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Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews157k followers
December 9, 2020
I have read my way through 315 books to bring you my Top 10 Books of the Year (video) .

Now you know that this one made the cut, check out my video review to see the others!

"I mean, I get that the universe whirls in mysterious yada yada, but wouldn't you rather travel the world?"

"No, I'd rather stay home and read."
Nina Hill's life is perfect as it is, thank you very much.

She has an adorable little apartment, a fabulous job at a local bookstore (Knight's), and a grumpy cat (Phil).
Nina looked down and smiled...with the plentiful sarcasm and soothing rows of book spines. It was heaven on earth.
And on her wild days - she plays trivia at a local bar (provided it isn't one of the places she's been banned from) (it happens, okay?). Tom, her greatest rival, can be a bit of a jerk and Nina takes extreme pleasure in showing him up.

Her life comfortably circles around books. And honestly, she wouldn't have it any other way.
"Are your criticizing Harry Potter?"
"Never. I'm a Ravenclaw."
But unfortunately, what you want and what you get isn't always the same thing.

Nina's mother is a world class photographer and as a result, Nina spent most of her childhood curled up with a good book along with her live-in nanny.

In short, Nina is not overly fond of adventures (at least in real life).

Now, nearly thirty years old, Nina learns that not only did her mother actually know who Nina's father was... but also her father is dead.

And she's in his will.

But in order to claim it, she must meet...her (many) relatives (shudder). Strangers. Dangers. And all that.

Annnnd, all this turmoil continues to spiral.

Her trivia nemesis, Tom, is actually far less of a jerk than she anticipated.
"He's objectively attractive but subjectively repulse, on account of his overwhelming self-confidence."
And Tom, well, he's always noticed Nina but now he's reallllly noticing her.
"She's really smart, probably too smart for me."
And to top it all, Knight's Bookstore is on its last legs. It was actually on it's last legs months and months ago.

Nina is heartbroken but at least her boss has a plan...though it's not much of one.
"Make the books look pretty. Smile, but look pitiful. When people ask if we're closing, shake your head softly and suggest they buy a boxed set."
Bookish Nina will have to do something she's never even considered before - take charge and make a difference.

Will she do it in time? Or will everything crumble before she even begins?
Dammit. Now she was going to have to change her planner.
This book was perfect

I honestly have not related so much to a main character in years.
There are people who have no time for books...Nina judged them.
I feel like Nina and I are soul sisters.

I loved Nina's fierce love of any and all things bookish - especially her dedicated reading time!
Sometimes people tried to get her to do something instead, but she was fiercely defensive of her nothing.
The characters were firmly fleshed out and their personalities were so vibrant that I felt like I could have a conversation with them.

One of my favorite parts about this book was actually reading it with my mother.

My mom always gets to check out the books sent to me by publishers and she snatched this one up so fast that if I had blinked, I would have missed it.

Reading this one with her was truly a wonderful bonding experience. We laughed so hard whenever we saw Nina interact with her family and we sighed with happiness at the ending.

Waxman paced those snappy conversations perfectly for our sense of humor.

The relationship was over-the-top but in a totally believable way - you know what I mean. It's like a meet-cute but one that I can actually see happening.
"Good night, tiny bookworm."
And probably the best quote of the entire book:
"Being with you is as good as being alone."
Pure happiness.

Unbelievably huge thanks to Berkley Publishing for sending me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,303 reviews43.9k followers
July 22, 2023
Yaaayy!!! Good news my friends! Nina is back for holiday!
Click this amazing author’s website:
to get your story and boost your holiday spirit!🎉🥳🎄

And of course here’s my review for this smart, entertaining, one of the best books of 2019!📚

Five bold, big, underlined, shining, intellectual, quirky, weird, nuts, but so so so much entertaining, perfectly crafted, how can I resist to love it stars!!!

How any ordinary human being could resist the charm of Nina Hill’s characteristic attributes! Not me, this was love at first sight. I loved her!

She is not a regular smart, nerdy, introvert book-worn, she’s so busy, social with her scheduled book club events, trivia competitions (with her straightforward comments, standing up against the unfairness, cheating or any other miscalculation of their earned points, her friends and she are banned from most of the competition places!), movie nights at Arc Light theatres (mostly her date is greasy popcorn)!

She reads a lot, she drinks wine a lot! ( My God this is definition of me !!)

She may suffer from ADD, OCD, anxiety and panic attacks! ( OMG this is still me !)

She has great sense of humor, sensitive observation skills, quite creative imagination. ( I don’t want to look like pretentious but it’s still me! Oh boy! Did I know the author from somewhere????)

She has a long distance relationship with her mother since she was a little baby( She was left with a nanny and only communication way to her mother were postcards) and no relationship with her father because she doesn’t know who he is. ( Mother part is close but I love my father! Okay, the author is not BB or stalker! That means there are millions of people like me. Good to know not to be alone)

Didn’t I mention, she‘s so busy with her impeccably detailed and organized schedule, so WHO NEEDS A FAMILY! WHO NEEDS A BOYFRIEND! RIGHT?

ERRRRRRR! Wrong answer Nina! So sorry, you may answer all the trivia question without blinking or breathing (at least she didn’t suffocate) but she has a crush on Tom who is a member of rival team competing against them at the trivia quizzes.

And she learns that she has a father who has watched her from a distance, married too many times, lived a joyful life, put her into his will before dying from a sudden heart attack.
Now she learns that she has brother, sisters, nephews( older than her), grand-nephews, a crowded, crazy, dysfunctional, big family. ( Okay this part is close to me ! For the first time in my life I have so much common with a character))

Now she wants TO RUN, HIDE, DISAPPEAR! Anything she can do not to connect with those people who fight too much, who resent each other so much, who have so many differences but still they manage to stay together! Isn’t this a classical definition of a regular family?

I loved the parts about Nina’s worldview changing. As soon as she starts to connect with each member of her family and open her heart to Tom by letting him in, she realizes she still likes to be alone but in the meantime she also enjoys to be with the people she loved deep in her heart!

This book is about resistance to change but learning to adapt and be brave to share your feelings, be openminded to enjoy different and challenging experiences of life, take risks, embrace your differences, quirks, antics and finally learn to love yourself and share your love without putting any restriction or limitation.

Yaaaayyyy ! I found my fiction twin! Of course it was easy to give five stars!

I loved the author’s way of thinking, writing, creating characters that so easy to be resonated. I mostly agree with her comments and observations about LA life. I really laughed so much at those parts, my cheeks still hurt!

So as soon as it’s released( on July 9th), go and get this book and devour every word of it! Laugh without thinking people giving you weird faces! (They gave me but I handled it maturely. I stuck my tongue!)

Special thanks to Berkley Books to send me ARC copy via NetGalley( also special thanks to them, too) for exchanging my honest review. ( This part always reminds me of Academy Award speeches but at least this is short one. )

Profile Image for Warda.
1,207 reviews19.7k followers
December 1, 2021
This feels like a book that was written for me. I related to it so hard.

I love witnessing the growth of characters I can relate to and seeing them come out of their shell. I love reading and finding out how they handle what life throws at them. You almost seek them out for advice. Fiction is always a great thing to turn to not only for comfort and escapism, but for answers as well. And because so many elements of this story were parallel to mine, I connected to it deeply.

Nina Hill preferred her life to be quiet. A lot of that had to do with her upbringing and the anxiety that formed because of it. She would avoid surprises as much as she could, plan things out in as much detail as possible to avoid things that could potentially overwhelm and trigger her anxiety.
But life throws some hurdles her way anyway and we follow her on this journey of her coping with it all.

I loved it. I can see myself rereading this over and over again. It’s a comfort read, it’s a happy read. A story that reminds you that things turn out okay regardless.


Social recluse. A book nerd. Prefers to be alone.
She is me.

Buddy reading with the lovely Karima! 💛
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,708 reviews25k followers
June 9, 2019
Abbi Waxman's creation, the book obsessed 29 year old Nina Lee Hill was an absolute joy for me to spend time with, particularly with the mass of literary and cultural references littered throughout this wonderful piece of contemporary fiction with all its comic humour. Set in the offbeat district of Larchmont, LA, Nina works at the independent bookstore, Knights, established in the 1940s. It's the best fit for Nina, an OCD over planner, so Monica from Friends is obviously her favourite character. Nina is smart, sarcastic, socially awkward and anxious for whom spontaneity and the unexpected throws her for a loop. Books are at the top of the list in her 5 perfect things, they are medication, sanctuary and the source of all good things, nothing has yet proven her wrong and it's little wonder libraries are her idea of heaven.

Her mom is a famous photographer and free spirit, she has never known her father, and she was bought up and loved by her nanny, Louise, and Khalil Gibran's The Prophet has the most apt saying that defines her, 'You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts' as she lives her life in her off the wall and exciting fictional universe. Amidst her busy, tightly scheduled life of Trivia nights with her team, Book 'Em Danno, numerous book clubs and reading, that are her weapons of self defence, Nina's life has an almighty spanner thrown in it. She discovers a father she never knew about has just died, she is in his will, and is struck numb when she realises she has a huge and disparate family right on her doorstep. Then there is Tom, a member of another Trivia team, a whizz on the subject of sport, Nina's weakest area, annoying, really not a suitable boyfriend for her, after all he is not a reader, but.....she just cannot stop thinking about him.

Nina struggles to accommodate the idea that life is what happens whilst she has been busy making other plans, and overcome her personal intrinsic belief that 'Books are safer than other people' (Neil Gaiman). Waxman writes a gloriously funny novel with a raft of fantastic characters that lit up my life as I read it. Nina is endearing, a sharp cookie who can wax lyrical on the most obscure of subjects, her brain is a veritable encylopaedia of facts and knowledge, it's just her emotional side that is a challenge and which she needs to work on. This is for all those book worms out there, especially for those for whom books are one of the most perfect elements in an imperfect world, and for anyone else who enjoys well written contemporary fiction with oodles of warmth. Many thanks to Headline for an ARC.
Profile Image for Liz.
2,141 reviews2,758 followers
June 15, 2019
How could I resist a book about a bookworm? Not just a bookworm, but an only child bookworm that finds solace and peace in books, a child whose mother is absent and father is unknown. Well, until a lawyer appears informing Nina her father had died and she has half-siblings.

I love the writing style that Waxman uses. Reminiscent of a 19th century novel, complete with witty glimpses of what is to transpire at the start of each chapter.

There’s a dry sense of humor to this book. “He didn’t remind her of herself, but, to be fair, she was a slender 29 year old woman with dark red shirted and freckles, and he had been a rounded old man with white hair and wrinkles, so it wasn’t exactly apples to apples. More like grapes to raisins.” And that’s a quote from the book I can include! One of the funnier ones would probably be banned by GR.

This book is just plain fun. But it also makes some wonderful points. I just adored how they all discover their similarity, as the weird things that seem to be genetic enthrall me. I found it a delight to read and wanted to spend every waking minute with Nina, her friends and her new found family. Make sure you actually read the daily planner pages that precede each chapter.

My thanks to netgalley and Berkley Publishing for an advance copy of this book.
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,197 reviews3,034 followers
November 18, 2022
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

I actually laughed out loud several times while reading this book and that's a rarity for me. Nina Hill really has most of her life put together so tightly that there is no room for dating or any other deviation from her very organized schedule. Even her one free evening that has "nothing" on her calendar is reserved for four hours of reading. In some ways, I'm not sure there is anything wrong with Nina's life, not sure anything needs to be "fixed". We are all different and I admire the character of Nina for knowing what she wants and being happy with her life as she has planned it.

Several things happen to disrupt Nina's peace of mind though. Nina suffers from anxiety attacks, which is a big reason why she has her life so planned out and controlled. She'd been doing pretty good lately, staving off the attacks but then she is contacted by a lawyer and finds out she has a very extensive family and that she is part of the reading of the will of her late father, someone who she never knew in any way. Nina was raised by a nanny while her mom traveled the world as a photographer and her mom never would tell Nina anything about her father.

About this time, Nina and a guy, Tom, on a competing trivia team, pop up on each other's radar. Nina wants to avoid dating and a relationship at all costs, after a heartbreak many months ago and knowing that her carefully cultivated and organized schedule is her way of staying anxiety free. There is NO room for dating, for a relationship, for letting someone in her life that would interfere with her aloneness, which she loves so very much. Added to these two problems is the fact that the bookstore she works for is way behind on its rent and there are threats that the store will be shut down.

This was such an easy and lighthearted story for me. Nina is no hermit with no friends. She has rich relationships with people young and old and a full life, despite having only a distant relationship with her mother and having sworn off dating. But with the help of a new family, her dear friends, and the interest of a smart, good looking potential love interest (heaven forbid!) Nina's safe world is about to be rocked.

Published July 9th 2019

Thank you to Berkley/Penguin Publishing Group and Edelweiss for this ARC.
Profile Image for Kristina Coop-a-Loop.
1,227 reviews485 followers
July 3, 2020
(7.3.20: Brief note added to the end.)

I hate everything about Abbi Waxman’s The Bookish Life of Nina Hill. The shallow characters. The inane, trite dialogue that is mostly composed of trading quips about pop culture. The poorly constructed plot. The ridiculous, unconvincing romance. The silly errors that make me believe the author read her manuscript only once and her editor read it never. Mostly I hate that Waxman has written a book that tries to pass off being an avid book reader as a personality trait, and not even a positive one: apparently book lovers are always loners, friendless, socially awkward, too smart for their own good, and anxious wrecks—AKA introverts.

Nina Hill is a 29 year old who lives in Larchmont, an LA neighborhood. She works at Knights, the local bookstore, is a killer at trivia quizzes, and leads a contented, uncomplicated life…until a lawyer walks into the bookstore and tells her she has a family she’s never met. This doesn’t make Nina happy. It’s a complication and she does not like complications. Plus, she may or may not have a crush on a trivia competitor—and true love is another complication she doesn’t want. Will Nina’s extensive trivia knowledge and her love of Harry Potter be enough to help her cope?

I had hoped that this book would be a fun, light, amusing read—a break from my much more serious nonfiction reading. It is not. It’s so awful I’ve been compelled to take pages of notes and stick post-its to several pages of this book. TBLoNH provided few instances of genuine humor and enjoyment. There will be no spoiler alerts in this review. The happy outcome for the bookstore and Nina’s romance is never in doubt. On page 39, I have a post-it note predicting exactly how the bookstore will be saved and—no surprise—I was right. Other intelligent readers will likewise not be surprised, although they may be taken aback by how much orange artificial cheese coats the entire last 15 pages or so. It’s vomit-inducing.

As a person, Nina is a fail. Granted, all the characters in the book are failures, but Nina is the main character and thus the most important. Not only is she a failure, she’s a bore. Despite having lived her entire life in LA, her only friends are her bookstore coworkers and trivia teammates. What about high school and college friends? Oh, yeah, that’s right. She loves books so automatically that makes her a friendless loser because no one likes readers! (Although I’m not convinced Nina is much of a reader. This novel covers a 3-4 month span, but in that time she’s described reading only one book. That is not the sign of an avid reader.) In Nina, Waxman created a character with absolutely no character. Her personality seems to be limited to loving books and having a sporadic, needed-only-when-the-plot-calls-for-it anxiety disorder. Loving books is not a personality. Nor is having anxiety, but Waxman bases Nina’s entire character on these two things. What I know about Nina doesn’t impress me. Despite having a globe-trotting mother, not only doesn’t she travel, she seems to have no curiosity about the world outside her immediate area. Even though she’s supposedly socially awkward with anxiety issues (again, an introverted book lover), she’s incredibly handy with quips and zippy comebacks. Not that I think she’s all that witty or smart; her dialogue is loaded with pop culture references, heavy on Harry Potter. This description of Nina basically works for the majority of the characters in this book. They are all variations of Nina. They all have the same facetious, jokey way of speaking. They are all book lovers (I’ll address Tom the love interest later). Nina’s newfound family consists of Nina clones—or maybe she is the clone of them? Everyone, from the dead father she never knew down to Millie, her young half-sister—looks like her, likes the same food, and loves books, which marks them as either current or past friendless losers with on-going anxiety issues. This is such bullshit.

Waxman stereotypes pretty much everyone in this book. Peter, Nina’s nephew, introduces himself to her by announcing that he is “gay and fabulous” and proceeds to be exactly that. All the children are precocious and adorable in that cheesy, crappy tv sitcom style I love to hate. Readers’ personalities are defined according to reading interests: mystery readers are like X, nonfiction=X, romance readers are very X (I’d quote it but can’t find the damn passage in the book--update: page 293. Quoted in comments section below). The idea that most readers cross genres and read a whole lot of everything doesn’t seem possible in Nina’s world. The most egregious stereotyping is book lovers as social rejects. Nina, Millie, dead father—all specifically cite their love of books as a reason for their social awkwardness. Millie says she sometimes has friends, but most of the time she doesn’t because they don’t read books other than Harry Potter and because they don’t read the same books she does, she can’t talk to them. Not only that, they think she’s weird because she’s smart and asks questions (247-248). Of course, Nina identifies with her: “[The conversation] was giving her flashbacks to her own school years. Recess and lunch, finding a spot to be alone, and then half wishing someone would find you” (247). More bullshit. Being a reader doesn’t automatically mean you are a friendless loser. Why the hell does Waxman want to perpetuate this stereotype? I read a lot as a child and I had a lot of friends. It’s fucking possible to love books AND have friends and even—gasp!—have friends who aren’t readers. I also call bullshit on the automatic definition of introvert AS loner and friendless loser. That’s not who an introvert is. I’m so sick of seeing this. I’m an introvert. I have friends who are introverts. It doesn’t make us losers or anti-social bomb-building terrorists. It means that you are very comfortable being alone, but that doesn’t mean you avoid human interaction. I enjoy meeting people and will basically talk to anyone. However, as an introvert, I need time alone to recharge my battery because people are exhausting. The main differences between extroverts and introverts is how we choose to relax and what refreshes us; it’s not sane and social vs. unbalanced and loser loner. It’d be fucking delightful if authors and mass media would stop the lazy depiction of introvert=freak.

The other egregious error of this book is depicting Nina as suffering from an anxiety disorder. Her feelings of anxiety are inconsistent and depend on the demands of the plot. Nina says she schedules her life so thoroughly because her routines keep her anxiety at bay; unscheduled activities and surprises cause anxiety attacks. Bullshit. Nina rarely follows her own damn routine (as detailed in the over-the-top cutesy planner pages). Almost every diary entry has some form of “go shopping” but she never does. If yoga doesn’t happen, well, that’s okay too. Nina shrugs and goes home. Having last-minute lunch plans with her fabulous gay nephew? Not a twinge of anxiety. The only time Nina feels anxiety or has an anxiety attack (and let me say that the author uses “panic attack” and “anxiety attack” interchangeably. THEY ARE NOT. These are two different disorders. It’s possible for one person to have both, but they are NOT the same. Waxman, get your goddamn facts straight) is when the plot calls for it. Meeting the guy she sorta likes? Ooops, she has an anxiety attack because, you know, she’s an introverted book loving socially awkward freak. Plus, that’s a plot device Waxman will need to use again. Having an anxiety disorder isn’t something you can just turn on and off. I know this because I have an anxiety disorder. It’s not fun and it’s not a convenient plot point. So to read this book in which the author uses anxiety as a way of defining personality and to move the plot forward really, really pisses me off.

There are very few intelligent conversations. Most of the dialogue is throw-away quips and one-liners and heavy on the pop culture references. The entire dick pic/penis conversation at the beginning of the book is incredibly juvenile, more so considering all the women are over the age of 15. And the characters all sound alike. Nina sounds like Peter sounds like Liz sounds like Polly sounds like Lisa sounds like dead father. Tom’s the only character who isn’t a reader, but Nina (after some resistance) graciously forgives him this and loves him anyway. The romance is underwhelming. They both act like virginal dating neophytes instead of adults of 29 and 30. I particularly detested the Grand Gesture during the quiz tournament (btw, I would have totally aced that question) and how nobly Tom forgives her for having an anxiety disorder and then takes her to his work space and shows her the spot he’ll set up just for her so she can sit there and read and admire him while he builds his bookshelves. That’s fucking creepy. The all-you-need-is-a-big-strong-man-to-take-care-of-you vibe is irritating. Let me tell you, anxiety doesn’t give a shit about the status of your love life. Nina can have a crew of big strong men (readers or not) and that won’t solve her fucking anxiety.

The idiotic errors. On page 13, Nina comes home from work and turns on the kettle. A few paragraphs later, she’s pouring herself a glass of wine (15). What happened to the kettle? When Nina meets Peter for lunch, she apparently forgets she has to return to work because they both go shopping and then she goes home (68). Huh. That wasn’t in the planner. Nina states many times that she doesn’t travel and has never set foot outside of California (as an adult). Yet when she describes her collection of Peter Rabbit books in different languages, she says, well, she and her mom hadn’t been to all of those countries together. This implies Nina travels (181). And on 183, Waxman writes: “Libraries were her favorite places, and when she traveled, she would start out at the local library, thus immediately identifying herself as a total nerd.” (Or maybe as a smart person who just likes to check out libraries. Being smart isn’t by default a nerdy or negative thing.) Um, Nina never fucking travels. Possibly Waxman at one time conceived of Nina as a traveler but changed her mind and not her manuscript. Lastly, Nina accompanies Peter to his mother’s house. A woman drops off a rescued dog for Becky (the mom) to examine…and then the shelter woman disappears (214). Poof! She doesn’t leave, she just vanishes from the novel. Excellent!

There are serious themes in this book, but they are completely mishandled. Nina’s mother basically abandoned her to be raised by a nanny and is rarely present. Wouldn’t that cause Nina some resentment? If so, it’s very subtle. Mom also lied about knowing who Nina’s father is and legally prevented him from contacting Nina. Mom says she did this to protect Nina from him because he’d be a crappy father, but she denied Nina from knowing her father and her extended family. Is Nina upset about this? Nah. Dead father, in his letter to Nina, says he watched over her as she grew up. Why the hell didn’t he fight for his legal rights as a father? He would have won. Why didn’t he bother to contact her when she turned 18? Who knows why. There’s no fucking logic to any of this—it’s drama Waxman created to have the drama. Despite what mom said, he did want to be a part of Nina’s life. Why he wasn’t is just lazy writing and piss poor plot development. Nina’s response to all of this is confusing. She doesn’t seem angry, resentful—any normal emotion you’d expect under these circumstances. Why not? Lazy writing. She is anxious though and frankly the anxiety is tied more to her being an introvert than her family dynamics.

The possible demise of the bookstore you’d think would be anxiety-producing for Nina. Nope. Despite Mr. Meffo visiting the store attempting to get his rent payment, Nina the idiot thinks it’s funny: “She’d always kind of assumed the dance about the rent was just one of those things, a normal part of business” (156). Look at Liz, the crappy store manager, hide from Mr. Meffo! Ha ha!

Nina, you’re a fucking idiot. In what world is it “a normal part of business” to be late in paying your fucking rent? She pays rent. Does she think it’s hilarious to pay her rent weeks late? I’m sure if Harry Potter did it somewhere, she’d do it too. Supposedly this woman has an anxiety disorder. I’m guessing that even the hint of the bookstore closing, thus depriving her of income, would be a HUGE disruption of her scheduled activities. The first time Mr. Meffo came looking for rent, Nina the realistic character would have: gotten a sinking feeling in her stomach, asked Liz about the rent repeatedly, stayed awake worrying about it, polished up her resume, checked her bank account and cut expenses, worried more, stayed in a more or less consistent state of nausea, and made numerous contingency plans in the off-chance she would be unemployed. Being anxious means going immediately for the worst-case scenario. Nina would have done all of those things, not shrugged it off. When does she finally have an anxiety attack? Oh yeah, when the plot requires it. She goes from zero anxiety to a million. Again, for someone with anxiety, that’s fucking bullshit. She’d also be thinking—hey, my dad was rich. I’m in the will. Maybe he left me money. That’s not a horrible thought to have. It’s normal. Does she EVER think this? Ever show any curiosity about why she’s in the will and what he may have left her? Again, never.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is a disgrace. The writing is overly cutesy, the pop culture references are off-putting and a lazy way to define characters, all the characters sound almost exactly the same…this book fucking sucks. Book lovers are not anxious social misfits. Waxman’s use of an anxiety disorder to define Nina is fucking awful and unrealistic. The reader’s guide discussion questions at the end—are you fucking kidding me? And one last thing…why the fuck does Phil the cat talk? What the fuck! I hated this book with every fiber of my being. I recommend it to NO ONE, unless you are teaching a class on shitty novels.

Note about Introverts:
I was recently talking to a friend about a shared acquaintance. We were listing her negative qualities & Sally finished with "...and she's an introvert!" Me: "Now, hold on. I'm an introvert." Sally: "You're not an introvert!" (She was shocked, like I had just called myself a pedophile.) Me: "Yeah, nothing wrong with introverts." Sooo...this anecdote supports my argument that media/pop culture loves to paint introversion as an extremely undesirable personality trait, when it's nothing of the sort.
Profile Image for *TUDOR^QUEEN* .
461 reviews477 followers
July 20, 2019
The subject matter of this book seemed like a perfect fit to my tastes, seeing as how I identify so closely with the main character, Nina Hill. Just like Nina, I would much rather sit in a comfy chair with a beloved pet nearby curled up with a book and some coffee, than doing most anything else. I would much rather be in these same circumstances than have to make small talk with people. Like Nina, the bubble of my home is my happiness, with my kindles and thousands of book files (in her case, actual physical books on bookcases) at my fingertips. We also know a lot of facts and relate to our pet like they are a real person. However, even though "Bookish Nina Hill" and I are kindred spirits, I did not enjoy this book quite as much as I had hoped.

For a brief overview of this story, Nina lives by herself in a little guesthouse with bookshelves, a comfy chair in the corner, and her cat Phil. She happily works in a bookstore called Knight's Books. She occasionally suffers from panic attacks, and finds comfort in routines, schedules and making daily lists. These cute, handwritten daily lists precede each chapter. Nina is a geek that participates in trivia quiz competitions. There also are several book groups that hold meetings at the store in the evenings. Needless to say, Nina's life is full, and she seems to be quite content with it. Her mother is a successful travelling photographer, but Nina was raised by a loving nanny named Louise. In many ways, Louise seems more like her mother than her biological one. In addition, Nina never knew her father because her birth was the result of an affair. NIna's Mom had an agreement with Nina's father that he would never contact her. However, when Nina's father dies, a lawyer contacts her with the news and that she has an extended family. Nina's life is suddenly stirred up with unexpected people to meet and deal with, with the possibility of an inhertitance.

I thought I was in for a delightful ride as I first delved into the book and periodically found myself breaking into laughter. Now that I think about it, I enjoyed the story of Nina's life by herself more than when she discovered her new family members. That's the part when I began to lose interest. I didn't connect with these other characters, and there were too many of them to follow with any recognition. They became a distraction to the story I was enjoying about Nina's insular life. I also was bored reading about the trivia quiz competitions Nina participated in.

I was initially intrigued by her burgeoning relationship with Tom, an attractive, worthy opponent on the other trivia quiz team. However, I was turned off by Nina's sexual encounter on their second date, when they barely knew each other. In addition, on a later outing when Nina ran into some common friends and was asked about Tom, she couldn't bring herself to label Tom her boyfriend...this after having slept with him. Call me a prude, but I found it bizarre behavior, especially for a "bookish" type that I had been identifying with.

A book that started out so promising for me with unexpected bursts of laughter gradually ran out of steam for me. I know I am an outlier on this, but by the book's end I was ready to read something else.

Thank you to Berkley / Penguin Publishing Group who provided an advance reader copy via Edelweiss.
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,479 reviews19.4k followers
June 3, 2022
Re-read 6/3/22: Lowering my rating from a 5 to a 4 with this re-read, but it was still an absolute delight! Just not as much of a favorite now as I thought it might be back when I first read it. With that being said, I do still strongly stand by the way that this book got Los Angeles (specifically the East side!) *so* right. Really makes me want to drop everything and go over to my dad's and walk around my old neighborhood, just taking it all in. Pls ignore me as I feel my sappy, I-love-my-hometown feelings!!!

Original read 11/23/19: This was the perfect book at the perfect time and I loved it SO MUCH! It was so charming and nerdy and got Los Angeles RIGHT and I just really, really, really enjoyed this. 10/10 do recommend reading this one when you're in need of a pick me up because it was just so good!!!

CW: absent parents, death of a parent, depictions of anxiety/panic attacks
Profile Image for Angela M .
1,308 reviews2,191 followers
August 7, 2019
3.5 stars (I have to round up since I love making lists and of course, I’m bookish.)

The truth is that many of us are like Nina Hill and live bookish lives. We might not be as quirky and maybe not as smart (I know I’m not), but there’s so much about the bookish part that’s relatable and that’s what made this made light and lovely and even though predictable read, so much fun. Oh, I rolled my eyes a few time when it was a bit too cute. But overall, even knowing that I could tell you how it was going to end, I couldn’t help but root for Nina the whole way.

Nina prefers to be alone and preferably reading, but she’s not exactly a recluse. She has friends, plays team trivia, runs book clubs and has her dream job in a bookstore. She’s a planner, maybe OCD, and when she has free time, it’s not really free since that’s when she reads . I definitely get that ! She has no real family to speak of except Louise, the nanny who raised her. Her mother for all intents and purposes abandoned her, and while they are in touch, they see each other rarely. She doesn’t know who her father is. That is, until she is named in his will and family takes on a whole new meaning. And, of course, she meets someone. Can she find room in her schedule or more importantly her life for her new half siblings, nieces and nephews? This is that feel good summer book I was looking for, light but not too light, full of heart and a character who will touch the heart of many book lovers. She did mine.

I received an advanced copy of this book from Berkley through Edelweiss.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,535 reviews9,942 followers
November 2, 2019
Buddy read badge from For Love Of A Book 💕

I wasn’t sure about this book but one of my groups is doing a buddy read so I got it from the library. I’m going to buy this book now. This book made me laugh, love and cry! Favorites list peeps!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,244 followers
July 19, 2019
Everyone is talking about how much they relate to Nina Hill and I didn't at all. Am I the weirdo here?

His cat is named Mom? Now that's weird.

To me, it was just too much. It's like, okay you can wear the unicorn t-shirt, but when you pair it with the cat leggings, the orange Converse, the rainbow hair, AND the cat-ears head band you are no longer being original - you are a walking stereotype.

That was Nina Hill to me. She worked in a bookstore, had hundreds of books at home, lived alone with a cat, was awkward as fuck, and yet had tons of friends and an active social life. She had the understanding boss and the slutty friend who worked with her. She didn't know how to talk to a guy without coming across as someone who was new to the planet, but he was charmed by it. Also, he was super hot.... yeah. Mr. Hottie also pursued her relentlessly when she didn't act very interested because of her awkwardness. Someone is trying to press all of our buttons.

In spite of all of that, I did mostly enjoy the book because it had a lot of fun pop culture references and funny moments. But, something inside of me didn't like the idea that just because someone reads a lot they must be awkward and living in a fantasy world of their own making. It seemed like it was stereotyping us, and so many other kinds of subcultures.

Like the gay nephew she meets. He's got to be exactly the gay man in every sit-com. He introduces himself as "your fabulous gay nephew," and proceeds to gay it up all over the place. Now, my brother was gay and I had a huge circle of gay friends because of him while growing up. They actually don't use the word "fabulous" as often as heteros think they do. And most of them can fit into society without doing obvious "gay things". You would never even know they were gay.*gasp* And, they might not even like shopping! *gasp again* And, they may not want to be your gay best friend because you always wanted one. *gasping too much now. Need to stop this before I hyperventilate*. But, the gay nephew is treated just like you would expect - on television or in books.

Then the daydreaming thing annoyed me. Just because we read, we must be making up imaginary scenarios in our head like the kid from A Christmas Story? Let's be honest here, if we stepped out of reality and had some walking dream about an ice cream war going on in the streets, we would most likely be suffering from some form of ice cream PTSD and need therapy. I read every night - almost a book a day - and yet I can live in complete reality. I even socialize with other humans perfectly well. As a matter of fact, I make friends everywhere I go because I actually like people and know how to chit chat. *look, I'm not going to gasp again, because I just came down from the last paragraph's breathing exercise, but you know there should be several gasps here, right?* So, no, we readers aren't unable to cope with reality and live in fantasy worlds that we can't control.

I bet he's not a reader. A reader would know how to cover up his crime.

Also, the ending was super cheesy. Like, your fingers will suddenly be orange from how much cheesiness it's manifesting. It's like tree pollen in the South in spring. Or, for you Yankees - it's like eating cheetos.

Still, I think most people will like this as a fluffy read. I'm just exceptionally snarky today. Now, it's time to go read something more realistic - maybe some werewolf porn or alien porn.... as long as it's porn.
Profile Image for Norma.
551 reviews12.7k followers
January 16, 2020
Delightful, amusing, & full of heart!

THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL by ABBI WAXMAN is an engaging, fun, charming, and lighthearted tale that totally captures the beauty and life of a bookworm perfectly. I was immediately taken with this story and found myself totally mesmerized and in awe of how relatable, thoughtful and fantastic this story was. I pretty much had a smile on my face the whole time I was reading this book.

ABBI WAXMAN delivers an interesting, witty, endearing, and beautifully written read here with lovable and quirky characters and a setting that totally captivated and intrigued me. I think reading a book about a bookworm is probably one of the most satisfying, pleasurable, gratifying and validating experiences out there and so relatable to all of us book lovers. I was totally taken and fascinated with Nina Hill’s character and she fully captured my heart. There were so many times I felt a strong kinship to Nina and nodding in agreement to pretty much every aspect of her character and to plenty of scenarios in this book.

I loved reading Nina’s day planner pages and how they were used as chapter breaks which definitely added a little extra flare to the novel for me.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Pretty, intriguing, whimsical, eye-catching and a fitting representation to storyline. I absolutely love everything about this cover -- especially the colour schemes.
Title: Appealing, intriguing and absolutely love how perfect the title is to the storyline. The title of this book definitely enticed me to read it. Anything book related in the title I’m in!
Writing/Prose: Well-written, beautiful, witty, fluid, fun, engaging, and captivating. I totally connected with and absolutely loved ABBI WAXMAN’S writing style.
Plot: Fun, humorous, touching, memorable, perfectly-paced, absorbing, enjoyable and entertaining.
Ending: The last line of this book was perfection! Absolutely loved it!
Overall: I absolutely adored this book and didn’t want it to end! It definitely gave me that huggable, warm and fuzzy feeling! Would highly recommend!

*Traveling Sisters/Friends Read*

I’d like to thank Elisha at Berkley Publishing for gifting me an advanced copy of this book. It was an absolute delight reading this book!

This review can also be found on our Two Sisters Lost in a Coulee Reading book blog:
Profile Image for Julie .
4,077 reviews59k followers
September 14, 2019
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman is a 2019 Berkley publication.

Sweet, witty, clever and whimsical- my kind of people- in my kind of book!

By some standards, Nina may seem a bit eccentric. But, truly, she just likes her job and her books and a solid routine. She may be a classic introvert, but she hangs out with her friends and competes in trivia competitions.

However, her quiet, ordered life turns topsy-turvy when she is informed that her father, a man she never knew, has passed away, and she has been named in his will. Suddenly there are lawyers, and a slew of relatives invading her life- none of which fit into her carefully constructed day-planner.

Nor, does dating, it would seem, although there is an interested party- except it’s Tom, her main competition on Trivia Nights. If this weren’t enough to rattle her, her job at the bookshop is in jeopardy because her boss can’t pay the rent.

Although, Nina does her best to avoid the lawyers and new family members, and genuinely tries to pencil Tom in for a date night, she isn’t having much luck on either count. Will Nina ever be accepted by her new family? Will her day planner ever make time for poor Tom? Will the bookshop sink or swim?

I new I would love this book!! The characters are easier for me to relate to than the ‘loudest person in the room’, voted most gregarious types- and of course, who doesn’t love books about books?

I’ve never been to trivia night, but it certainly sounds like a lot of fun- although I’m not that knowledgeable or competitive. Everything about this book is executed perfectly- pace, dialogue, characterizations, and tone. It’s light, but has depth, is poignant, but mostly it’s a fun, feel good story anyone can enjoy. I loved Nina’s life so much, I felt a bit wistful, wishing I could find fit into the mix of work, family, and friends that make up her charmed life. The ending was the cherry on the cake and left me grinning from ear to ear!!

This is just an all-around great story about the truly important things in life and staying true to oneself while adapting to life’s inevitable changes. Of course, us bookworms and introverts will find this book highly relatable, maybe seeing a bit of ourselves in this story, which makes it even more charming and touching!!

All the stars for this one!! (Did you ever doubt it?) That's makes three for three for Ms. Abbi Waxman!!
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.5k followers
March 8, 2020
‘she thought of books as medication and sanctuary and the source of all good things. nothing yet had proven her wrong.’

i relate to nina on so many different levels - as an introvert, as a lover of books, as a planner/list maker/routine follower, as a cat owner, as a trivia fanatic, and as a woman.

i think AW does a wonderful job at representing all of these great attributes in one complex and relatable character. i know i am not the only person who sees themself in nina and i think that is a beautiful thing.

while this truly is a heartwarming story, there are a few things which prevent me from rating this higher. i just couldnt quite get on board with the writings sense of humour - its just not my style. i also found many characters to be too quirky or too unique - it made the characterisation feel unnatural and gave the impression of trying too hard (which is never a good look). and i wanted more romance - tom and ninas connection feels both rushed and cut off.

overall, this is a lovely story and i wish i didnt find so many little things to nitpick at, but sometimes you just cant help it.

3 stars
Profile Image for Debra .
2,416 reviews35.2k followers
August 4, 2019
This was a delight from start to finish. Books, reading, Larchmont. What’s not to love. Not only was I able to identify with Nina to some degree, I was able to imagine everything she did in the book, having lived in Los Angeles for so long and spending numerous hours on Larchmont Blvd. (Village Pizza, anyone? Sam's bagels! oh, the memories)

Nina is a bookworm who manages her life down to the second. She can pencil you in, if you are willing to wait a week, or two or three! She is an active participant in her trivia club, leads several book clubs, goes to movies and has various interests but always makes time for reading! She drinks wine, she's competitive, she's anxious, and she has an interesting relationship with her globetrotting Mother. But one day, her world turns on a dime, when a man informs her that her father- who she never knew -was dead! But wait...there's more- she's not an only child anymore, she has family, a who gaggle of them and this is when her life gets interesting...then there's Tom. Tom who? you ask... well Tom is her Trivia nemesis and damn it, he's cute, he's interesting, and he can't seem to leave her alone. What's a girl to do?

Ohhh, this was a fun, light, quirky, engaging, delightful and rewarding read. I found this book to be well written, well thought out and perfectly paced. Often, I think a book needs to have pages edited out, this book I wished was longer. I wanted more of Nina, Tom, and her interesting new family members. This is the type of book to curl up in your favorite reading spot, and completely absorb yourself in.

** This was a Traveling Sisters/Friends group read!!!

Thank you to Berkley Publishing and Edelweiss who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for emma.
1,867 reviews54.4k followers
September 13, 2019
The best part of this book is: the bookish stuff.

The worst part of this book is: a tie between everything else.

I know that making protagonists bookworms and setting books in bookstores et cetera is a major marketing ploy, but I don’t care. If every book I read was about characters who loved to read in places to devoted to books, I’d be fine with that. More than fine. Overjoyed, even.

But alas, it is not to be.

Romantic comedies always sound really good to me, because I like comedy and I read a lot of romance, even if I very rarely like it. But in execution, usually I find them both not funny and not distinctly romantic.

So like every other book, basically.

This kind of wasn’t an exception? This book was bookish, and, perhaps because of that, pretty charming. But it wasn’t very funny, and I definitely wasn’t rooting for the romance. I was hardly even paying attention to the characters.

Mostly waiting for more bookstore descriptions. Or cute apartment descriptions. Specifically of the bookshelf-centered variety.

I might have a problem.

Bottom line: I recommend! Not with all that much enthusiasm though. It’s important for me that I note that.

3.5 stars


me: okay, i need a book that will help me pretend i'm not on a greyhound bus for seven hours

this book: i'm a quirky romantic comedy

me: ...

this book: the protagonist is a bookworm.

me: i'm in.

(thanks to Berkley for the arc)
Profile Image for Tucker  (TuckerTheReader).
908 reviews1,624 followers
May 23, 2020

Many thanks to Elisha at Berkely for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

Thank you, Abbi Waxman for all the goodies!!!!!!

”Tomorrow would be better. At the very least, tomorrow would be different.”

(note: I read this a couple weeks ago and I just started school so my brain is all over the place and I can’t guarantee that this review will have any worthwhile content.) There is nothing more fun than reading a book about a book lover. It’s both enjoyable and a bit strange. It almost feels like looking into a mirror. Seeing your own reflection is both a pleasant and harrowing experience.

So, what’s this book about?
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill follows… Nina Hill.
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Nina is like everyone else on this site. Anxious, awkward and smart. Now, there are two types of people reading this review. 1. Those who are thinking OMG, that’s totally me! and 2. Liars. I don’t know why social anxiety and bookishness tend to go together- (I’m sure there is some sort of science behind that. If not, someone should totally do a study on that. Maybe that can be my senior thesis.) -but here we are. Nina is happy in her safe and controlled home but when she her father that she didn’t know about dies and bequeaths to her an enormous family, she has to learn to step outside of her comfort zone.

Nina - Book lovers and worries rejoice! Abbi Waxman has created and nurtured a character that everyone who comes into contact with will love! Nina Hill loves books and works in a bookstore (Because of course). She is also socially anxious, which was honestly my favorite parts. I mean, I’m not happy that she’s anxious but I am eternally grateful for the anxiety rep. We don’t see them as much as we should.

Tom - Surprisingly, Tom didn’t make it onto my fictional crushes list. Not to say that he was unpleasant or anything; he was charming and funny but my brain just didn’t click with him. How strange.

Minor spoiler ➵ While we’re on the note of Tom and Nina, I was honestly kind of more than kind of disappointed at the lack of smut and sex. I know that’s not what this book was about at all. I am also going to go out on a limb here and assume that sex scenes are not Abbi’s forte. I get it. I was just disappointed. Oh, well! ➵ End of minor spoiler

I, as most people did, absolutely adored all the bookish and non-bookish pop culture! It filled me with so much joy! One thing I wished this book (and really all books about books) would do is talk about more recent titles. I feel like most of the titles discussed were classics like The Hunger Games or Jane Eyre. Not that I have a problem with those books, I’d just love to see newer titles like The Hate U Give or Caraval.

But, surprisingly, the books were not the best part of this novel. It was actually Nina’s family. I really enjoyed her meeting her new found family and I absolutely loved everyone. Well, almost everyone. They honestly reminded me of my own extended family. Messy, slightly insane and very, VERY big.

Overall, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill will bring joy to every reader, bookish, anxious or not. You’ll be smiling from page one and on!

Bottom Line:
4.5 Stars
Age Rating: [ PG-13 ]
Content Screening (Spoilers) - Educational Value (2/5) - [Learning how to create family trees in a correct manner] ~ Positive Messages (4/5) - [Tons of valuable discussion of social anxiety, OCD and perfectionism. There is also lots of discussion of honesty, family and love.] ~ Violence (1/5) - [Brief rioting scene. No one is severely injured.] ~ Sex (1/5) - [Brief kissing scenes and off page sexual intercourse.] ~ Language (1/5) - [Brief and mild cursing] ~ Drinking/Drugs (0/5) - [None]
Trigger Warning: [Anxiety, OCD]
Reps: [Anxiety, OCD]
Cover: 5/5 ~ Characters: 4/5 ~ Plot: 4/5 ~ Audio: 3/5
Publication Date: July 9th, 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Romance/Contemporary
Me starting this book:

Me every time Nina talked about books, anxiety and pop culture:

Me shipping Tom and Nina:

Me at every funny scene:

Me when I realized I had finished this (splendid) book in 2 hours and it was over:

Review to come y'all

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Profile Image for Jayme.
1,189 reviews2,255 followers
May 11, 2022
Dear Nina,

I hate to tell you this Nina! But we could be related too!!

I much prefer to spend my time reading, with my cat, Emma, than to make “chit chat” with people! And, like your cat, Phil...she prefers not to share me!

If you sell the “Today is the Day” planner, in your bookstore, Could you mail me one? Oh, and the fluffy socks that you can pre-heat in the microwave too, PLEASE!! 🧦

What bookworm wouldn’t love a book that starts with a page from a planner that schedules time in the day to “finish Oliphant” and buy cat food? 😻 (And, then starts each subsequent chapter with a page from said planner)

We all understand that “nothing” scheduled REALLY means reading time!! 📚🤓

I did not think there was anything wrong with your life at all! As one fellow bookworm to another, it seemed pretty PURRfect...

But, I’m sure we all smiled, and giggled at how DIFFERENT your planner looked for the day Sunday, May 19th! 💋

Yes, Nina...those of us who love quiet, and being alone, can understand how stressful it would be to suddenly discover that you have just inherited a new, large family....and, perhaps a new boyfriend too!!

But, I know I am not alone when I say, that we all enjoyed rooting for you!

Love Jayme 💝
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,182 reviews30.5k followers
July 10, 2019
What a charming book about books! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ I’m so happy authors are bringing us these types of reads, and Abbi Waxman has done an exceptional job with Nina’s story!

Nina has it all in her mind- a job at bookstore (I’d love that!), a winning trivia team (I love trivia!), the best planner (I’ve got multiple planners! 😂), and a treasured cat (I have three!). Oh, and did I mention Nina loves to read? So much so, it’s her only pastime.

Nina’s father, who she has never met, dies and leaves her with previously unknown relatives out the yin-yang, all living near her, and they want to be part of her life, which quickly overwhelms her. Nina was perfectly content with her quiet reading life before.

Nina’s going to have to grow, and we are on the sidelines watching her transformation. There may even be love in her near future.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is a delightful read. It’s funny, at times relatable as only bookish people would “get,” and it’s smoothly written. There’s so much to love about Nina and infinitely more to love about this story. It’s definitely a huggable, feel-good read, for when you need your spirits lifted. A huge thanks to Abbi Waxman for this endearing character and story.

I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

My reviews can also be found on my blog:
Profile Image for BernLuvsBooks .
828 reviews4,706 followers
July 18, 2019
5 Embrace Your Bookish Life stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️!

Abbi Waxman you have left me absolutely smitten! 💖 This story has sassy wit, laugh out loud humor and so much heart. Not only did I unabashedly adore Nina and wholeheartedly fall in love with Tom (he definitely made it onto my Top 3 Book Boyfriends List) but I was also completely enamored with the book's entire cast of zany and unique characters. This bookish girl read the entire book with a smile on my face. Each book nerdism, pop culture reference and mention of an introvert's view on life was so relatable!

As Nina's quiet, organized life is upset by the possibility of love, new family and work issues we watch her grow and adapt to the changes in her life in such a hopeful manner that it left me feeling so content. Book lovers this is a "must read" - you will recognize yourself in the characters, delight in the book and pop culture references, laugh with the wit and humor of the characters and fall in love with the budding romance. Nina Hill - I LOVED your bookish life! 🥰
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,168 reviews37.3k followers
August 5, 2019
4 Fabulous Stars.

A Novel for the Book Lover in All of Us!

Yes, it’s true, I loved Nina Hill. Perhaps it’s because I identified with her so much (no shock there!). Truthfully, I think most of us who like to read will (Hello, fellow book friends). I am single, I live alone and I spend almost every evening sitting in a comfy chair reading with my cat beside me. I see friends occasionally but not all that often. I am not a planner at all (although my book buddy Kaceey would beg to differ ... BAAHH!!!) How does any of this compare to Nina, you ask? Let’s take a look see..

Nina Hill is a gal who works in a book shop (Hello dream job!.. If only I could survive on that salary I would actually BE Nina Hill! Ha ha ha!!). She lives alone and spends her nights reading while her cat keeps her company. She plans her days and nights out each week in a daily planner - one night it’s trivia, one night it’s movie night.. you get the idea. Her books, her cat and her friends are her life. Yeah, that sounds kinda familiar.

Her dad, who she has never met, just recently passed away and as it turns out, he left her something in his will. The big shock however is that he had lots of kids - meaning, that Nina has siblings, nieces and nephews and all of them live right around the corner from her. Nina was fine before. Comfortable being alone, in fact. Happy even and now, she has family and lots of it. Turns out it's not so bad, this whole family thing. Who knew?

Throughout “The Bookish Life of Nina Hill,” Nina simply blossoms. She opens herself up to life and it’s possibilities and of course, you can’t help but laugh and smile at Nina and her friends and their antics and where life takes them. What can I say except that this is a feel good book, especially for gals just like me.

This was a buddy read with Kaceey. As always, the pleasure was all mine.

Thank you to Elisha at Berkley Publishing Group and Abbi Waxman for an arc of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Published on Goodreads and Twitter on 8.4.19.
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,126 reviews3,711 followers
August 4, 2019
Cute! Cute! Cute! And a tasty dash of fun!

Nina feels life is just how it should be. Organized, clutter free and filled with everything she enjoys! She works at a bookshop, plays trivia on a team with her friends. And comes home to her faithful cat Phil who brings her presents in the form of dead worms!(Ick!!)

When a lawyer comes knocking on her door to tell her that her father has passed and she is in his will, Nina is stunned! She never knew her father! Not even his name! It was a secret her mother always kept from her. Nina all of a sudden finds herself part of a very large family. With some more welcoming than others.

Does Nina have room for all of them in her already perfectly organized life? And what about the cute guy on the other trivia team? Does love fit into her calendar too?

“It takes a lot to join a family that’s broken, but sometimes it turns out you’re exactly the glue it needs.”

Abbi Waxman writes a very sweet and delightful read that will pull at your heart and leave you with a smile on your face!

Another fabulous Rom Com weekend- buddy read with Susanne!🌸

Thank you to a Elisha at Berkley Publishing for an ARC to read and review.
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,509 reviews29.5k followers
July 21, 2019
4.5 stars.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me or follows me on any of my social media feeds that reading is one of the most immense joys of my life. Whenever I am asked by someone how I read so many books, I explain in part that reading helps me decompress—days when I don't get the chance to read even for a few moments leave me feeling out-of-sorts and much more tense.

Perhaps that love for reading is one of the many reasons I was utterly charmed by Nina Hill, the title character of Abbi Waxman's wonderful, thought-provoking new novel, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill . At times the book—and Nina herself—are almost too quirky for words, but her story captured my heart from the first few sentences, and I don't think it will leave me anytime soon.

"Nina had looked around and realized she would never run out of things to read, and that certainty filled her with peace and satisfaction. It didn't matter what hit the fan; as long as there were unread books in the world, she would be fine. Being surrounded by books was the closest she'd ever gotten to feeling like the member of a gang. The books had her back, and the nonfiction, at least, was ready to fight if necessary."

Nina lives a life that leaves her content. She loves her job in a bookstore, she enjoys competing on her tremendously successful trivia team (even though they keep getting banned from different bars), and she keeps her life meticulously planned, even though she's happy to make any excuse to miss yoga and just read instead. Her life may be reasonably solitary, and she may have trouble at times dealing with anxiety (which has plagued her since she was a child), but even when she wonders if there is more she should want from life, she just picks up another book.

The only child of a single mother who left the nanny to raise her, Nina learns one day that the father she never knew existed (beyond the fact that she wasn't immaculately conceived) knew she existed, and has recently died, leaving her a beneficiary in his will. Beyond that, however, she suddenly finds that she has brothers and sisters of all ages (her father was married three times), not to mention nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews (some of whom are actually older than she is). Most of them are thrilled to discover a new relative, and Nina is shocked to find how much she enjoys being part of a family.

Nina is also a little thrown when she realizes she has feelings for Tom, a member of her trivia team's fiercest rival. He's handsome, seems to have a terrific personality, and he knows a lot about sports, which is a subject she's woefully weak on. To top it off, Tom is interested in getting to know her better. But Nina isn't sure she has room in her life for a relationship, what with her job, her new family, and the time she sets aside for reading every day. Plus, the more she realizes how strongly she feels for him, the more afraid she gets, which doesn't feel good at all.

When a crisis arises that threatens the job she loves and frictions in her newfound family intensify, Nina wants to do what she's always done in the face of trouble: retreat into solitude. She isn't sure if she is able to open her life up to Tom the way he wants her to, and she's not even sure she's ready for the myriad challenges that family can bring.

Can we change the habits that bring us comfort and security if it means opening our lives up to someone else? How do we allow ourselves to trust someone else when we've always been independent and self-reliant? And, more importantly, can a voracious reader truly find happiness with someone who barely reads?

There's so much to enjoy about The Bookish Life of Nina Hill . Nina is definitely a unique character who is sometimes difficult to sympathize with, but how can a bookworm like me not love someone like her? This is a story about connection, about opening yourself up to trust and care about others, about family and friendship and finding community, and about a healthy obsession with trivia. But of course, it's also a book about the immense joy of books and reading, and the wonderful feeling of sharing that joy with others.

"It was the same way with everything Nina experienced; fictional characters were as real to her as the people she met and touched every day."

I found this book so wonderful, and even if I was occasionally irritated by the quirkiness of it all, Waxman's humor, her heart, and the beautiful characters she created snapped me back to reality pretty quickly. This definitely goes on my list of memorable books about reading and bookstores, and I know it's one I won't forget anytime soon.

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Profile Image for Toni.
515 reviews
August 1, 2019
The part of the review in which we meet Nina Lee Hill and discuss her personality
Nina Hill’s life is perfect:
-She has a job in an old bookstore in the middle of a quaint part of Los Angeles
-lives in a lovely apartment with a slightly judgemental cat Philip
-her marvellous friends with freakishly good memories help her rock the competitive trivia quiz world
-her wonderfully direct photographer mother is on a working assignment somewhere in China
-thousands and thousands of books with their marvellous fictional world are waiting to be discovered and read

Nina is quiet, reserved, observant- after all, human interactions can be fascinating, it’s just not something she finds easy to engage in. Take mystery buffs, they are so different from other types of readers- eternally optimistic, they believe in the triumph of good over evil and in their own form of happy ever after.

You might describe Nina as an introvert. In her own words, being alone helps her replenish energy she loses interacting with others and ‘little islands of silence’ help her navigate ‘the long-distance swim’ of life.

Another thing that Nina enjoys is planning, setting goals, organising. How else would she be able to fit in all her Book Clubs (Book Bitches for Contemporary fiction, Sneaky Spinsters for golden age mysteries, District Zero for YA, and Electric Sheep Grazing Club -you guessed it!- for Sci-Fi). There’s also a lethal gym class combination of Spoga (Spin and yoga) and Nina’s competitive trivia team. Nina has always had a very active imagination and curious, ready to learn and explore mind which needed its food. If not properly fed (Thank God for school librarians), she’d go into a frenzy of anxiety and focussing on useless tidbits. Of course, anxiety is the real reason why Nina needs to plan and organise everything so obsessively.

Nina is also attentive, thoughtful, smiley, able to stand-her-ground but not-unwilling-to-recognise-and-correct-her-mistakes. She is the kind of girl anybody would be happy to have as a friend.

The part in which we meet Nina’s family, friends and other characters in the book
Nina’s mother never told her who her father was. She preferred being labelled a party girl with total disregard to her own reputation to letting Nina know that her father was a much older Hollywood lawyer with a pregnant wife. As Nina’s mother herself had to travel to war zones and other less than wholesome places to raise a child, she found a wonderful substitute in the form of Louise, Nina’s Nanny, who gave the little girl her unconditional love and support. I found extremely poignant what Louise did, faced with Nina’s longing for a father figure in her life.

When Nina gets a call from a family lawyer who informs her that her father died and that she actually has a large and unusually complicated family, her first reaction is to shut down and say ‘No, thank you, I love my life as it is’. However, she does meet her new relations and discovers her own answer to the question of how much their shared genetics contributes to their extraordinary range of personalities and quirks. Everybody remembers her father differently and Nina herself might be the only person able to piece the true portrait of this mysterious man.

Nina is surrounded by people who love and care about her: her trivia team mates, her boss and her colleagues, kids from her book clubs (‘You have to work on your banter, sis!’), her half-siblings, nephews and nieces, and of course, Tom, who has a wonderfully complementary personalityto Nina’s. With great difficulty I am trying to restrain myself and not give away either Tom’s job, or Nina’s response to the final question of the quiz championship final. Suffice it to say, they are both super romantic and will make you go ‘Aah’.

The part in which we look at a photo of the place where the book is set

Los Angeles of Nina Hill is a wonderful place full of unexpected treasures and quiet green neighbourhoods tucked in between touristy corners. One of Nina’s hobbies is photography, so we get a rare privilege to see Los Angeles the way she does. ‘I grew up here. Traffic is the rumble of the ocean to me’.

The part in which the reviewer finally gives in and professes her ardent feelings towards the book
I fell in love with this book from the first pages, it took me just a few chapters to recognise how irresistibly drawn I was to Nina’s humour and bookish references. The hours I spent in the company of Nina Hill filled me with joy and quiet happiness that only a well-written fictional world can bring. Nina’s journey to discovering her real purpose in life (we knew it all along, but she didn’t) was fun and touching and full of laugh-out-loud moments.

To tell the truth, if you haven’t read the book, I envy you a bit, you’re about to discover something wonderful.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Berkley for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.

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Image of Larchmont Boulevard By Arspickles17, CC BY-SA 3.0,
April 15, 2021
This is the perfect book for all us bookworms out there who love anything bookish and like our main character would rather read over anything else. We highly recommend grabbing this one as soon as you can and spending some time with our fun, imaginative and very entertaining bookish introverted millennial heroine Nina Hill!

Abbi Waxman nails it here with everything about this story and our main character Nina Hill. I loved everything about this story and Nina. Nina is a character that I am sure any bookworm can relate to and she has all the traits that make up the DNA of us book lovers. I have never related so much to a character before and I instantly connected to her.

Abbi Waxman does such a fantastic job here using wit and humor yet care as she explores love and the dynamics between family, friends and the love of reading in such a unique way. She creates fun, colourful and likable characters that bring some chaos and anxiety to Nina’s quiet and organized life. We see how Nina grows and adapts to the changes that life throws at her in such a hopeful and feel good way that outshines anything I have read before.

I could go on and on about all the things I loved about this story but will end my review by saying Abbi Waxman has set the bar here for me by creating such a compelling, introvert, giving her conflicts, adding layers of depth to her and then letting her grow. I can’t recommend it enough!

I received a copy from the publisher
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,605 reviews5,986 followers
March 27, 2019
Nina works at a bookstore and she has a full schedule of reading, taking care of her cat and work. She really is happy doing just those things.

Nina resisted the impulse to pull out her imaginary blaster and blow the woman's head off, and got a microflash of the bit in Terminator 2 where his silvery head splits in the middle and waves about. Liz was always telling her to be warmer to the customers.

An introvert and pop culture references....yes, please. *forwarned that I'm breaking the rules and posting some quotes from this one because I do as I please*

Anyways, as I was rambling about. Nina loves her life. She evens gets out occasionally to do a team competition of quiz nights. That's exciting. Plus, there is a cute guy there.

Then Nina gets a visit at work and finds out that she does in fact have a dad. (Her mom had always said she didn't.) He is dead but still.
Nina had grown up thinking she had just her nanny and her absentee she finds out she has lots and lots of relatives.
Nina had a lot of sympathy for Bruce Banner, particularly the version played by Mark Ruffalo, and at least she had Xanax. He only had Thor.

So now she must wade into the whole "having a family" thing.

Being surrounded by books was the closest she'd ever gotten to feeling like the member of a gang. The books had her back, and the nonfiction, at least, was ready to fight if necessary.

This book is just pure fun. I LOVED Nina. I related to her book nerdiness and it's fun and fluffy. So much goodness.
"Reading isn't the only thing in the world, Nina."
"It's one of the only five perfect things in the world."
"And the other four are?"
"Cats, dogs, Honeycrisp apples and coffee."

Booksource: Netgalley in exchange for review.
Profile Image for Christy.
3,913 reviews33k followers
May 22, 2019
4 stars

 photo 618AE579-B144-484E-9ACA-25C6FB7B2C04_zpsepzoism3.png

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is a story I think all bookworms can relate to in some form or another. I really enjoyed the story, Nina's character, the family dynamic, and I am 100% obsessed with this amazing cover!

Nina is in her late 20's and is a self proclaimed bookworm. She has a calendar filled up with things like trivia dates and 'free time' ie- reading and works at a book store. She's introverted and is happiest when around books. When Nina finds out her father, who she never knew, passed away and left her something, shes's shocked. She's also shocked when she finds out he comes from a huge family and she has a brother, sisters, nephews, and nieces. It was always just Nina and her mom (more like Nina and her beloved nanny) and she doesn't know how to feel about all this.

Among everything going on in the family, the bookstore she works at is having trouble financially and one of her trivia rivals who she's been interested in for the longest time asks her out. There is a lot on Nina's plate and she feels extremely overwhelmed. I loved Nina and Tom's relationship and rooted for them. I also liked watching Nina interact with this new family she was a part of and seeing how she fit in with them.

Even though Nina is near 30, this is very much a story about self discovery. Watching Nina grow and come into her own was a wonderful thing. This book is part romance, part chick lit, and part cont. fiction. I truly enjoyed it and recommend it to everyone who wants to read about someone who loves books as much as they do!!
“I want to be with you the way you are, the way you’re going to be, and the way you end up. Every way you are is beautiful to me.”
Profile Image for Tina Loves To Read.
2,529 reviews1 follower
July 7, 2022
This is a women's fiction. I have been wanting to read this book since the first time I hear about it. I am so enjoy I finally picked it up because I loved it so much. I loved Nina's character. After Nina father dies his family finds her and she went from no family to a lot of family. I loved the book store. I loved her new family. I loved everything about this book. I could not put it down.

Re-Read this book in June 2021

I have to say the beginning is slow to get going, but once the book got going it was so good. I love how this book shows Nina's Anxiety, but I do also think Nina had more going on then just Anxiety. I can say this will not be the book for everyone. I love books that has awkward characters, mental health issues, and books with bookish character, so this was all of that in one book. I loved the storyline, but I do feel the pacing in this book was off at parts (sometimes to slow and sometimes to fast). The pacing did not that away to much for my reading because I loved the characters so much. I really loved the ending, and I loved seeing Nina coming out of her shell.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews598 followers
August 23, 2019
Library overdrive ...
Audiobook... read by Emily Rankin...
...ebook alternating.

This is the second time I’ve read a book by Abbi Waxman.
I was quite harsh in my review of ‘The Garden of Small Beginnings’, but it honestly matched how I felt about it. I gave it a 1.5 rating and explained my reasons.

I could almost write the same exact review again.
It would be easy to
nit-pick sentence after sentence...
but rather than waste my own time - or anyone else’s - time with my emotions - my annoyance - explaining or justifying my dislike of Waxman’s storytelling- I’ll just move on.

1.5 rating!

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