Review: Wonderful Women of the World

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (DC Comics) for promotional purposes. 

What a wonderful anthology of amazing women!

This anthology showcases numerous women from all around the world, not just the US. Some of them are well known like Beyonce, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Malala Yousafzai. While others are more obscure like Teara Fraser, Mariana Costa Checa, and Ellen Ochoa. 

My favorite stories were the following:

  • Leiomy Maldonado because her story was told with two timelines highlighting her life when she was younger and struggling with being transgender versus her life now. The dual timelines were an effective way to showcase the progress she made.
  • Brene Brown because her story was told using her technique: BRAVING. BRAVING is an acronym for behaviors/values she uses every day to help her live her best life. Her story was organized around each behavior which I found to be so clever! 
  • Keiko Agena because her story was so relatable. Her story centered around Asian American representation in media and as an Asian American this one hit home for me. This story was written by Sarah Kuhn, an author I am familiar with (I’ve read one of her books and loved it). 

Since this is an anthology, there is something for everyone. There is a lot of diversity from the types of women to their accomplishments. The art styles also vary! I enjoyed seeing all the different types of art. All the contributors are either female or nonbinary which adds to the inspiring narrative of the collection. 

Overall, I loved this anthology of astounding women, created by an incredibly talented group of female and nonbinary artists and writers. If you’re looking for some girl power inspiration, be sure to consider this book!  


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Review: Backyard Witchcraft

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher as part of an Instagram book tour I did for TLC Book Tours.

This was an informative book centering on three types of witches: the green witch, the kitchen witch, and the hedge witch. It discussed each type of witch and some of their particulars, like what tools they each use. The book also had an abundance of information on general witchcraft. For example, there is a chapter on purifying your home. I learned quite a bit, like how the moon affects plant growth (there is science to back that up). That being said this book is very focused on green witchcraft, so if you are looking for something more broader, this book won’t be for you. 

The best part of the book were the illustrations. This book is loaded with pictures to showcase exactly what the book is talking about such as plants. The illustrations were also just a nice aesthetic touch. The pictures made the book feel very cozy and homey which made it an inviting and pleasant read. 

The book lacks a concluding chapter, something I always like to see in a nonfiction book. I would have liked to seen a short chapter with some final thoughts about the practice of witchcraft. 

Overall, this is a beautiful witchy reference book! If you are interested in learning more about green witchcraft, then consider checking this book out! 


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Review: From Hollywood with Love

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (William Morrow) for promotional purposes. 

I absolutely love romantic comedy movies. It is one of my favorite movie genres so I was pretty excited to read this. This book was everything I hoped for and more.

This book explores the history of romantic comedies, starting with When Harry Met Sally and ending with To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. Each chapter is dedicated to a different movie, with an essay in between exploring different rom-com actors. 

The selection of movies and actors were a good mix. I liked that it discussed non-white rom-coms (Waiting To Exhale) and rom-coms about older women (Something’s Gotta Give). 

I was also happy that the book dove into how problematic Hollywood can be. In discussing the Oscars So White controversy, the author writes, “this long standing bias reflected the type of loves stories the Academy deemed worthy of serious consideration…It raises a question Hollywood still hasn’t seriously reckoned with: Do critics and voters like the best stories, or the ones that out comfortingly reflects their own lives?” (pgs. 77-78). I found that question deeply intriguing and it brings up a very important point on the biases prevalent in the film industry. It’s a question that spans across all movie genres and not just romantic comedies. 

The author’s writing style was so accessible and easy to read. Sometimes nonfiction can be dry, but this book was like reading a magazine article. 

The book was also incredibly well researched. Every chapter is filled with so much information on the history and background of the movie, as well as fun trivia. The author includes a Notes section at the end with the citations to all his research. 

Lastly, The illustrations at the beginning of each chapter were adorable and a very cute touch. 

Overall, I loved this look into the world of Hollywood romantic comedies. If you are a fan of the movie genre, you have to read this book! 


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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: Kicking Ass in a Corset

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review as part of a book review tour with TLC Book Tours. 

This was a short but very insightful read!

Basically, this book uses 6 Austen heroines to display 6 different leadership principles and explains how to incorporate them into your day to day life.

The book had a slightly academic tone and structure since it is published by a university, but it still flowed well. The first chapter felt very much like an academic paper, but the rest of the chapters were more accessible. The academic structure was very helpful in keeping the book organized and on point. It was very easy to follow the author’s main points. 

I also liked that at the end of each chapter, the author included a short guide on how to use that principle. 

I’ve one ever read two Jane Austen novels, Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility, so I was only familiar with two of the heroines. However, the author does a great job summarizing the stories of the heroines so I was still able to grasp what each one was about. That being said, if you want to avoid spoilers for a particular book, then probably skip that chapter because the summaries are not spoiler free. 

Lastly, I liked the range of the principles. They didn’t reiterate the same things over and over again. Each one was something new and together they made an intricate blend.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one and will be using some of the principles in my life! 


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Review: More Bad Days in History

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free as part of a review tour hosted by TLC Book Tours. 

What an outrageously fun book! 

I haven’t read the first volume (Bad Days in History) so I cannot say how it compares. 

I’ve always loved learning about history, so naturally I found this book to be fascinating. I loved learning about all the weird, strange, and terrible things that have happened throughout the course of history. Some events were hilarious, others were more tragic, and a few were a little disturbing. 

I appreciated the use of footnotes and the extra information they provided. They were utilized well and not overdone (some authors go a little overboard with footnotes). 

There are also a few illustrations scattered throughout that added to the comedic appeal. 

My one critique is that I wished it was more global. The majority of the events were US or Europe based. For example, there were numerous events about various US presidents. I would have loved to seen more diversity in the events and people showcased. Bad days are a universal experience after all. 

Overall, this was an intriguing read. I recommend it to anyone who loves weird history or is having a bad day and needs a pick-me-up. It’s a book you can read all at once, or read daily. It would also make a great gift to the cynics and pessimists in your life.


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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: I Used to Have a Plan

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Rating: ★★★★

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

This was such a gem of a book! 

The book is full of illustrations and sayings to help you through tough times. It is divided up into 5 sections for every step in your journey. I found the whole thing to be so relatable. My life has definitely not gone according to plan. There were many pictures/sayings that resonated with me. I particularly liked one in the beginning that said, “This was not how it was supposed to go” with a headstone that said “My ego” on the opposite page. That one hit hard. 

I loved the overall aesthetic of the artwork. It was very clean and simple yet still packed a punch. Because of its simplicity, it had a calming effect. 

I also liked the short introduction that the author wrote explaining the inspiration of the book. I can tell that the book comes from her heart and experiences. 

The book is fairly basic, so I wished there was a little bit more in terms of depth and content. It could have been expanded more. 

Overall, I loved how relatable this book is! I recommend it for anyone who may need a little pick me up after life knocks them down. 


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Review: The New Normal

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Rating: ★★★★

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

This was an incredibly insightful and informative read!

First off, this book is so accessible. There is no medical jargon here. Everything is broken down in easy to understand language. Dr. Ashton does a fantastic job explaining the basic science behind COVID in a way everyone can comprehend. 

Secondly, the book is also very practical. Dr. Ashton provides readers with advice that is realistically attainable which I appreciated. Sometimes books like these can prompt readers to do some lofty things, so I was happy to see that this book offered more grounded advice. 

Throughout the book, she also shares anecdotal stories about her life during the pandemic which made the book relatable. Seeing a doctor go through similar struggles shows that this pandemic affects everyone in some way and that we all have a common struggle. 

Since the virus is constantly changing, parts of this book are a little outdated. That was to be expected. Because of that, there is no discussion on the vaccines. 

The book is generally, very well written. However, it is sometimes circular and repetitive. She will sometimes state the same ideas again, even though she just said it two pages ago. 

Overall, this was a great read. I recommend it if you’re looking for some practical guidance in navigating our new normal! 


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Review: How to Date Your Wardrobe

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Rating: ★★★★

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

This is a short and quick read all about finding clothing that works for you. 

First off, I liked how inclusive this book is. It discusses how it is totally fine if you want to shop in the opposite department (men shopping in the women’s clothing, women shopping in the men’s clothing department). 

I found the ideas and overall approach towards picking out clothes to be thought provoking. It really made you stop and think about why you bought a particular clothing item. I also liked that there was not an emphasis on being fashionable or trendy. You do not have to be a fashion lover to follow the advice in the book. 

There are some little cartoons dispersed throughout the book which I thought was a fun touch and highlighted some of the ideas and themes well.

However, this book is really short, so it is not as impactful as it could have been. I feel like the author has the ability and ideas to expand this into a full length book. 

Overall, I enjoyed this little book! I recommend it to anyone who wants to redo (or just clean out) their wardrobe.


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