Nicole Reads

Nicole Reads

Consumed with wanderlust. Dreams of writing her own novel. Devours books. Fluent in Spanglish. Intersectional feminist.

Review
3 Stars
[REVIEW] What Did You Eat Yesterday? #2 by Fumi Yoshinaga
What Did You Eat Yesterday? Volume 2[WHAT DID YOU EAT YESTERDAY V02][Paperback] - FumiYoshinaga

This manga series is my perfect place to hide from the world. I buy a volume whenever I feel I deserve a treat or accomplished a big thing.

 

I loved the recipes in this volume and would like to try a few of them. In this case, I was introduced to Nikujaga (肉じゃが) and I want to have this dish ASAP. It sounds like the ultimate comfort dish for the coming fall nights.

 

I also enjoyed learning more about how Shiro and Kenji met and how they came to live together.

Reblogged
#4 Follow Friday with book bloggers: Nicole Reads

 

Say Hello to Nicole in Follow Friday interview session!

 

Follow Nicole Reads: http://lapetite.booklikes.com

 

Let’s start with the question about a book that took your breath away and made you a bookaholic. What was it?

 

White Fang - Jack London The book that took my breath away and made me a bookaholic was Jack London’s White Fang. I remember finding it in a bookstore; I was maybe 9 or 10 years old, where my mom left me for five minutes while she went to a store next door. I sat down in a corner and started reading it. My mom came back to get me, and I made her buy me the book. After that, I followed her around the mall with my nose in the book, hooked by the world of literature from that moment forward.

 

On your BookLikes blog you mention that you know English, Español, Spanglish, Français (un petit peu), Italiano (un po'). Do you read in these languages as well?

 

Yes! I mostly read in English because I’m living in the United States, but lately, I’ve been trying to read in Italian ever since I started learning it in 2015. That’s one of the reasons I got In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri. Ms. Lahiri wrote it in Italian, but it has the English translation right next to it. I also try to read in Spanish—my mother tongue—but it hasn't been as often as I would like.

 

You’ve mentioned having a travel bug :) Tell us more about your travels. Do they inspire your book picks?

 

Most definitely! I find there is no better way to get the feel of where I am going than to read the literature of that country. When I went to India, I read Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake. Last summer I traveled to Italy and read Letters to Juliet by Lise Friedman and Ceil Friedman. I also make it a goal to visit local bookstores and buy books from local authors. 

 

In Other Words - Jhumpa Lahiri,Ann Goldstein The Namesake - Jhumpa Lahiri Letters to Juliet - Lise Friedman, Ceil Friedman

 

What are your favorite book covers?

 

Sweetbitter: A novel - Stephanie Danler The Star-Touched Queen - Roshani Chokshi,Priya Ayyar  

Wild Beauty - Anna-Marie McLemore Tell The Wolves I'm Home - Carol Rifka Brunt

 

You mention that your favorite genres are Romance (Contemporary and Historical), Young Adult, Erotica, Travel, Food. Nice mixture! How do you choose the next book to read?

 

It all depends on what’s going on in my life. Am I feeling bogged down by university or life? I need something light and fluffy like my beloved romance novels. Is my wanderlust on overdrive? Best grab a travel memoir. I also like reading books that might be similar to what I'm writing, that way I can get a sense of what has been done and what might be missing.

 

 

What made you start writing about books/book blogging?

 

I started as a way to keep track of what I’m reading. Later I realized that there was an entire community of fellow book lovers who loved sharing suggestions on what to read next while also talking endlessly about the stories they read and the characters they loved. I finally felt I had found my corner on the Internet.

 

Did blogging have an impact on your reading life?

 

Certainly. It has made me more judicious when it comes to choosing what I will invest my time in reading. It also made me want to become a more voracious reader, reading beyond the genres I usually enjoy.

 

Which books are you most excited recommending to your followers?

 

I get excited recommending the books that made me stay up way past midnight reading, the ones that turned me into an antisocial being that refuses to interact with her fellow humans until she finishes the book, but mostly, I like recommending books that emotionally affected me. It’s always a special kind of thrill to see other people feel as strongly as you did about a book.

 

What’s your reading spot? We’d love to see the photos :)

 

I don’t have a particular spot per se. I read anywhere. My only requirement: it must be a plush, comfy seat.

 

A paper book or an e-book?

 

This is a tough question because there is nothing that can compare to the thrill of holding a paper book in your hands and feeling that comforting weight on your hands, but I am going to say that I prefer e-books. As someone who travels a lot, there is nothing like the comfort of having a wide variety of books readily available in one place. Plus, I don’t have to pay extra for overweight luggage!

 

Three titles for a dessert island?

 

  • The Count of Monte Christo by Alexandre Dumas because that’s a lengthy tome and I have never gotten around to reading it because of its size.
  • Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto because it’s a touching, beautiful book.

Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone by J.K. Rowling because I would need a little magic in my life if I’m stuck on an island alone.

The Count of Monte Christo - Alexandre Dumas Kitchen - Banana Yoshimoto,Megan Backus Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone - J.K. Rowling

 

A book that changed your life?

The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,Katherine Woods   

“The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I try to re-read it every five years, and I always feel that I learned something new. It was the first book that broke my heart and then, with subsequent re-reads, made it whole again.

 

Favorite quote?

 

‘It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live,’ said by Albus Dumbledore in J.K Rowling’s first book of the Harry Potter series, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.”

 

 

If you could meet one literary character, who would it be?

 

Just one? That feels like an impossible choice! If I had to choose, it would be the vampire Lestat from Anne Rice’s “The Vampire Chronicles.” The Brat Prince looks like he knows how to have fun.

 

Shelfie time! Please share your home library photos :)

 

 

You can also find Nicole here:

BookLikes: http://lapetite.booklikes.com

 

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Missed previous Follow Friday talks? Use ffwithbookbloggers tag or click the catch up links:

 

 

See you next Friday!

 

Reblogged from BookLikes
Review
4 Stars
[REVIEW] Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between) by Lauren Graham
Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between) - Lauren Graham

I did not expect to love this book as much as I did then again, who am I kidding? I love Gilmore Girls (even if I'm still upset about that revival).

Ms. Graham is just so charming! I stopped doing things during the day so that I could listen to her. I love her voice, her fast talk, her candor. I love that she sings in the recording and talks openly about her time in Gilmore Girls, her writing (she's adapting 'The Royal We' for the film!) and her methods (which I plan to revisit once I'm back in the writing saddle), her acting career and her love life. I legit teared up when she spoke about Edward Herrmann, you could tell she and everyone in the cast really loved him.

The only reason I docked a star is because she makes a lot of references to pictures that are clearly in the print book and it got frustrating that I couldn't see them because, duh, this is an audiobook.

Beyond that, this audiobook was a delight to listen to and I truly recommend it.

Review
3.5 Stars
[REVIEW] Sex Object by Jessica Valenti
Sex Object - Jessica Valenti
What it feels like to see a stranger smiling while rubbing himself or know that this is the price of doing business while female. That public spaces are not really public for you, but a series of surprise private moments that you can't prevent or erase. 
Pg. 65



This book is hard to rate. It was incredibly easy to read, but it also contains extremely uncomfortable subjects: date rape, sexual harassment, molestation, and many other issues.

Ms. Valenti tries to understand how she survives and functions in a world that is hell-bent on shaming her for existing, for having a body, for having an opinion and sharing it.

For the most part, the essays are uncomfortably honest and raw. They make you angry, they make you sad, they make you think what sort of experiences you've gone through that you've refused to talk about because you don't want to take space or make anyone uncomfortable. This book isn't uplifting. It's melancholic, detached but it makes you think.

Reading progress update: I've read 140 out of 205 pages.
Sex Object - Jessica Valenti

[...] because for a feminist, anger is forbidden.

 

JFC, this is so true and so infuriating to me.

Reading progress update: I've read 107 out of 205 pages.
Sex Object - Jessica Valenti

Being treated nicely felt wrong somehow, as if we were acting out what a relationship should be rather than being in it. For men who hate women, an admission like this one is proof that see, women want a guy who treats them like shit but that's not true either. What is closer to the truth is that when confronted with the love you deserve, it is easier to mock it than accept it.

Reading progress update: I've read 102 out of 205 pages.
Sex Object - Jessica Valenti

This is super easy to read, even if it makes me uncomfortable at times.

Reading progress update: I've read 16 out of 205 pages.
Sex Object - Jessica Valenti

Naming what is happening to us, telling the truth about it--as ugly and uncomfortable as it can be--means that we want it to change.

 

Oh boy, I can tell this is going to be a difficult read for me.

Review
3 Stars
[REVIEW] Story Genius by Lisa Cron
Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere) - Lisa Cron

This will be a complicated review to write.

I took the Story Genius workshop. It’s not for the faint of heart or those, who like me at the time, are juggling their final semester at the university plus grad school applications. Regardless, I gave it a go, and it did help me a lot. Having a deadline and a book coach that is following you along and helping you with your story was something I had never done before. It both helped and frustrated me.

Back to the book.

When I borrowed this from my friend, I thought this was the end-all-be-all of writing books. I seriously considered never buying another craft book again because Story Genius made me think of different things for once. It didn’t spew the usual spiel that other craft books do. It made me focus on the character: their backstory, how they became the person they are at the start of the novel, the specifics of who they are as a person (what secrets they keep, why do they keep them, etc. ). It’s very sound advice. However, after a certain point, it becomes too convoluted, and the book slows to a crawl. It’s too much information, too much repetition of that same information.

I did like that instead of crowding examples from well-known tv shows or movies, we experienced a writer building a novel from the ground up along with us (the reader), so we have a frame of reference.

If you take the time to do the exercises, the book takes forever to finish. Doing the scene cards was nothing short of a nightmare for me. I have never considered myself to be a plotter, but I do know that I benefit from having at least a clue of where the story is going, but the amount of detail that is required for the scene cards is just too much for me.

After a while, I got bored and dropped the book altogether for very long stretches of time. Whenever I picked it back up, it was because a NaNoWriMo event was just around the corner (which is ironic because the author HATES NaNoWriMo with a passion). Also, I am guilty of skimming the last 20 pages.

It does have its good points and invaluable advice but sometimes the book gets lost in its message.

Review
3 Stars
[REVIEW] Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
Devil in Spring - Lisa Kleypas

What a sweet, fluffy read that went into wtf territory as soon as we hit the 75% mark. 

Is there a need for Ms. Kleypas to add a terrorist conspiracy near the end of the book? because it made no sense to me and it seemed tacked on.

(show spoiler)


First things first, Gabriel (the hero) is not a rake, so I have no idea why it says in the blurb that he is. That threw me off completely. He's a good enough hero, but he is easily overshadowed by his father, who appears many times in this book. Pandora (the heroine) is annoying but still, manages to be endearing at times. As a couple, they are just fine. Nothing out of the ordinary or memorable but fluffy enough to make me sigh in happiness a few times. I did love how patient he was with her (because believe you me, she can test anyone's patience) and how he tried to help her overcome difficulties with his support. Their relationship really felt like a partnership and I appreciated that.

Beware, the insta-lust/love is strong on this one. Blink, and you'll miss when the hero suddenly had to possess her with all his might.

The dialogue was fast-paced and smart, the easy humor is there. I kept giggling out loud at some lines.

Assuming the next book in the series is between Ethan and Garrett, I'm calling it now: Ethan is a Ravenel, probably Pandora's mother's love child.

(show spoiler)
Review
5 Stars
[REVIEW] Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Loved this book. How wonderful it is, how educational and how enlightening to read something like this. It helped me realize my own shortcomings as a feminist and how I will hopefully overcome these things and improve.

It's definitely another must-read by Ms. Adichie.

Review
4 Stars
[REVIEW] Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice -  Jane Austen

I finally finished this book! YAY! My goodness, it took me forever to do so. It's as romantic as I had expected but also very difficult to keep track of all the Miss Bennetts. Lindsey Duncan's narration was delightful and she infused it with a lot of emotion.

Before reading/listening

I have tried many times to read this but I have failed each and every one. Hopefully, an audiobook will make the experience easier on me.

Review
3 Stars
[REVIEW] The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante
The Story of the Lost Child: The fourth and final Neapolitan novel. - Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein
"I loved Lila. I wanted her to last. But I wanted it to be I who made her last. I thought it was my task. I was convinced that she herself, as a girl, had assigned it to me." (98%)



Actual review
Honestly, I don't even know what to think. This final book in the series was the one that to me, contained the wealth of Elena Ferrante's wisdom, and it is also the book that was quite difficult to plow through. Sometimes Ms. Ferrante fills us with so many details that I find inconsequential that it slows down the story nearly to a halt. 

Nonetheless, this book is powerful. Seeing Lenù and Lila go through a series of violent and terrible life events hits you in the gut. But Ms. Ferrante's masterful weaving pulls everything back together again, and you are brought to the beginning of the first book right as you finish the fourth.

But what is, as usual, the best part of these novels is the characterization. I know I've said this before in my review of the other three novels, but I truly have never read a more raw, honest and gripping tale of a friendship between two women. It's not black and white; it's not simplistic, it's messy and tangled in a web of loyalty and guilty desire for independence not only of each other but also their circumstance.

 

In the end, though, I feel numb. I have so many questions. 

Like, what really happened to Tina? Is she alive? Is she dead? What happened to Lila? Are she and Lenù never going to see each other again?

(show spoiler)

 

That's the thing about these novels. Though the novel (and by consequence the series) ends on a bittersweet note, you don't end up with a happy, hopeful glow. All you will have left is this overwhelming melancholy and a fierce wish that things were different in their world and ours.

After I finished reading
I don't know how to rate this just yet or even what to write for my review. I have been reading this book nonstop for 48 hours. I need a mental break to pick up my soul from the ground.

Review
3 Stars
[REVIEW] Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay - Elena Ferrante
"The solitude of women’s minds is regrettable, I said to myself, it’s a waste to be separated from each other, without procedures, without tradition." 
(72%)



TW: This book contains SEXUAL ASSAULT, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 

I need time for my heart and my mind to recover. And to think this isn't the last book of the series. Elena Ferrante is a master storyteller. How is it that she can truly capture the good, the bad, the despicable, the intimacy of female friendships? How can she effortlessly capture the impossibility of surviving in a patriarchal society? Her tale and her words have me utterly spellbound and also terrified. 

With each passing book, I find myself loving Lila's unbreakable and fragile spirit more. I wish I had her strength, her resolve. But if I had to choose whom I resembled the most, it would have to be Lenù. Succumbing to the pressure of who we need to be, trying to leave our hometown before it swallows us whole and erases our dreams, and makes us forget who we are.

What will happen to Lila? What will happen to Lenù? I'm scared of finding out.

Review
4 Stars
[REVIEW] The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante
The Story of a New Name - Elena Ferrante
"[...] she was explaining to me that I had won nothing, that in the world there is nothing to win, that her life was full of varied and foolish adventures as much as mine, and that time simply slipped away without any meaning, and it was good just to see each other every so often to hear the mad sound of the brain of one echo in the mad sound of the brain of the other." (98%)



TW: This book contains SEXUAL ASSAULT, RAPE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 

What a rollercoaster. The thing is that these books are so intense and so emotionally exhausting, you end up feeling beside yourself when you finish. On hand you are marveled at the character development, the twists and turns of the plot, on another you are feeling so depressed and hopeless you might need to drown your sorrows into a cup of tea (or bourbon) just to feel like a human again.

This book is intense and so hard to rate. I hated it because of how desolate it made me feel. I also think it's a gripping story that ends with an effin' cliffhanger, again.

The character names are at times similar so you get confused or who is who. There are many nicknames and names to keep track of. It can make for a challenging reading experience, but a worthwhile one.

One thing is for certain, I have never read characters like the ones Ferrante writes about. Yes, they are fucking awful people but you feel for them. You identify with them, you try to reason or justify their faults, you want to believe the best in them. And when they disappoint you it feels like you're being gutted. 

I am all about happy endings but I'm seriously wondering if it's even possible that Lenù or Lila will get theirs.

Review
3 Stars
[REVIEW] Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened - Allie Brosh

Read this in a day while rebelling against my mountain of schoolwork.

I must be the exception to the rule because I did not find this funny at all. Half the time I was jarred by the lack of connection between the chapters and then I remembered this was a blog so it's not supposed to have a thread, maddening as it was. The other half of the time I was bored.

Nonetheless, I found myself relating to certain things she described particularly concerning depression. The artwork is very amusing and the parts with the dogs were my favorite.
 

currently reading

Progress: 20/234pages