For What It's Worth

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Review: Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian

It's 1989 in New York City, and for three teens, the world is changing.

Reza is an Iranian boy who has just moved to the city with his mother to live with his stepfather and stepbrother. He's terrified that someone will guess the truth he can barely acknowledge about himself. Reza knows he's gay, but all he knows of gay life are the media's images of men dying of AIDS.

Judy is an aspiring fashion designer who worships her uncle Stephen, a gay man with AIDS who devotes his time to activism as a member of ACT UP. Judy has never imagined finding romance...until she falls for Reza and they start dating.

Art is Judy's best friend, their school's only out and proud teen. He'll never be who his conservative parents want him to be, so he rebels by documenting the AIDS crisis through his photographs.

As Reza and Art grow closer, Reza struggles to find a way out of his deception that won't break Judy's heart--and destroy the most meaningful friendship he's ever known. ~ Goodreads

Source: Library – audiobook

Like a Love Story = Heartbreaking. An issue book. Angsty. Bittersweet.

These are all things I HATE in my reading life. Without a doubt this book broke me & made me cry. Twice. And I hated the feeling. I like to escape and be happy when I read. Solid HEA’s only please. But I loved this book so, so, so much anyway.

Set in the late 80’s against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic with the music of Madonna as a catalyst, Like a Love Story is the stunning coming of age story of three teens caught in a complicated relationship dynamic.

Art, an out and proud gay boy, and his best friend Judy, an aspiring fashion designer with an uncle dying from AIDS, meet Reza – the new Iranian boy. Reza is terrified of his feelings for Art (& of AIDS) and ends up dating Judy.

I know! I know! You’re all like - a love triangle!! I hate teen angst! But this book is not that. Well, okay it is, but it has so many layers – and layers within the layers.

I remember 1989 and the AIDS crisis vividly;  ACT UP, the die-ins, the AIDS memorial quilt being unfurled on the National Mall, Ryan White. This book perfectly captures the fear and desperation as the LGBQT community, literally, fought for their own lives. But also offers levity and hope with the pop culture references as well as a timeless coming of age tale & enduring friendships.

Nazemian so brilliantly captures the era, the activism, the fear, the death, the LOVE, the intimacy, the pop culture all at once without ever skipping a beat. It’s all done so seamlessly. Family, by birth and found, also feature prominently.

The characters are flawed, and disappointing at times, but totally true to who they are and when the author ties it all back together with a bittersweet ending – it’s not with a tidy bow - but with something better. Something real. Something lasting. Something hopeful even in it’s sadness. All three protagonist's have such distinctive voices and play effortlessly off each other even if it’s painful at times. This is a messy, messy story but felt so realistic.

I know this review doesn’t make a whole lot of sense – because I never do well with reviews for my 5 star books but I highly recommend this book if you love flawed, but realistic characters, want to learn more about queer history, love pop culture (specifically queer pop culture), and love strong friendships that stand the test of time.

I listened to this one on audio and the three narrators were FANTASTIC (Lauren Ambrose – Judy), Vikas Adam – Reza (& Uncle Stephen in short passages about LGBQT+ history/figures), Michael Crouch – Art.

*For a more coherent review – this one I found on Goodreads is excellent.

*And if you loved this book - please give the TV series Pose a try. Set in the same era against the back drop of ball culture, it follows a lot of the same themes.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Tell Me Something Tuesday

Tell Me Something Tuesday is hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings and discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging.

Question: What mistakes have you learned to stop repeating when it comes to reading and blogging?

Answer: I LOVE this question and I’m really curious to see what other say!

Here's what I've learned over the years...


I do not need to post 7 days per week or stay on top of every book in order to be relevant. There’s no way you can last for 10 years (how long I’ve been blogging) and stay at that level of productivity. Or at least, not while sacrificing other things – like a life.

~ I stopped worrying about what everyone else is reading.

Blogging will introduce you to genres and authors you’ve never heard of & that’s wonderful! I think it’s important to test your comfort zone once in awhile. But it’s also fine to let all the trends pass you by without any guilt. If YA, romance, sci-fi….whatever…is not your jam then it’s not your jam. I do try new things but I’ve also stopped worrying about what I’m missing when everyone else is going crazy over a book in the blogosphere.

If you don't get out of that loop you will waste time reading books you hate and not be able to read at all!

~ Only take on what I have time for.

I rarely do any guest posts/tours or anything like that anymore. I also cut WAY back on arc’s and have never been happier with my reading.

I got too bogged down in trying to help everyone out. nothing wrong with that! But again, I was getting caught up in things I wouldn't necassairly have read otherwise and it was a huge time suck with very little payoff and time to do what I really love - READ.

~ I gotta be me! (& you do you)

I read blogging advice posts, I take what’s relevant and toss the rest. I can only be me.

There was a really big push to make us all blog a certain way a few years ago and has, thankfully, seemed to run it’s course. But man, those were stressful times and we lost a lot of good bloggers who felt they couldn't fit the perfect blogger mold.

If you want to make money, get arc’s or hit certain traffic stats – then yes, you have to blog differently than someone blogging just for fun. Both are valid – and both can be done without losing your own unique voice and still have a solid following.

Blog one day a week (or month), blog 7 days a week or twice a day – it’s all good!

~ I take breaks when needed

This was SO hard to do at first. You feel like you're going to lose all your followers or become irrelevant after all your years of hard work. Not gonna lie - your stats suffer (I don't look at mine anymore) but I have found that I sometimes need that break to come back refreshed. And if the options are only quit because of burnout or take a short break and come back with fewer followers - I choose the break because I would miss this creative outlet and my friends too much.

And guess what? Almsot everyone understands and comes back! Everyone is pretty busy in their own life and don't even notice you were gone. lol We all get the need for a break!


When I start getting stressed about having posts up or reading a certain # of books – I step back and remind myself why I’m doing this. It’s a hobby for me. Hobbies should be fun!

What mistakes have you learned to stop when it comes to reading and blogging?

Monday, August 12, 2019

My Monday Musings

Since I’m down to under 50 books on my TBR pile (WHOOP!!) it frees up some time to try a few other bookish things.

Dog Days of Summer Celebration – hosted by La La in the Library & Jo’s Book club
The goal is to read as many dog related books during the month of August. There are giveaways, an IG BINGO challenge and lots of fun posts.

I don’t know exactly what I’ll be reading for this but – DOG DAYS OF SUMMER – I mean – I had to join in right??

I’m also hoping to tie this in with my library challenge below.

I’m joining in with Cornerfolds 10 day event indie book event (September 1–10th) hosted by Tracey from Cornerfolds

I’ll be using it to clear the Angelfall trilogy off my shelf. I have the whole series and even started it last year but keep losing track some how. I’m also hoping to add 1 or two other posts for the event as well.

There will also be mini challenges, a treasure hunt, and giveaways. There are no set books you need to read – you can read any indie book you want! but there are participating authors (with books available on Hoopla, KU and even a few review copies.

You can also write a variety of posts styles - reviews, lists, host a challenge! There’s still time to join in so contact Tracey if you’re interested.

2019 Library Love Challenge – Hosted by Angel’s Guilty Pleasure #LibraryLoveChallenge

As most of you know, the majority of my reading is from the library now. A HUGE change for me since it used to be ZERO. So I decided to join in with Angel’s library love challenge. I’ve already read about 25-30 library books but I didn’t keep track that well so I’ll start with August and pick the Overdrive Junkie – 36 books level

You can sign up at any time – and earn entries for giveaways with reviews.


2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
Karen has read 54 books toward her goal of 80 books.

I met my 50 book goal in July so I’m upping it to  80

Are you participating in any challenges? Any dog book recommendations for me? NOTHING SAD!!