K. I didn’t totally embarrass myself, which was awesome. I came in 24th out of 35th in my age bracket, which I felt was respectable. Also, it poured rain the entire time and was cold for California, but I had so much fun. I’m doing another on December 14th and one more on New Years Day.

I’m in the poncho.

The run on December 14th is the Jingle Bell Run to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation. I’d be thrilled if you could donate to help support the cause. My former principal (and favorite principal) introduced me to this organization because she had rheumatoid arthritis. She never let it stop her, though, and even went horseback riding in Hawaii, among other adventures. My dad has arthritis, too, and I’m hoping the money that goes to the foundation will help find ways to make him more comfortable. You can click here and donate.

Read: 6 books

Categories: 5 adult, 1 YA

Types: 2 physical, 3 e-books, 1 audio

Pages: 1789

Hours listened: 9

Sources: 1 Goodreads Giveaway, 2 library, 2 ARC, 1 from the author

Rage by Jonathan Maberry

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

Think of England by K.J. Charles

Fable by Michele Packard

A Touch of Death by Rebecca Crunden

The Night Country by Melissa Albert

Top 5 Books on my Current TBR

Should reader’s read books that aren’t for their target age?

Top 5 Authors I NEED to Read

Top 10 Changes in my Reading Life

Do Bloggers/Reviewers Have to Review every book they read?

Top 10 Books I’m Thankful I Gave a Chance

How has reading shaped you life?

So, overall, not my best month, but not my worst either. I was super busy and reading sort of fell by the wayside. I’ll catch up this month, though. I’ve already finished two books and I’m in the middle of two more.

How was your month? Any firsts for you? Let me know in the comments!