Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Have Loved But Did Not Review

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at Jana's blog That Artsy Reader Girl

This week we are discussing books we loved that did not review. Since I was ib a blogging hiatus while I was serving on my award committees, I have come across so many fantastic books. Here are the ones that immediately jump into my mind when I think about ones I have appreciated and adored, but did not write up here (or GoodReads). I also made notes on whether I read them as a physical book, an audiobook, or both in some cases. 


A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy) by Deborah Harkness
I have expressed a few times since I have come back from my blogging hiatus that I love this title--and really the whole series. It is one of my all time favorites. I enjoy reading as well as listening to the audiobooks of this series. I am not a huge re-reader, but these are ones that I turn to because I always find some other hidden Easter egg to explore. 

Lovely War by Julie Berry
I read this book during my time I served on Best Fiction for Young Adult committee through YALSA. (See our 2020 BFYA list here) I loved how Berry was able to incorporate so many layers to this story. It is set during World War I and I just love the incorporation of music and also the way she addresses the system and blatant racism our Black troops experienced even as they served our country--it has a lot of meat for discussion. I enjoyed this one as an audiobook, which I think really does a great job of bringing it to life and also read the physical book with my staff book discussion group at work this past February. 

Heroine by Mindy McGinnis
As a former athlete, I have a soft spot for sports fiction and I have always loved a great problem novel--I wrote a thesis on the subgenre during my master's degree program. I also know how much the opiate crisis has destroyed families in the area that I live (New England) as well as the country as a whole. This book does an amazing job of drawing you into Mickey's story and watching her get hooked on drugs. This one I devoured as a physical book. Trigger warning for blatant descriptions of drug use. 

Friday, August 7, 2020

Bout of Books 29: Once Again I'm Participating--Are You?

Before I took my blogging hiatus, I participated in a number of Bout of Books readathons. I even served as a Bout of Books expert several times and had a great time participating and cheering everyone. While this Bout of Books falls during the week I return to being physically in school, I still want to try to participate. Not familiar with it?

About Bout of Books:
The Bout of Books readathon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It’s a weeklong readathon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23rd in YOUR time zone. Bout of Books is low-pressure. All reading-in-place times, Twitter chats, and exclusive Instagram challenges are completely optional. For Bout of Books 29 information and updates, visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

My TBR for Bout of Books Week:
The goal of Bout of Books is simply to read as much as you can. There used to be blogging challenges, but they have dropped those this time around. There will be photo challenges on Instagram that I will participate as I can. I do not have a defined TBR yet. I do know I will try to do an audiobook and with returning to school this week, I will probably continue to do some books I have on my list to want to be able to recommend to students through booktalks--formal or informal conversations. 

If I pull together a more formal TBR, they will be updated in this section prior to Bout of Books. 

Daily Updates:
Instead of posting daily, I will continue to update this post. While it means you will have to keep checking back, this is the way I have done it in the past, and would like to continue doing so (since the guidelines permit it still). 

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Thursday, August 6, 2020

Mini Reviews: Ways to Make Sunshine by Renee Watson and Throw Like a Girl by Sarah Henning

This batch of mini reviews features books I am reviewing from ARCs. The first up is a younger middle grade novel by Renee Watson. The second is a young adult sports romance novel.

Ways to Make Sunshine
By Renee Watson
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Ryan Hart is finishing up the last months of fourth grade at Vernon Elementary in Portland, Oregon. Through the 178 pages, we get to know Ryan as she is experiencing change: moving during the school year (but staying in the same school), financial troubles since her father lost his job at a post office branch that closed down, her father starting a new job that is a third shift position, and her mother who has her own news at the end of the book. We also get to meet her two best friends: Amanda who moved to a new nicer neighborhood with her family before the school year started and Kiki, whom she gets to walk with to school each day now that she moved closer to her. 

An adorable younger middle grade novel full of heart, this is a great one to give to those that are advancing up to longer chapter books. Full of friendship, family including loving parents, and sibling shenanigans, this is a delightful bildungsroman. What I particularly love about this book is that is shows a Black family in such a positive light highlighting the strong, engaged parents Ryan and her brother, Ray, have along with their grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Anyone adult who is a fan of Ramona--this is a perfect book to give to a student or child that you want to experience those feelings Ramona evokes AND put more diverse characters into their hands at the same time. 

Throw Like a Girl
By Sarah Henning
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Liv needs to play softball her junior year so she can earn a college scholarship--she knows it will be only way she can afford to go to college with her mom out of work due to cancer and her family being supported only by her dad's detective salary. When she makes a split second decision to throw a punch at another girl on the rival softball team, her life has altered course. Losing her scholarship to play at her prep school, she must return to the public school--the rivals of her former school. Her mission now: to prove to her new school's softball coach she is not the hot headed player but is a true teammate. She does this by joining the school's football team after being recruited by the quarterback. Everything is not all fun and games though--she will have to keep growing and continue to stand up for what she believes.

This is a quick easy read of a female athlete having to prove her worth to a male dominated sport. While there was little that surprised me, this is still an engaging read. Those who like football and softball will get lost in the detailed descriptions of play. Those who do not enjoy these elements, might get bogged down in some cases. I liked the relationship Liv has with her parents, sister and sister-in-law, and her best friend. Having just read Break the Fall recently, I did not enjoy this one quite as much because the relationship was more vital to this story--though I understand that was an important element to this story (and I cannot say why because of spoilers). I do recommend this book, but do not expect a hard hitting contemporary blended with this sports fiction. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Dewey's 24 hour Reverse Readathon

Visit Dewey's Readathon website for more information


Dewey's 24 Hour Reverse Readathon is happening this weekend--Friday, August 7 at 8:00 p.m. EST to Saturday, August 8 at 8:00 p.m. I have decided I want to give it a shot--this is my penultimate weekend before heading back to school physically. 
I will be participating via Twitter and Instagram. I will update this post throughout the readathon as well. Check back on my updates to see how I do. 

Are you going to participate? Please let me know if you are going to join me. 

Recap--How It Went

From Friday evening to Saturday evening, I participated in the Dewey readathon. I did not read the full 24 hours--I cannot stay up overnight any longer. Here is a post I put up on Instagram to sum up how I did:

Monthly Wrap Up: July Edition Featuring the Reading Rush Update and Other Ramblings from Life in July

Wow, I feel like July just started but now I am writing my July wrap up a bit late. July was wonderful--seeing family and friends (safely) was very much needed. With all of my family things going on this month, I did not get as much reading done as I like. 

What I Read:

During this time period, I also loosely participated in the Reading Rush. I posted that I was going to read a total of three books during the Reading Rush time period--I marked them above with (RR). I read the group book--Such a Fun Age--the week before I left so while I did complete it, it technically was not finished during the Reading Rush dates.

My intentions were to use my spinner app to help make my selections for my reading this month. That did not hold up when I started to travel then with Reading Rush. It was too much to make them fit both. I do plan on trying to do it another time--probably in October as I think there might be a read-a-thon or two I want to try to do in September.