Top 5 Saturday: Books with Diverse Characters

Welcome to Top 5 Saturday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by Devouring Books, and this week’s challenge focuses on books with diverse characters.

It was really hard to narrow it down for this one! I love reading books with a diverse cast of characters, and I’m especially particular about this when choosing books to use in my classroom. Therefore, this is going to be kind of an eclectic list of books! I tried to include a broad selection of books that ranges from middle grade, to young adult, to contemporary fiction. Without further ado, here are my top five books with diverse characters (in no particular order)…

March Wrap-Up

Happy April everyone!

Did March feel really long to anyone else?

I’m experiencing some big changes in my job, and I think the stress just felt never-ending this month. But oh well! It’s a new month full of new opportunities and new books! Change is always scary but I’m hopeful it’ll lead to some positive things.

Unfortunately March wasn’t my greatest month of reading. My stress led to more TV and videogame time than usual, and there were even two books I DNF (did not finish), which literally never do. I hate giving up on a book before finishing it, but I realized that I deserve to read books I enjoy, and it’s not worth it to spend time reading something that I dread (or end up not reading at all because I dread it that much).

I think part of the reason I wasn’t super thrilled with my March picks was that I chose to focus on middle grade books this month. I took many books home from my classroom to read during quarantine, and I want to be able to read and return them to my classroom before the end of the school year. While I love middle grade books, I tend to get a little restless when I read too many in a row.

I’m excited for my April reads though! I’m planning on reading the next book in the Uglies series (which comes out in less than a week) and I’m also hoping to read The Glass Castle. Other than that, I plan on just reading whatever I’m in the mood for!

Without further ado, here is my wrap-up of all the books I read in March:

Top 10 Tuesday: Places in Books I’d Love to Visit

Welcome to Top 10 Tuesday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and this week’s challenge is about places in books I’d love to visit!

It was initially places I’d love to live, but I changed it to visit because, well, I’m a homebody and I don’t really want to move anywhere far away (not permanently at least). It was so difficult to choose for this one! There are so many book settings I’d love to visit for a short amount of time, and it was fun to reminisce on all of the great places books have helped me travel to. Without further ado, here are my top ten choices for places in books I’d love to visit (in no particular order)!

Book Review: “Friday Black” by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Spring Break is coming to an end, as is March! While this month didn’t feel as long as January, it certainly has felt pretty long. I didn’t manage to read as much as I wanted to, but that’s ok! I’m just glad that during my break I managed to make time for self-care in other ways, and that I really enjoyed what I did manage to read!

I’m actually still catching up on my reviews for the books I read in February, and Friday Black was certainly a stand-out read from last month! I don’t often read collections of short stories, but I’m so glad I took a leap out of my comfort zone for this one. I discovered this book through going to my city’s book festival in fall of 2018. I picked this particular book talk because it featured Luis Alberto Urrea, one of my favorite authors! Adjei-Brenyah was another novelist featured in this panel, and it was so wonderful listening to him speak. And his book sounded incredible! My now-husband and I immediately purchased his book after, and then stood in line to meet him and get it signed. He is such a kind man and talented writer.

While it may not be a book for everybody, it is definitely a powerful and well-crafted collection of short stories. It is very dark and violent at times, but the commentary contained in this speculative fiction is well worth the discomfort caused by some of the darker, bloodier stories. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Spoiler-Free Review: “Friday Black” is a powerful collection of speculative fiction short stories. These short stories explore everything from…

Top 5 Saturday: Books for Foodies

Welcome to Top 5 Saturday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by Devouring Books, and this week’s challenge focuses on books with a desert setting (which I changed to books for foodies!).

I really couldn’t think of many books with a desert setting, but I figured the word “desert” is similar to “dessert.” This then got me thinking about books that feature food in some way, so I ended up choosing five books that feature food or dessert! In no particular order, here are my top five books for foodies!

Top 10 Tuesday: Memorable Book Titles

Welcome to Top 10 Tuesday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and this week’s challenge is about funny book titles!

So, you may have noticed that I modified this week’s prompt just a little bit. I really couldn’t think of any funny book titles that I’ve read or that are on my TBR! However, I’ve read many books with titles that are intriguing and memorable. Books that, although I’ve maybe long forgotten the plot, the titles have stayed with me. Maybe they include a play on words, maybe they evoke some sort of imagery, or maybe they’re just quirky and clever in some way. Regardless of the reason, these are my top ten most memorable book titles (in no particular order)!

Book Review: “Dust Tracks on a Road” by Zora Neale Hurston

It’s finally Spring Break! Over the last couple weeks, it’s been hard not to think about where I was at during this time last year. We had just begun our abrupt transition to online learning. It was scary, confusing, overwhelming, and so stressful. I had a hard time sleeping at all over the break. This year, while the overall state of things is much better, there are still so many unknowns and changes that it makes it hard not to be anxious. However, I’m trying my best to take things one step at a time and enjoy my break because I deserve to rest and take care of myself!

I’m really looking forward to reading as much as I can over the next week! And I have to say, I’ve thoroughly been enjoying the increased amount of nonfiction I’ve read so far this year. I made a goal to read more since I don’t often choose to pick up nonfiction books, and I’m so grateful that I made this my goal for this year. I already feel like I’ve learned and grown so much.

My most recent nonfiction pick was “Dust Tracks on a Road,” which is the autobiography of Zora Neale Hurston. What an incredible and inspiring woman! This book left me feeling like I wanted to learn even more about her life, and also wanting to read more of her work (other than just “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” which is one of my all-time favorite books). I will say, I think I’ve discovered that I prefer memoirs to autobiographies, but this was still a wonderful read that I would highly recommend!

Spoiler-Free Review: “Dust Tracks on a Road” is the powerful and inspiring autobiography of Zora Neale Hurston. Hurston lived…

Top 5 Saturday: Love Triangles

Welcome to Top 5 Saturday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by Devouring Books, and this week’s challenge focuses on literary love triangles.

I was surprised that I struggled with this one! I read quite a bit of young adult fiction, and the love triangle is a pretty common romantic trope in these books. However, after listing a few of my favorite ones from when I was a teenager, I kind of drew a blank! I did manage to come up with a list of five, though. It may not be my favorite trope, but they are fun to read occasionally! In no particular order, here are my top five!

Top 10 Tuesday: (Audio)books on my Spring 2021 TBR

Welcome to Top 10 Tuesday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and this week’s challenge is about books on my spring 2021 TBR!

As dorky as it sounds, one of my favorite things to do when I’m bored is stare dreamily at my bookshelves and think about when I can read all of the books on my shelves. You’d think this time would be better spent actually reading said books (and you’d be right), but oh well! I just can’t help myself. That being said, I don’t set a specific TBR list for myself. Within each genre on my shelves, I have certain books that are a higher priority than others. But still, I keep that in mind when picking my next book to read, but in the end decide to read whatever I’m in the mood for. At first, I wasn’t sure how to approach this prompt because of this. I was thinking about just listing my “top priority” book for each genre, even though I definitely won’t get to all of those in spring (maybe not even in 2021).

However, then I remembered that I do follow a more structured TBR for my audiobooks! For the most part, I just go in the order in which I purchased them (with exceptions here and there). This year, I’ve been doing this, but while also following a set pattern to help me reach my reading goals for 2021. Basically, I go to the “bottom” of my library (I scroll down to the oldest, not-yet-downloaded book), start there and then work my way up in this order: fiction, nonfiction, classic, repeat. Therefore, I have a pretty predictable line-up for my spring 2021 audiobooks. I certainly won’t follow this exactly, especially with Spring Break coming up. I typically listen to audiobooks while I get ready for work and sometimes when I do chores, so over Spring Break I might choose some other, shorter audiobooks to focus on instead simply because I’ll have less time to listen to them. We shall see! But for now, here are my top 10 audiobooks on my spring 2021 TBR!

Book Review: “The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food” by Marcus Samuelsson

Happy Sunday everyone! One thing I’ve been trying to do more during quarantine is cook. It’s not something I’ve every really been super comfortable with, but I think that mostly comes from just not doing it enough! So, during quarantine, my husband and I have been trying to cook at home more often and get more comfortable in the kitchen.

Another reason I’m so glad to start cooking more is because I LOVE cookbooks. I love them and I can’t help but buy them because they’re always so beautiful and have so many pictures of delicious food. However, I’ve always felt kind of guilty collecting cookbooks when I don’t actually…cook.

I also can’t say that I’ve ever read a cookbook from cover to cover. Until now! In February, I read “The Rise” by Marcus Samuelsson. I had flipped through it and been somewhat intimidated by the recipes, but I also noticed how much great information it had about black chefs and other culinary figures. So, I thought this would be a great opportunity to learn more about black history from a culinary perspective! Which is something I knew very little about before now. I learned SO much from reading this book, and I’m so excited to continue finding resources to learn more!

Spoiler-Free Review: “The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food” is a cookbook that chronicles black food, chefs, and other culinary figures throughout history and in today’s world. It shows…