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Bookish Memes Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: One-Word Reviews for the Last Ten Books I Read

Top Ten Tuesday blog post

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, but is now run by That Artsy Reader Girl.


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:

CUTEFalling Short by Ernesto Cisneros

EMPATHETICDear Librarian by Lydia M. Sigwarth, Illustrated by Romina Galotta

THRILLINGThat Cowboy of Mine by Donna Grant

PASSIONATESummer Nights with a Cowboy by Caitlin Crews

EDUCATIONALWednesday Wilson Fixes All Your Problems by Bree Galbraith, Illustrated by Morgan Goble

COMPASSIONATELine Mates & Study Dates by Eden Finley & Saxon James

MAGNIFICENTWhat If, Pig? by Linzie Hunter

EARNESTBet on It by Jodie Slaughter

MEMORABLETurning by Joy L. Smith

STEAMYThe Brazen Bluestocking by Tracy Sumner


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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Book Reviews

Book Review: Truly Tyler by Terri Libenson

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Series: Emmie & Friends #5
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Cliques. Crushes. Comics. Middle school.

Ever since Tyler started getting into art and hanging out with Emmie, his friends and teammates have been giving him a hard time. He wonders why can’t he nerd out on drawing and play ball?

Emmie is psyched that she gets to work on a comics project with her crush, Tyler. But she gets the feeling that his friends don’t think she’s cool enough. Maybe it’s time for a total reinvention. . . .

 

My Review: Truly Tyler was everything I hoped it would be. One of my most anticipated 2021 releases, I was very excited to read this next installment in the Emmie & Friends series. Tyler’s book was an absolute joy to read!

Truly Tyler continues the storylines from book 1, Invisible Emmie, and the new social dynamics Emmie and Tyler now find themselves in. Tyler is torn between his two passions, art and basketball. Meanwhile, the teasing both he and Emmie have been getting causes Emmie to not feel popular/cool enough and way out of Tyler’s league. The two then struggle with working together on their comic book project as well as the straining relationships with their friend groups.

This story was really absorbing. It’s way longer than all the other books but Libenson makes every page count with her engaging art style. She always creates a fun atmosphere to enjoy her stories within. The straightforward plot is woven together with timeless, relatable themes that throw you back to those awkward middle school days. Wanting to be yourself but at the same time fit in and be liked.

Tyler is a great main character. I liked learning about him as more than Emmie’s secret crush. I connected with Tyler feeling divided over having multiple interests and feeling pressed to decide on one thing to define who you are. Although Emmie is still that same insecure, awkward turtle from book 1, she grows even more so in this book. I liked how she comes into her own as a much stronger version of herself.

Truly Tyler was another excellent addition to the Emmie & Friends series. It was honest, delightful, and very entertaining. Libenson is a talented storyteller and illustrated. I hope there will be more books in the future!


More by Terri Libenson

Emmie & Friends
Invisible Emmie (#1)
Positively Izzy (#2)
Just Jaime (#3)
Becoming Brianna (#4)

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Book Reviews

Book Review: Unplugged by Gordon Korman

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Middle Grade
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: As the son of the world’s most famous tech billionaire, Jett Baranov has always gotten exactly what he wanted. So, when his father’s private jet drops him in the middle of Little Rock, Arkansas, at a wellness camp called the Oasis, Jett can’t believe it. He’s forced to hand over his cell phone, eat grainy veggie patties, and participate in wholesome activities with the other kids.

At the Oasis, he meets Grace, who is his polar opposite. She thrives in the wellness atmosphere and resents Jett’s terrible attitude. Then there’s Tyrell, who suffers from a dizzying list of food allergies that render him constantly itchy. And also Brooklynne, a girl who definitely seems to be hiding something.

As the weeks go on, Jett starts to get used to the unplugged life and even bonds with the other kids over their discovery of a baby lizard-turned-pet, Needles. But he can’t help noticing that the adults at the Oasis are acting really strange…

Jett is determined to get to the bottom of things, but can he convince the other kids that he is no longer just a spoiled brat making trouble?

 

My Review: Unplugged was a lot of fun and an enjoyable read. This page-turner had an interesting mystery and an unexpected antagonist, both of which absorbed my full attention.

I like that the story takes place in a camp-like setting. Oasis of Mind and Body Wellness is a health program that focuses on fostering healthy lifestyles and habits through meditation, nutrition, and exercise. There is also no technology allowed. It’s an alluring place to send a spoiled, rich, troublemaker like Jett Baranov, one of the main characters, to reinvent himself.

Unplugged is told through alternating POVs, mostly Jett, Grace, Tyrell, and Brooklynne’s. I enjoyed getting to know these characters who grew so much over the course of a wild adventure, each overcoming personal challenges. Jett’s behavior I think is in part from a lack of parental attention/nurturing, so for him bad attention is better than no attention all. Grace lives and breathes everything Oasis stands for and is a no-nonsense rule follower. Tyrell, unfortunately plagued by several allergies, wishes he was braver. And Brooklynne’s a mysterious loner who just wants to be like everyone else and make friends. All four are well-rounded and likable characters.

I love the adventure these kids suddenly find themselves on. I love Needles, a lizard, they end up secretly taking care of. Jett’s father is interesting as he’s a highly intelligent inventor and tech billionaire who’s inventions have revolutionized and connected the globe in a way that I can see happening in reality in the future. One thing I (personally) didn’t like was bugs frequently being brought up. I also couldn’t get over the fact that Tyrell, who seems to be allergic to everything at Oasis, keeps being forced to attend.

Unplugged was a great middle grade story. Korman is a fantastic storyteller who I whole-heartedly recommend. I can’t wait to read more of his work!


More by Gordon Korman

The Unteachables

Ungifted
Ungifted (#1)

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Monthly Wrap-Ups

March Wrap-Up

Happy Saturday, Bookworms!

How was your March reading month?

March went fairly well and I got more done than the prior month. The end of March didn’t go as well but that’s ok. I finished my winter tbr and have already made small progress on my spring tbr.

I posted 8 reviews:

My absolute favorite March reads were Thanks A Lot, Universe by Chad Lucas (a great middle grade novel that I related to a lot and depicted social anxiety really well). I also loved Set to Music by Negeen Papehn that was so sweet and made me feel all the feels! I also won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway and was so happy that I immediately read the book.

Image via Goodreads

March was productive. I was able to plan and schedule many future blog posts. I have a few ideas for posts I may try this month.

Here are some blog posts that were interesting to read:

That’s all for today!

Have a great weekend!!!


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

CONNECT WITH ME | Goodreads | Instagram

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Monthly Wrap-Ups

February Wrap-Up

Happy Friday, Bookworm!

What was your favorite read of February?

We’re already into the third month of 2021 if you can believe it. I started off the year strong but tanked halfway through February. It was busy and kind of stressful, which is why this wrap-up is going up today instead last Sunday. I didn’t get to read as much as I’d planned, but what I did get to was amazing. I’m hoping to get back on track this March.

Let’s briefly look back on February.

Reviews Posted

The Iron Raven by Julie Kagawa | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Brothersong by TJ Klune | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by Jonah Winter, Illustrated by Shane W. Evans | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Boss by Abigail Owen | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard, Illustrated by Oge Mora | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Bedtime Bonnet by Nancy Amanda Reed, Illustrated by Nneka Myers | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Bread for Words: A Frederick Douglass Story by Shana Keller, Illustrated by Kayla Stark | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Snapped by Alexa Martin | ⭐⭐⭐⭐

*reviewed on Goodreads only ⇓⇓⇓ *

Snow White with the Red Hair (Volume 10) | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Snow White with the Red Hair (Volume 11) | ⭐⭐⭐⭐

My Favorite Read: Amari and the Night Brothers

Bookshelf Tour

I didn’t realize until I started writing this post that I never got to share my new bookshelf setup like I’d mention in January’s wrap-up. I’d rearranged a lot of furniture and books and this was the result:

SHELF  1:  Pic 1: favorites ● Pic 2: faeries feature ● Pic 3: a mix of romances and fantasy ● Pic 4: middle grade, young adult fiction, and fairytale retellings

 

SHELF  2:  My main shelf reorganized. Right-side column of small paperbacks. Third Row to eventually be all going down the right side. The third row favorite romances and other random favorites

 

SHELF  3:   Pic 1: unread books ● Pic 2: my manga collection ● Pic 3: vampire books + unrelated books

More Paintings

The one on the left was inspired by the Green Creek series by TJ Klune. I made that one after finishing Brothersong, the last book of that series. The right one I wanted to do a silhouette of a wolf howling because wolves are one of my favorite animals.


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

CONNECT WITH ME | Goodreads | Instagram

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TBR Lists

TBR At A Glance – 2/15/21

Royalty Free Image via Pixabay | Edited in Paint

CURRENTLY READING

  • These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy (ARC)

 

READING NEXT

  • Wednesday Wilson Gets Down to Business by Bree Galbraith (ARC)

  • Tarnished Empire by Danielle L. Jensen

 

RECENT REVIEWS

 

REVIEWS COMING SOON

  • FEB 18Bedtime Bonnet by Nancy Amanda Reed, Illustrated by Nneka Myers

  • FEB 19Bread for Words: A Frederick Douglass Story by Shana Keller, Illustrated by Kayla Stark

  • FEB 25 – Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston

  • FEB 27 – Snapped by Alexa Martin

Categories
Monthly Wrap-Ups

January Wrap-Up

Happy Sunday, Bookworms!

How was your first reading month of 2021?

Mine went fairly well. I was able to stick to two of my bookish resolutions: 1) read more for the enjoyment and not for the numbers, and 2) write more reasonable/doable/realistic tbr lists. I got through all four books on my tbr and additional reads.

Here are my reviews posted in January:

How To Fail At Flirting by Denise Williams | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Strong, Silent Cowboy by Lora Leigh & Veronica Chadwick | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Booked for Christmas: A Short Story by Lily Menon | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Celestial by Olivia Wildenstein | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
My Uncle Martin’s Big Heart by Angela Farris Watkins, Illustrated by Eric Velásquez | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Pizza and Taco: Best Party Ever! by Stephen Shaskan | ⭐⭐⭐
Bloodsworn by Scott Reintgen | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Feel the Fire by Annabeth Albert | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*reviewed on Goodreads only ⇓⇓⇓ *

Yona of the Dawn Vol. 14 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Yona of the Dawn Vol. 15 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Yona of the Dawn Vol. 16 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
An Incurable Case of Love Vol. 4 | ⭐⭐⭐
An Incurable Case of Love Vol. 5 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
An Incurable Case of Love Vol. 6 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Royal Tutor Vol. 13 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Royal Tutor Vol. 14 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A bazillion gold stars to my hands-down favorite reads of January: Celestial, Bloodsworn, and Feel the Fire 💛💛💛

Here is my January/Christmas book haul:

With all these new books I’ve had to rearranged my bookshelves. I hope to be able to share another bookshelf tour soon.

I’ve been painting this past month and it’s been really fun and relaxing:

Top Left: inspired by one of my favorite video games, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Bottom Left: inspired by another fun video game, Kingdom Hearts. Right: inspired by one of my favorite anime of all time, Haikyuu. I used pencil and acrylic paints on 8 x 10 cotton canvas.

Here are some great posts by other book bloggers you might like:

THE UNOFFICIAL RANKING OF TOP QUEER VILLAINS: A GUEST POST BY BE DAZZLED AUTHOR RYAN LA SALA | LGBTQ Reads

I loved everything about this guest post by Ryan La Sala. It was so rather eye-opening and super funny. 😂

Bookish Memes / Let’s Talk Bookish! | Marley @ Dragon on a Book

This is a really great discussion post on book memes and tags and their pros and cons.

BEST AUDIOBOOKS I’VE LISTENED TO | Laura @ thebookcorps

I’m not much of an audiobook person in part because of my attention span but I’m going to keep Laura’s list in mind for future possible audiobook reads, such as of TJ Klune’s books.

ARC Review: Fable by Adrienne Young | Karen @ Twisted In Pages

I’ve been seeing this book makes its way through the book community recently. I wasn’t sure about this book because of hype but Karen’s review convinced to want to give this book a try.

Favorite Historical Romance Reads of 2020 | Julie @ One Book More

If historical romance novels are your thing, then this list is a good one to check out for the recommendations and the lovely covers.

Sunday Smiles | Kim @ By Hook Or By Book

I missed a good chunk of the Inauguration so I had no clue about this Bernie Sanders meme until my friend showed me. Kim picked out some great ones that will make you smile wide. 😆

My 5-year blogiversary was Friday, January 22. I meant to do a special post but didn’t have time for. So I’ll just say a huge thank you to everyone for reading my posts. Thank you, thank you, thank you. 😊💙

That’s all for today and for January. Who knows what reading adventures await in February, but I’m excited nonetheless.

Have a great day!

Christina

Categories
Monthly Wrap-Ups

2020 Wrap-Up

Happy New Year’s Eve, Bookworms!!!

It’s the last day of 2020! I think we can all cheer to that.

December was a pretty hectic month but successful in the end. I completed my 25 Days of Book Reviews – this was year two of this blog series. It’s a difficult challenge but I like it and it helps make a small dent in my abundant tbr. You can view the books I reviewed and rated this year here.

In the last week of the year I squeezed in 2 more reads, so I read 21 books and posted 26 reviews and added 62 books this month.

My favorite December reads were:

Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Awakening by Nora Roberts | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
How To Fail At Flirting by Denise Williams | review tba

I accomplished a few blog milestones this year. I posted my 300th book review and my 1000th blog post. And I completed my Goodreads 2020 Reading Challenge.

As you might have seen this past week, I’ve been spotlight my favorite books in certain genres and categories (links below): Best of 2020:

Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Contemporary Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Fantasy, Young Adult Fantasy, Contemporary Romance
First Book of A Series & Standalone Novel
Main Characters & Couples
2020 Releases
Author of the Year, Book Series of the Year, Cover of the Year, Book of the Year

Because I was posting mostly book reviews this month I wanted to share reviews by other book bloggers that I liked:

2020 has been a year of unprecedented firsts. We have lost many, we are still losing many. It’s painful to see millions continue to suffer because of greed, hatred, and racism. Injustice time and time again. Profits over people. Me before We. Silence.

I think all of us coming together as a community of book bloggers and delighting in all things books has helped us to stay strong in the face of so much despair and uncertainty. And we have so many great books being published in 2021 to look forward to. I am thankful to have you all.

Most importantly, I am incredibly thankful for all our frontline workers who have been working tirelessly every day to keep our world going.

For our frontline workers, let’s continue to wear a mask, socially distance, wash our hands, listen to facts and science, and be kind to one another.

Wishing you all the best in 2021!

Christina

Categories
Book Reviews

Book Review: Hailey’s Halloween by Lisa Bullard, Illustrated by Holli Conger

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Children’s Nonfiction, Picture Book
Series: Fall and Winter Holidays
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: It’s time for Hailey’s favorite holiday—Halloween! She plans her costume. She also carves jack-o’-lanterns with her family. Finally, it’s time for Hailey to trick-or-treat with her friends.

 

My Review: Hailey’s Halloween was a fun and informational read. Kids will learn the history of Halloween as Hailey prepares for Halloween. The story buids in anticipation and excitement for the big night of candy, costumes and fun. I really loved all of the illustrations and vibrant colors, especially for the costumes. This book also comes with a face paint recipe, a glossary, and other resources for kids to learn and do more. I liked this cute picture book a lot.

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ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: The Bright and Breaking Sea by Chloe Neill

Thank you Berkley Books and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! The Bright and Breaking Sea goes on sale November 17, 2020.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Fantasy
Series: Captain Kit Brightling #1
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUTKit Brightling, rescued as a foundling and raised in a home for talented girls, has worked hard to rise through the ranks of the Isles’ Crown Command and become one of the few female captains in Queen Charlotte’s fleet. Her ship is small, but she’s fast—in part because of Kit’s magical affinity to the sea. But the waters become perilous when the queen sends Kit on a special mission with a partner she never asked for.

Rian Grant, Viscount Queenscliffe, may be a veteran of the Continental war, but Kit doesn’t know him or his motives—and she’s dealt with one too many members of the Beau Monde. But Kit has her orders, and the queen has commanded they journey to a dangerous pirate quay and rescue a spy who’s been gathering intelligence on the exiled emperor of Gallia.

Kit can lead her ship and clever crew on her own, but with the fate of queen and country at stake, Kit and Rian must learn to trust each other, or else the Isles will fall….

 

My Review: The Bright and Breaking Sea was a very pleasant read. The story felt like you could just lay back and enjoy.

The world-building was good and easy to acclimate myself to and how magic (alignment) worked. I was really captivated by this story and its characters from the beginning.

Kit is a born leader who earns her respect and devotion by her crew. As one of few female captains and high ranked officials, she doesn’t allow misogyny or snobbery to keep her from doing what she loves and getting the job done. She has a sharp wit, is very clever, loyal, and compassionate. She’s a tough cookie who (like myself) loves reading romance stories.

I knew right away that I’d enjoy Kit and Grant butting heads. It was guaranteed to happen because of the stereotyped idea they had of each other. I liked how they earned each other’s respect and even more the hint of a slow burn romance to be.

There was a lot of action, high seas battles, fighting and explosions. And while the stakes were high, Kit and crew were able to overcome obstacles in one, easy try, making their successes underwhelming. No fails or setbacks. One part could technically be seen as a fail but the ease of the mission made the perceived failure somewhat insignificant.

Overall, The Bright and Breaking Sea was an entertaining story and thrilling first novel of a series that I will definitely be continuing. I had a lot of fun reading this book and am keen to see what dangers are in store for the Isles as well as more cute Kit and Grant moments.