Review: Nothing Personal

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Rating: ★★★½

I received copy of this book for free from the publisher (Hachette Books) in exchange for an honest review. 

I was looking forward to reading this book because I’ve been using dating apps off and on for almost 2 years now. I was curious to see how my experience compared to the author’s. 

The book started off rocky. It felt a little discombobulated in the beginning because it would jump around from different points in her life. It was hard to follow what was going on.

The book could have been organized better. It was divided up into 4 sections, but there wasn’t any reason for how it was divided. There weren’t any section names or anything. The book would have benefitted from being told in chapters and thus would have been easier to navigate. 

What I did like about the book was the critical analysis of dating apps. It was incredibly well researched. The author included a ton of statistics like that 44% of Tinder users said they used the app for “confidence-boosting procrastination” and that over 70% said that they’d never met up with one of their matches in real life” (pg. 167). Yup. I have definitely encountered those people. I also agreed with a dating historian she mentioned who said that on Bumble, “the man doesn’t even have to lift a finger to even type you out a three-word message because now he’s not allowed to. So once again, women are shouldering so much more of the burdens of dating” (pg. 159). Amen to that! I’ve always hated the “women message first” aspect of Bumble. It does not empower me. 

The book started getting better around the second half. That is when it became more focused, so it was a lot easier to follow and I was able to enjoy her personal story more. 

Overall, this book wasn’t perfect but I appreciated the author’s candor and research. If you’re curious about dating apps, but don’t want to venture into the world yourself, consider reading this book. 


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Review: Bad Lawyer

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (Hachette Books) in exchange for an honest review. 

What a wild ride!

I’m just about to graduate law school so I thought it was the perfect time to read this book. 

Even though the author is a white woman from a privileged background and I am an Asian American woman, I still related to her and her experiences becoming disenchanted by the law. I agree with a lot of her issues with the legal profession and system. She went into criminal law, a field I have no interest in, but I am not surprised by her experiences or her realizations. The legal system is incredibly archaic and it can be frustrating because of that. 

Even law school itself makes no sense sometimes. She writes in relation to summer jobs,

“representatives from all the top law firms in the country came…and interviewed students for their 2Ls summer jobs, which are said to determine the rest of our legal careers. Why? I have no idea. It was just something we all knew and all accepted.”

pg. 83

That is a true statement and just highlights how cookie cutter becoming a lawyer can be.

I loved how the author explained everything so simply. For example, she explains all the basics of law school in such uncomplicated language. She really provided an in-depth overview of all things law school. She even mentions bar review which was something I was super confused about when I first started law school (I naively thought it was when 3Ls studied for the bar exam, but it’s actually when law students go out to a bar for drinks). 

If the author needs an idea for another book, she should totally do a “Law School For Dummies” type of book. Her writing style is so accessible (unlike most law books) so even the lay person can understand what she’s saying. This probably stems from her inability to master the Bluebook (another archaic legal gatekeeping tool or as she puts it, “The cursed Bluebook is filled with ways to make the law inaccessible to non lawyers. That’s what the law is all about— making what should be accessible esoteric to keep lawyer salaries high” (pg. 66)). 

I did feel that the book lost a bit of its steam towards the end. It felt a little lost, like the author didn’t quite know how to end the book. Because of that, the last few chapters were disjointed from the first half of the book. The last chapters dealt with how messed up the criminal justice system is and I felt that those chapters could have been a jumping off point for a whole other book. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this memoir on the realities of being lawyer. I really recommend this if you are interested in becoming a lawyer. Not everything she says may apply to you, but it does give honest insight into the profession. 


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Review: Everything I Know About Love

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Rating: ★★★★

I received an ARC of the book for free from the publisher (Harper Books) in exchange for an honest review. Since I received an ARC, my quotes from the book are tentative. 

I found this to be a very relatable memoir. There were some passages that really spoke to me. For example, a paragraph from the chapter, Tottenham Court Road, perfectly describes me right now. She writes:

“When you begin to wonder if life is really just waiting for buses. . . and ordering books you’ll never read off Amazon. . . You are realizing the mundanity of life, You are finally understanding how little point there is to anything. You are moving out of the realm of fantasy ‘when I grow up’ and adjusting to the reality that you’re there; it’s happening. And it wasn’t what you thought it might be. You are not who you thought you would be.”

pg 167-168

That passage really hit home. I am definitely still coming to terms with the face that I am “grown up.” At another point she states, “Online dating is for the brave” (pg. 324). All I can say is amen to that! 

This book is not just relatable, it is also very humorous. There are some funny moments. I particularly liked the satirical emails she interspersed throughout the book. On the flip side, there are some more heartbreaking moments that added contrast. I liked the balance between the two because it really showcases the ups and downs of life.

Lastly, I really liked the author’s writing style. It was very accessible and conversational, as if you were two friends catching up. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it. It isn’t just a book about love. It’s also about female friendship and growing older which will resonate with a lot of women. 


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Review: After Life

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher (Harper Books) in exchange for an honest review. 

Going into this book, I didn’t know that much about Alice. All I knew was that she was serving a life sentence for a non-violent drug offense and that Kim Kardashian helped her get commuted. When I saw this was available to review I immediately jumped on it because I wanted to learn more about her. 

Alice’s story is incredible. She truly is an amazing woman and a force to be reckoned with. Her attitude towards life is so admirable. 

I loved that she told her whole story, starting from when she was a kid. It was fascinating learning about her upbringing, her not-so-great choices that lead her to commit the crime, her trial (which had so many things wrong with it), and her life after her conviction. 

The writing style of the book was wonderful. It felt very conversational. It was like Alice was sitting down with you telling her story. When I got to the end, I felt like I was friends with Alice. She was so open about her experiences without being melodramatic. 

The subject matter of the book is so timely. America is in dire need of criminal justice reform and I hope this book can help inspire change by putting a face to the problem. There are so many people like Alice currently sitting in our system. 

Overall, this is a powerful book. It touches upon many themes such as family, faith, and life behind bars. Thank you Alice for sharing your story with the world and inspiring others. Also, kudos to Kim Kardashian West for her role in helping free Alice. Kim gets a lot of hate for various things but you can’t deny her role in this.  

Review: The Size of Everything

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

This was such an amazing but heartbreaking read! 

This book is a memoir. It details Erin Cole’s childhood told through short vignettes. What she went through growing up was so sad and intense. When you’re reading it, you keep thinking that her situation might get better, but it doesn’t until the very end. 

On the flip side, it was still inspiring. The fact that she was able to persevere and become successful is so incredible. 

I really like how the book was written because it had a nice balance between the good and the bad. There were a lot of sad stories but also some more humorous ones. Additionally, I enjoyed the writing style. It was very easy to read and flowed nicely. Using a co-author seemed to help in that regard.  

I also liked how honest the book was. It never felt like the author was ever overly harsh or exaggerating. Going back to the balancing aspect, she even highlights a few nice memories/incidents with some of the people who hurt her in the past (like her dad’s girlfriend). She showed her situation as truthfully as possible. 

Lastly, I also loved that she included some of her mom’s journal entries throughout the book. It gave a glimpse into her mind and an overall better understanding of why her mom was the way she was. The inclusion of the letters also goes back to the honesty of the book. 

All in all, this book broke my heart but was so worth reading. I hope she continues to tell her life story in another book. 

Review: Scrapbook of an Unfound Songstress

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Rating: ★★★

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

This book is an autobiography about the author’s own experiences trying to make it as a pop singer. I loved getting the behind the scenes look of the music industry. It was really fascinating seeing how hard it is to break into the business. 

My favorite parts of the book were the parts that focused on the trial. As a law student, I do love reading about the legal system. It was particularly interesting to see how different the British legal system is compared to the American system. Like the whole having both a lawyer and a barrister is such a strange concept to me. 

I also loved the subtle Alice in Wonderland references, like the one towards the end where she is dreaming and it parallels Alice’s. Alice in Wonderland is a favorite of mine so I enjoyed that touch.

I also enjoyed the layout of the book. It felt like a written scrapbook. Interwoven in the story were journal type entries and script excerpts. They offered a nice glimpse into her life and personality. 

I did listen to some of her songs that were featured in the book and they are pretty good. She has a beautiful voice. 

The only things I had issues with were the writing style and the organization of the book. The writing style could have been improved upon, and the book could have been organized more chronologically as opposed to jumping around from point to point to better convey her experiences. However, the author is a singer/songwriter first and foremost, so that is totally understandable. Kudos to her for actually writing a book. 

Overall, this was a quick and fun read about chasing your dreams and bouncing back from adversity. 

Review: How to Leave

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Rating: ★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers.

This book did not start off very strong. I wasn’t really into it at first. I got about 50 pages in and was sort of “eh” about it. Part One consisted of a lot of rambling. There was no focus; just a bunch of random anecdotes that were all over the place. It also seemed like it was trying way too hard to be funny. As the book progressed, it did get better.

Once the author started writing about her new home in Wisconsin, there was more of a focus and some funny parts. For example, I did enjoy the bits about the culture shock.

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I think the book had an interesting goal in mind: a tongue in cheek “guide” on how to leave a big city. However, I didn’t think this actually needed to be a whole book. The book seemed to repeat a lot of the same ideas about moving over and over again. There just wasn’t a lot of actual substance to warrant an actual book. The whole thing could have been consolidated into a couple of chapters in a larger memoir or even as a magazine editorial.

Overall, this was an interesting read that did have its moments, but would have been better off as a shorter work.

Review: Would You Rather?

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received this book for free through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers.

It wasn’t until I actually read the blurb on the back that I realized that this was written by the girl who wrote Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date. I had really wanted to read that book and even marked it as such on Goodreads, but I never did get around to reading it. I’m glad that I was able to read this book because it does touch upon some of the themes that Never Had I Ever covered.

So basically, I loved this book. I loved it because I related so much to it. I’m not a lesbian, so I couldn’t relate to her coming out but I did relate to a bunch of other stuff. I related to the fact that she was single until her late twenties (I’m currently 23 and still  perpetually single). I related to her anxiety, especially when it came to googling medical symptoms and convincing yourself that you have some grave condition (I’ve done that many times). I related to her obsessive bed making. Pretty much I felt like I was a lot like Katie. I saw a lot of myself in her.

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What really made the book so fantastic, was the writing. It was so conversational. It felt like she was talking to you. Every essay was clear, to the point, and a lot of fun. 

I also really liked the balance between the fun and the serious. There were a lot of quirky anecdotes, but also a lot of introspection.

Overall, this was a very touching and relatable memoir. 

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