What word would you use to describe your last 5-star read?
For today’s Top Ten Tuesday, I’ll be giving one-word reviews for the last 10 books I read. To shake things up, these reviews will be for books I gave five stars to.
While writing this post, I thought it was interesting to see which books I’d given a five-star rating to. Some were easier to review in one word than others, so I had fun rereading the original review I’d written to help find the right word that would best describe my thoughts on each book.
Here are my One-Word Reviews for the Last Ten Books I Read:
CUTE – Falling Short by Ernesto Cisneros
EMPATHETIC – Dear Librarian by Lydia M. Sigwarth, Illustrated by Romina Galotta
THRILLING – That Cowboy of Mine by Donna Grant
PASSIONATE – Summer Nights with a Cowboy by Caitlin Crews
EDUCATIONAL – Wednesday Wilson Fixes All Your Problems by Bree Galbraith, Illustrated by Morgan Goble
COMPASSIONATE – Line Mates & Study Dates by Eden Finley & Saxon James
Sports! They’ve been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I played a few for many years growing up, but was never a sports fan. Sports were a way to stay active while doing something fun. They made sense when other things didn’t. I couldn’t really imagine doing anything else for fun until I fell in love with musical theater and books.
I don’t root for any team and, for me, most sports are boring to watch – I’d rather be out there playing the sport. I might watch basketball if there’s nothing else on. I almost always watch gymnastics and track and field because they aren’t on television as much as other sports. Penn Relays (a track event) is my favorite sporting event to watch. Second favorite is the summer Olympics.
These days I engage with sports through books. I love characters who are also athletes (former or active) because I can relate to them. I also love following a team’s journey to success. I find those stories inspiring. And I do adore a good sports romance novel.
Today, I thought I’d recommend some sports fiction that I love. I think the stories below are entertaining, wonderful, and relatable enough to appeal to non-sports fans and sports fans of all kinds.
Criteria was that a sport plays a major role in who the characters are or used to be and/or the main character(s) is actively engaged in a sport.
( 1 ) BALLET: Turning by Joy L. Smith
( 2 ) FIGURE SKATING: Ana on the Edge by A. J. Sass
( 3 ) VOLLEYBALL: Haikyu!! by Haruichi Furudate
( 4 ) SWIMMING: Breath Like Water by Anna Jarzab
( 5 ) KATHAK & BOLLYWOOD DANCE: Radha & Jai’s Recipe for Romance by Nisha Sharma
( 6 ) BASEBALL: Bat Boy by Christina Lee
( 7 ) AMERICAN FOOTBALL: Snapped by Alexa Martin
( 8 ) BASEBALL: The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
What’s your favorite sport to read, watch, or play and why?
Today’s Top Ten Tuesday was a freebie, so the theme of my list is a recommendation list of my favorite standalone novels. I actually made a top standalone list way back in a 2017 post – it has changed drastically!
I enjoy both standalones and series equally and read from each about the same.
I like standalones because they’re one, singular moment versus a story that spans several books. These tend to be longer but well-worth it reads. They work best when every comes full circle into a satisfying conclusion. And with standalones, you never have to worry about cliffhangers or waiting a whole year – which is like waiting forever and a day – to continue the story. It’s one and done. Perfection.
Romance novels are my preferred standalones to read, but I’m still on the lookout for more really good fantasy standalones. The latter are so hard to find – such rare gems!
I also like reading series where each book can be read as a standalone because you get to really know more characters in their own books. Sometimes you can read them out of order with a few minor spoilers. But other times it’s better and necessary to read each book in order because they are connected by an overall story arc, which is an equally awesome thrill ride.
Here are 10 five-star standalone novels I recommend:
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston Genre: LGBTQIAP+, New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Enemies to Lovers
Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune Genre: LGBTQIAP+, Contemporary Fantasy
The Green and the Gray by Timothy Zahn Genre: Science Fiction
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
The Right Side of Reckless by Whitney D. Grandison Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Own Voices, Black voices
Turning by Joy L. Smith Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Black voices
Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala Genre: LGBTQIAP+, Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
At Summer’s End by Courtney Ellis Genre: Historical Romance
A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson Genre: Historical Romance
By A Thread by Lucy Score Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance, Office Romance
The Bright and Breaking Sea by Chloe Neill (review)
Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune (review)
These are all 5 star reads from authors I adore. I highly recommend adding them to your tbr because they are amazing and dazzling and make my heart oh-so happy. There’s no picking a favorite from this list. That would be too painful to do. But I’ve linked to my blog reviews I have, so be sure to check those out if any of these titles sounds interesting.
Reading slumps are the worst and often hard to get out of. They make me feel lost and indecisive. I’ll want to read but also not want to read. Reading seems like too much or I don’t know where to start.
One thing is for certain: reading slumps are inevitable.
I find myself in a reading slump a couple times a year. It takes days, sometimes longer, to get out of one. Usually, I’ll try to find something short to read (like a graphic novel or middle grade story) or binge-read manga. Romance is also my go-to for conquering reading slumps.
For today’s Six For Sunday, I’m recommending genre/age-specific books that may help you get out of a reading slump (note: the titles below cross genres):
Fantasy: The Lightning-Struck Heart by TJ Klune
Romance:Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Science Fiction:Zodiac by Romina Russell
Historical Fiction:At Summer’s End by Courtney Ellis
Middle Grade:Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston
Fairytale/Retelling:The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
Genre: Picture Book Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Recommend to Others?: Yes
ABOUT:You’re not going to find a more heartwarming dynamic duo than Pig and Mouse! Join Pig as he learns how to turn his “what if” worries from anxiety to optimism, all with the help of his loving friend Mouse.
Mouse has never had a friend quite like Pig. Pig is so incredibly kind, fabulously fun, but he also has a big secret—he’s a tremendous worrier!
When Pig gets the brilliant idea to throw a party for Mouse and their friends, he can’t help but think of everything that could possibly go wrong. After all, what if a lion eats all the invitations? What if nobody comes? Or worse, what if everyone comes and has an awful time? In this adorable story, Linzie Hunter’s charming, bright illustrations pair perfectly with her sweet and funny story about friendship and the endless wonder of “what if” that readers of all ages can relate to. This picture book is a great conversation starter in the home or classroom.
REVIEW:What If, Pig? was absolutely magnificent! I loved this story and could relate to Pig so much.
I love how effortlessly the book demonstrates and emphasizes the idea that everyone is fighting some silent battle you know nothing about. For Pig, this is true. On the outside, Pig is kind, fun, generous, and well-liked by others. But on the inside, he worries a lot. “What ifs” plague his mind in an endless spiral.
I like how the book encourages readers to open up about whatever’s bothering them. That they’re not alone and that it’s okay to not be okay. That they are not less than because of their feelings. And I love how Pig’s friend, Mouse, helps Pig turn negative “what ifs” into positive ones to see the bigger, brighter picture.
I adore the illustrations! They’re so cute and precious and colorful. I love how the author transforms the text and expresses the story’s main idea through thoughtful images and precise word choice with each “what if” question posed.
This book felt like a warm hug. It’s the perfect addition to any personal or classroom library and a great conversation starter. Such a lovable, empathetic read!
Do you ever get an idea in your head late at night when you should be asleep but you just have to get up and write the idea down? That was me a few weeks ago.
There I was. Trying to sleep but my mind was still active. I suddenly started thinking of blog post ideas. For the next hour or so, I wrote it all down.
I love a good bookish challenge because you get to revisit past reads you loved. Acronym challenges are one of my favorites to do. This time I thought of trying to spell my name with the names of book characters. Let me tell you it was not easy because I had nine letters, two of them “I”s to find names for. Here’s what I came up with:
Cartier – The Queen’s Rising duology
Halt – Ranger’s Apprentice series
Rho Grace – Zodiac series
Isabelle de Piaget – Dreams of Lilacs by Lynn Kurland
Sebastian Michaels – Black Butler
Tiggy – Tales from Verania series
Iolanthe MacLeod – My Heart Stood Still by Lynn Kurland
Niko (Niklaren) Goldeye – Circle of Magic series
Alanna of Trebond – Song of the Lioness series
The characters mentioned above are very likable and their respective books/series were all four or five stars for me. Cartier is a passion of knowledge and an amazing love interest for the MC. Halt is a grizzly Ranger who I adore. Rho is strong-willed and will do whatever it takes to stop the Thirteenth House (previously believed as a myth) from destroying the entire Zodiac. Isabelle proves she’s more than a pretty face and wants to be seen as somebody. Sebastian is one dashing demon and “one hell of a butler.” Tiggy is the sweetest, gentlest half giant who I love so much. Iolanthe is a ghost I remember being as strong and stern. Niko is a great mage and a wise teacher. And Alanna is a force to be reckoned with who dreams of becoming a knight.
Just a little fun, bookish activity for today. What book characters’ names would you use to spell your name?
Six for Sunday is a weekly blog post by Steph @ A Little But A Lot where you share 6 books that to share to go with that Sunday’s prompt. To learn more, click here.
To have to choose only SIX of my favorite picture books is excruciating because there have been so many fantastic picture books that I’ve loved that I would pick for this prompt (and SFS’s February theme: small but mighty). What’s a book lover to do?
Here’s the list of books I came up with that are amazing and deserve a million gazillion gold stars:
I Promise is an awe-inspiring read that lays out a series of promises that allude to how kids can strive for greatness. The beautiful illustrations are so eye-catching as well!
Because I can’t help myself, here are honorable mentions and recommendations that would have also made this list of exceptional picture books:
Dragons Love Tacos
A Home Again
Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read
Our Class is a Family
When We Are Kind
Pictures are great to read even if you’re an adult. They’re light-hearted and fun, but can pack a wallop of feels through well-crafted words and stunning visuals.
There are countless more pictures I’ve yet to read that I know will be as good as the ones I’ve mentioned. I’m hoping to make a big dent in my picture book tbr this year. So far the ones I’ve read have been enjoyable.
What are some of your favorite picture books that you would recommend I read?
It’s been a while since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday. I like that we could customize today’s prompt – Books to Read If You Love/Loved X. I chose middle grade because it’s a genre I enjoy reading and one I want to make more time for. There’s always something fun to read.
So if you love Middle Grade or have been looking to venture within, maybe check out some these great titles:
Today is a freebie prompt, so I chose to do older reads that I loved and will always recommend.
Alanna: the First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
Alanna takes control over her own life by convincing her twin brother two swap places with her: she would go and become a knight and he would go to study magic. Alanna’s story is an alluring epic adventure. She easily became one of my top favorite characters of all time.
The Cry of the Icemark by Stuart Hill
A young warrior with the best (and longest) name ever becomes queen after her father falls in battle and works hard to keep her kingdom together and safe. She meets different magical and supernatural beings, which was a lot of fun. It was a cool trilogy that I really enjoyed.
Dragon and Thief by Timothy Zahn
My first foray into science fiction and it was indeed an epic adventure. I loved the way the story was told. I was hooked from the beginning. The concept is really cool. Jack (the thief) forms a symbiotic relationship with Draycos (the dragon) who takes refuge on Jack’s body – kind of like a tattoo, though can at times take a partial corporeal form. Along their space adventure, a friendship/bond forms.
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
I didn’t know this was based on a fairytale when I first read this book. It sounded interesting and I ended up devouring the rest of the books in the series – it was so good! This story was so charming and I loved the characters. I also loved the relationship that blossoms between her and her intended, even though he doesn’t know she is the real princess he is supposed to marry. The book’s a good rainy day or beach read. Quick, fun, and pleasant.
The Green and the Gray by Timothy Zahn
I read this standalone a long time ago and I remember being wowed by it. It’s one of the few books I’ve managed to reread over my long years as an avid reader. A couple whose relationship seems to be kindling out suddenly become the character of an unusual young girl. Little did they know that they would somehow become involved in a long-standing feud between two alien races: the Greens and the Gray. It’s a great sci-fi story that I would love to reread again someday.
Marked by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
I love this book and series – cringe and all. I was really into vampires and werewolves around the time I first started this series (thank you, Twilight). I just loved the world-building and the characters. I liked how the main character, Zoey, went from ordinary human to over-powered, goddess-touched, vampire priestess. There were a lot of cringy moments that were just too much. And I do think the series was 12 books too long. But House of Night will always hold a special place in my heart. Marked is the only book of the series I don’t own a physical copy of – one day!
Mister Monday by Garth Nix
I don’t remember why I decided to read this book (I read the whole series forever ago). But what I liked most about this series is that the antagonists were named after a day of the week and embody one of the seven deadly sins. Teen me thought that was a really cool idea for a fantasy story.
My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent
This along with Twilight were my first introduction to the love triangle trope. I didn’t mind it in this book. I was too interested in the fantasy elements, how the MC was a banshee whose scream signified that someone was about to die. Her boyfriend’s brother Todd was still around, dead but a reaper. I really enjoyed this series and the covers are gorgeous.
Sandry’s Book by Tamora Pierce
This is the first book in the series but I accidentally read the third book first. My world changed forever. I love all the books equally and all of the characters. I could probably talk about all this for days. This series means a lot to me.
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
I attribute my love of faeries to this book/series. It was as richly magical as it was sometimes decadently dark. I’m not one for dark fantasy – or dark anything – but this book drew me in. It’s one of my all-time favorite books. Love it!
Did you make a list for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday? What’s a book you read long ago that you absolutely loved and why?