Blog about it, Young Adult

Angie Thomas & the ‘On The Come Up’ Tour

On Friday, Angie Thomas (The Hate U Give) came to Austin on part of her On the Come Up book tour! I’d had tickets for months — it guaranteed one copy of OTCU and admission to the speaking and signing event — and was super excited.

Truth be told, I was having a really bad day before the event. I’d been working on a bunch of art projects simultaneously and feeling like I was failing at all of them, and had a creative temper tantrum that afternoon. (My “creative” tantrums are me sitting on the couch, brooding, telling myself that my work sucks and everything is a waste. I don’t get them frequently but when I do, it can be a real soulcrusher.) I decided to go work out and then I battled 5pm traffic to downtown and overpaid for parking before standing in line. BookPeople sold 700 tickets to the event and my friend who works there told me to line up early so I could get one of the first book signing tickets. That way I wouldn’t be waiting around for an hour after the Q&A to have my book signed.

The event was so popular, Angie would only be able to sign one book, and she wouldn’t personalize it. I was a bit bummed about that, but because I arrived early and held a place in line for a friend attending with me, she offered to get my OTCU signed and I had Angie sign my copy of THUG. (There was an option to buy a ticket to the event without buying a book, which is what my friend did. She has her copy on hold at the library.)

Angie reading an excerpt from her newest book. Moderator center, ASL interpreter to the left.

The event was not held at BookPeople’s store, but at a church with a big enough capacity. I was pleased that we were there early enough to get a seat in the 4th row aisle, so I could snap a few photos. (Bonus of being a wedding photographer: I own a long lens just for this specific purpose.)

If you’re going to see Angie on tour, this might be a spoiler for how things go, so maybe don’t read on. But if you’re curious otherwise… Continue reading “Angie Thomas & the ‘On The Come Up’ Tour”

Blog about it, Review, Young Adult

Book Review: Let’s Talk About Love


Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann (Goodreads)
Rep: black bisexual lead, Asian male love interest. Asexual topic.

This book was chosen for a book club I am part of, but I was already interested in it because of the diverse cast and the featured topic of asexuality. During our meeting, we discussed this book from the fluff to its bones, trying to figure out why it didn’t work for many of us. From an unlikeable protagonist, unrealistic plot issues, and dysfunctional relationships throughout the novel, we reached a consensus that this book could have done a lot more with the prime material it had to work with.

** There will be an obvious spoiler in this review **


Alice gets dumped by her girlfriend right before finals because she “doesn’t like sex.” Dejected, she retreats to her friends Feenie and Ryan’s house for the summer and works her library job. When she meets new-hire Takumi, she has an instant crush. But how can she navigate a relationship with Takumi when she has no interest in sex? Alice must figure out how to find the right balance within her tumultous family life — as her strict parents insist she become a lawyer — and her love life — where she’s not sure if she will ever find anyone to love her the way she is comfortable. Continue reading “Book Review: Let’s Talk About Love”

Blog about it

January Wrap-Up

January stats:

Books read: 11
Illustrations drawn: 0
Number of books read for Book Riot Challenge: 5

Ratings of the books I read:
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3
⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5
No rating given: 2

January was mostly a hum-drum month — got a lot of reading done, but I didn’t love a lot of the books I read. Part of that was probably because I’ve been knocking out books for the Book Riot’s 2019 Read Harder Challenge and they’re not my usual reading material, so I’m not as in love with the genres as usual. But a lot of my anticipated reads were also underwhelming. Here’s my summary…

Five-star reads…


Bad Blood by John Carreyrou | My only five-star read and I just finished it today, the last day of January, so that tells you how my month went. This true story written by Wall Street Journal investigative journalist Carreyrou is SO FREAKIN’ INSANE I cannot believe it’s real life. Even if it’s not your usual cup of tea, I’d say read it. It’s a ride. WHEW. Continue reading “January Wrap-Up”

Blog about it, Read Harder 2019

Book Riot’s 2019 Read Harder Challenge | Part 2

I’m continuing my picks and my recommendations for 2019’s Read Harder Challenge! Click here to see Part 1.

#13. A book by or about someone that identifies as neurodiverse

I’m reading: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (double-dipping with category #15)

I’d also recommend: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang | A reverse Pretty Woman scenario where a woman with Asperger’s hires a male escort to teach her how to be romantic/sexual. It’s cute and diverse too! The author also identifies as Aspergistic.

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia | (YA) I didn’t love this as much as Zappia’s second novel, Eliza and Her Monsters, but it fits the prompt (the main character has paranoid schizophrenia).

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon | It’s been ages since I read this but I remember being really impressed by it. The main character is autistic. Continue reading “Book Riot’s 2019 Read Harder Challenge | Part 2”

Read Harder 2019

Book Riot’s 2019 Read Harder Challenge | Part 1

A couple of weeks ago, Book Riot released its 2019 Read Harder Challenge list. [Here’s a link to their post about it, and a downloadable pdf for you to annotate!] This will be my third year of participating in the challenge. And like I did last year, I’m posting my choices for books, as well as books I’d suggest to fit the categories in case you were interested in my recommendations!

I’ll be honest, this year’s challenge looks especially challenging! The point of Read Harder is to read outside of your usual genres, of course, yet I feel like this year is even more niche than before. In years past I would let one book take the place of two prompts only rarely, but this year I decided to double-up a few times to switch things up (and to leave more room for books I know I already like…)

Here’s my list.

#1. An epistolary novel or collection of letters

I’m reading: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein | This has been on my TBR since 2013, so I’m glad to see it fits the prompt! I’ll finally get to it this year. -or- Heavy by Kiese Laymon | Just because I heard amazing things about it.

I’d also recommend: The Martian by Andy Weir | When astronaut Mark Watney is left on Mars by his crew (believed to be dead), he has to solve a number of problems to figure out how to survive — and how to tell NASA he’s alive so he can get home. This book is written as journal entries in Watney’s Martian log and while it’s apparently pretty scientifically accurate, it’s humorous and the storytelling is great.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker | On the more serious side of things, the story of Celie, a young, semi-literate black woman growing up in the segregated South, will break your heart. I read this for a previous year’s challenge.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | This is a futuristic sci-fi YA book about two teens who have to evacuate earth on two separate spaceships immediately after an invasion. The story is told in a super creative way: hacked documents, medical reports, IMs, etc., so I’d recommend getting a paper copy to read everything better. (Just a note: it’s the first of a trilogy, so the ending is open.)

I just really like Kate’s sweatshirt from this still, so I’m including it. (From The Martian, the movie)

Continue reading “Book Riot’s 2019 Read Harder Challenge | Part 1”

best of

Favorite Reads of 2018

2018 was a decent reading year! I read 107 books (of which only 3 were re-reads). While I have more than 10 favorites, I’m not going to share like a million of my top reads of the year. Here are 5 from adult fiction and 5 from YA.

Adult fiction


Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng 

No surprise that I would love this; I really enjoyed Ng’s debut, Everything I Never Told You. There are so many layers to Fires, all woven tightly together, and foreshadowing does not give way to cliché. The Richardson family, which the novel centers around, feels like a real family, with real humans steered by their own emotions, judgments, rationalizations, and excuses. It’s the mark of a good author who can make you say about every character, “What a shit,” but also have your heart break for them in little ways.

Continue reading “Favorite Reads of 2018”

Blog about it, Review

December Wrap-Up

December stats:

Books read: 6
Illustrations drawn: 0
Number of re-reads: 1
Books received as gifts for the holidays: 4
Books given as gifts for the holidays (lol we are such a bookish family): 9

Longest book: The 7.5 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, at 436 pages
Shortest book: How to Be Alone, at 224 pages

Ratings of the books I read:
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4
⭐️⭐️⭐️ 0
No rating given: 1

Another month of poor blogging. I’m sorry, y’all, maybe my new year’s resolution should include being better at this. I do love reviewing books (I review almost every book I read on my Goodreads); I just kinda suck at writing here!

So, December! My book club (I should say, one of my book clubs — I’m a part of two) had its annual holiday party early in the month. We have a tradition of bringing all of the books we want to get rid of and putting them in a giant, organized pile. Then we pick new-to-us books to take home. All of the remaining books are then donated to a local charity. If you’re part of a book club, I recommend doing this!

So many books! I picked up 6, myself.

This month, I didn’t read as much as I thought I would. I got sick (again!!) and between that, work, and holiday obligations, I only read 6 books. It’s looking like I’m going to end my year at 107 books read. (My goal was 75 for the year, so I’m fine with this number!) Continue reading “December Wrap-Up”