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Welcome to “C.A. Hughes Book Reviews!”

Join me (a 20-something, bilingual, elementary school teacher) on my quest to tackle my ever-growing TBR pile and to search for stories with diverse representation that will broaden my horizons. Look below to learn more about my 2020 reading goals, the criteria I use to review what I read, and check out the “Blog” page to find my latest blog post documenting what I’ve been reading!

2020 Reading Goals and Review Criteria:

2020 Goals and Progress:
  • Read 72 books:
    • 69/72
  • Read (at least) 1 classic novel:
    • 1/1
  • Read more sci-fi:
    • 8
  • Read (at least) one book in Spanish:
    • 5/1
Currently Reading:
  • Cloud Atlas
  • Dracula
Most Recently Enjoyed:
  • The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
Review Criteria:

When I review the books that I finish, this is how I will structure the information and insights that I share:

  • Title:
  • Author:
  • Year of Publication:
  • Genre:
  • Summary:
  • Format: How did I read the book? (Paperback, audiobook, etc.)
  • Themes: What were the important takeaways from the story? What messages will stick with me?
  • Character Development: How did the characters grow and change throughout the story?
  • Plot/Pacing: Did the story hold my attention the whole time? Was it predictable?
  • Writing Style: Was there anything unique or especially engaging about the writing style or literary devices used?
  • “Bingeability”: How hard was it to put down? *Note: this criteria is not necessarily a reflection of quality, but an important characteristic to note nevertheless when describing the reading experience.
  • Emotional Investment: How connected did I feel to the story? To the characters?
  • Windows and Mirrors: This criteria assesses the diversity of representation (of people or experiences) in a book and is totally subjective. Was it a window into someone else’s experience or a reflection (mirror) of my own?
  • Overall Thoughts: My general thoughts on the book.
  • Recommendation: If I recommend the book and for whom I recommend it. For children’s books, if I recommend them for children and/or classroom use.

Latest from the Blog

Top 5 Saturday: Books with an Animal on the Cover

Welcome to my first Top 5 Saturday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by Devouring Books, and this week’s challenge is about books with an animal on the cover.

In order to make my list, I first made a different list of all the books I’ve read and liked that have animals on the cover. And then I narrowed it down to my top five based on how much I like the story as well as the cover. Here’s my list…

Book Review: “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” by Claire North

One of my reading goals this year has been to read more science fiction because it’s not a genre I normally gravitate toward. The premise of “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” sounded really intriguing, so I was excited to finally be able to download this one on Audible. However, if anything, my experience reading this book only reinforced why I don’t normally read sci-fi… It wasn’t bad by any means, but it wasn’t great either.

Spoiler-Free Review: “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” tells the story of Harry, a man who never really dies, but continues to relive his life over and over again. It’s kind of like “Groundhog Day,” but

Book Review: “A Whole New Ballgame: A Rip and Red Book” by Phil Bildner

Over the summer, I made it my goal to read every book of which I have a novel set in my classroom. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to use them this year (it’s looking like I won’t since I don’t currently teach students in-person), but I figured if I could read each one and document my thoughts on them then I would be better prepared to lead book clubs (sometimes called literature circles) when the opportunity arose. I managed to read through most of them early this summer, but I kept putting this one off. It seemed very sports-centric and I was initially put off by this. It didn’t seem like anything that would interest me, so I was a little apprehensive about starting it. However, I could not have been more wrong. This book ended up being one of my favorites of all of the novel sets I have in my classroom. It did feature sports, but in a way that tied in to all of the other storylines and themes and made it feel worthwhile. With a diverse cast of characters and so much heart, this is easily one of the best children’s books I’ve read this year.

Spoiler-Free Review: “A Whole New Ballgame: A Rip and Red Book” is a story about a fifth grade year full of changes, surprises, and growth…

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