Top 5 Saturday: April Acrostic

Welcome to Top 5 Saturday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by Devouring Books, and for this week’s challenge I’m using book titles to create an April acrostic poem!

This week’s prompt was originally about books with blood on the cover, but I couldn’t really think of any for that. However, April does have five letters, so I figured an acrostic poem would make a good prompt! The books I’m picking have nothing to do with April or spring or anything, I picked them solely based on the first letter of their titles (and also if I enjoyed them enough to flaunt them on here)! Without further ado, here are my top five books that make up an April acrostic poem:

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I’d Gladly Throw in the Ocean

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

Normally for these posts I focus on either books I’ve read and enjoyed or books that I’m still looking forward to reading. However, for this post I got to think back on books that I haven’t enjoyed so much. To be fair, even with books I don’t enjoy, I would never go as far to destroy any of them (or in this case, throw them in the ocean). Normally I would just donate them, but I have to say it was fun to reminisce and remember those books that made me feel… strong feelings. Without further ado, here are my top ten books that I’d gladly throw in the ocean!

Book Review: “Peak” by Roland Smith

What’s the most random job you’ve ever had?

One of the most random jobs I’ve had is working as a belayer at children’s parties. A belayer is someone who is there for safety while another person is rock-climbing; the rope runs through their belay device and they make sure everything is secure and safe for the person up in the air. I’m terribly afraid of heights and don’t enjoy rock climbing myself, so this was definitely a strange job for me to have. That being said, I think it’s fascinating to learn about people who do it professionally! And I wish I weren’t so afraid of it.

While mountaineering and rock climbing certainly aren’t the same thing, there are definitely some similarities. I was worried when I started reading Peak that I wouldn’t have too much interest in it. I’m afraid of heights, don’t have much knowledge of climbing of any kind, and don’t typically read books of the adventure genre. However, this book was such a pleasant surprise! I learned so much about mountaineering, and found the story really uplifting as well.

Spoiler-Free Review: “Peak” is an adventurous middle grade novel about a young boy named Peak who joins his father in an attempt to…

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…