What I’m Into + April Small Goals + My Top Ten Favorite Fandoms

In this month's review, I'm sharing not only my April small goals + what I'm into, but also my top ten favorite fandoms! | NewberyandBeyond.com
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As always, I’m linking up with writes like a girl for my April small goals, and Leigh Kramer for my monthly what I’m into. I’m also linking up with the Broke & Bookish for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday meme.

I went into the month of March trying to keep my goals realistic. Because of that, I was actually able to complete all three goals!

  • Relax! I tried my best to do the things that were actually fun and fulfilling, not just time wasters. Nothing super memorable, but I am entering the month of April feeling a lot more refreshed than I did last month.
  • Hand letter every day. I’m counting this one as completed. I didn’t letter every single day, but I I got close. As I’m always reminding my music students, it’s amazing the difference that consistent practice makes!
  • Work on my massive cross stitch project. Yes, although not as much as I would have liked. Progress has been slow, but the pattern is starting to take shape.

Now for my April small goals:

  • Prep for all the concerts! I’m the piano accompanist for my church’s Easter program this year, and the week after Easter is my studio recital. I have a massive amount of students participating this year, so I’m going to put in a lot of work over the next three weeks to prepare them (and myself) for the big show.
  • Start volunteering. I work at lot at my church (see above!), and I love it, but I want to do more to volunteer in my community.
  • Do a spending freeze. The past couple of months have been filled with extra expenditures, some necessary and some not so much. I want to use this month, which is well past the holidays but not yet into summer vacation territory, to sock away some extra cash.

What I’m Into

Books I’m looking forward to reading: I have a whole stack of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series waiting for me by my bedside.

TV shows I’ve been watching: I finally got my husband to finish watching the Lizzie Bennet Diaries with me (it was my second time through and his first). Such a fun adaptation!

Music I’m loving: I can’t stay away from the Hamilton soundtrack. I’m still obsessed (see below).

Best recent purchase: I ordered some cloth napkins a few weeks ago, and they are making my life surprisingly better! It feels so much less wasteful than using paper napkins, and I have enough of them that I don’t have to do laundry every day in order to use them.

My favorite Instagram:

Here’s a part of that book stack I was talking about, plus the Victoria sponge cake I made with my sister when she visited us last month:

 

If you’d like to follow me on Instagram (I post lots of book pictures and some of my hand lettering ventures), you can do so here.

In this month’s review, as well as sharing my goals and recent favorites, I’m also including my Top Ten Tuesday response. When I heard Broke & Bookish was doing a fandom-based TTT, I couldn’t resist! In no particular order, here are my current obsessions.

  1. Veronica Mars. My husband and I watched this show well after it originally aired, but I am still in love with it. The series was great, the movie was wonderful, and I can’t wait to read the books.
  2. Hamilton. You know I’m still into Hamilton. The songs are catchy, the lyrics are so well written, and you might actually learn something about history while you’re at it.
  3. Doctor Who. Because obviously. I’m behind on watching the show, but it’s still one of my favorites.
  4. Sherlock. Another British import that’s just amazing. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman don’t hurt, either.
  5. Harry Potter. How could I call myself a book nerd and not be into Harry Potter? (Yes, I know there are bookish people who don’t like Harry Potter, but they’re definitely the minority.) But seriously, even though I didn’t read this series until most of the books and movies were already released, this is the series that captivated my generation. It’s one of the biggest fandoms out there, and I’m glad to be a part of it.
  6. The Great British Baking Show. This show is just fun. Who wouldn’t want to watch a baking competition where the bakers all have great accents, everyone supports each other, and you get to see weird bakes like the Charlotte royale.
  7. Parks and Rec. I resisted watching this show for a while because the first season was terrible. I finally gave it another shot by starting with season two, and I’m so glad I did! The characters are hilarious, but watching them grow is what keeps me coming back.
  8. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. I’ve raved about this show before. The costumes, the music, the Australian accents, the wide range of social issues addressed, the will-they-won’t-they relationship between Phryne and Jack–what’s not to love?
  9. Disney. Specifically, Beauty and the Beast and Mulan. These are my favorite animated movies of all time, and the recent live action Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson was amazing.
  10. Jane Austen. The books! The Masterpiece Theatre movies! The countless adaptations (see: the Lizzie Bennet Diaries)! The wonderful book What Matters in Jane Austen?! I love it all.

Leave your links in the comments below; I’d love to read about your latest goals or your favorite fandoms!

If you want to see more of what I’m into every month, along with sneak peeks and my favorite posts from the blog, sign up for my email newsletter! It’ll show up in your inbox once a month and bring you the latest blog news and the things I’m loving.

Top Ten Books I’ve Read in One Sitting

Linking up with Broke & Bookish to share the top ten books I've read in one sitting. | NewberyandBeyond.com
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I’m linking up with the Broke & Bookish for their Top Ten Tuesday meme.

It’s rare that I have time to sit down and read a whole book in one sitting, although I love when that happens. In light of that fact, I’m interpreting this prompt as “books I couldn’t put down, even when it was inconvenient to continue reading.” These are all books that I enjoyed so much that I would have read them in one sitting if it weren’t for those pesky things like work or family obligations…

The Passenger [ARC]

I love me a good mystery, and this thriller kept me engaged all the way to the end. I read it in two big chunks, not even putting it down to eat dinner.

Winter

This installment in the Lunar Chronicles series is the one I took with me for my sister’s wedding. Despite all the chaos and swirl of activity, I kept sneaking off to quickly devour another couple of chapters of this book.

Life After Life

I was so excited to reach the end of this book that I didn’t even get out of my car when I pulled into the parking lot before reading through the last chapters.

Geekerella [ARC]

This book is my most recent can’t-put-it-down favorite. The sweet romance and fun twist on the Cinderella story kept me up late until I finished reading it.

Everything, Everything [ARC]

I’m so excited that they’re making this book into a movie! I can’t wait to see it. I was in the midst of reading this book when my husband came home from work, and I refused to speak to him until I raced my way to the end of the book.

The Age of Miracles

I took this book with me to Europe and read it on the train, and I was so enthralled by it that I actually looked forward to the end of the day so I could finish reading it on the ride back.

Because of Winn-Dixie

I had read this Newbery book as a child, but it wasn’t until I re-read it recently that I realized how sweet it was. It’s short enough to read in one sitting even if you don’t have a lot of time.

Adulthood is a Myth

Is it cheating to list a book that’s made up mostly of comics in a list of “read in one sitting” books? Oh well, I’m including it either way.

Hyperbole and a Half

See above.

Thus Was Adonis Murdered

This was the book I read in close to one sitting when my husband and I got stranded in Nowhere, Florida when our car broke down. It was a fun escape from an otherwise stressful situation.

What books have you read in one sitting, or close to it? Leave your links in the comments!

Top Ten Books on My Spring TBR List

Linking up with Broke & Bookish to share the top ten books on my spring TBR list. | NewberyandBeyond.com
I’m linking up with the Broke and Bookish for today’s Top Ten Tuesday post!

As always, my TBR list is extensive and continually growing, so it’s nice to take a close look at it and figure out what I’m going to read next. These books aren’t in any particular order, they’re just the first ten books on my list that struck my fancy to read over the next couple of months.

Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America

This one sounds fascinating, but also depressing (which is why I haven’t read it yet). I’m going to be requesting this from my library very soon.

Heart of a Samurai

I’m always working on reading more Newbery books, and I think this one might be the next one I read.

The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman

This is a middle grades book that has been on my list for so long, I can’t remember a single thing about it. I’m trying to read through some of my super-backlist books, and this is one of them.

Truckers

The only Terry Pratchett book I’ve read is Good Omens, which he co-wrote with Neil Gaiman. I think it’s time to get into some of his work.

Nineteen Eighty-Four

This is one of those classics that I’ve never actually read. Now might be the time.

Bridget Jones’ Diary

This is more of a modern classic. I didn’t like the movie much, but I’ve heard the book is great, so I’m willing to give it a try.

The Flavia de Luce series

I started this series years ago (the first two books were some of the first I reviewed on this blog!), and I’ve never gotten around to finishing it. I need to finally read the latest additions.

The Little Book of Hygge

This one just sounds fun. I need some of those books interspersed with my more difficult reads.

The Trespasser

I’ve read two of Tana French’s other books in this series, and I’d love to read her newest one. I just need to get in line to check it out from the library!

Anna and the French Kiss

Another one that just sounds fun. It’s not my typical genre (I’m not a huge romance fan), but I’ve had a lot of friends recommend it to me, so I think I’ll give it a try.

What books are on your spring TBR list? Leave your TTT links in the comments so I can check them out!

What I’m Into + February Small Goals

I'm linking up and sharing my February small goals, along with my favorite things from January. | NewberyandBeyond.com
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As always, I’m linking up with writes like a girl for my February small goals, and Leigh Kramer for my monthly what I’m into.

January wasn’t the greatest month for me. I’ve been battling stress and illness (strep throat is no joke, people), but I managed to get a couple of things done anyway.

  • Start meal planning. …Nope. My husband and I collected a bunch of recipes, but we didn’t actually get to the “planning” part of this goal.
  • Do a joint book review with my sister. You can read it here!
  • Take care of home maintenance tasks. I’m counting this one mostly complete. There’s still a burnt out lightbulb that we haven’t gotten around to replacing yet.
  • Continue to carve out time for relaxation (and reading!). Yes. I’ve been organized about my work schedule and the things I need to do at home, and I’ve worked hard to make space for relaxing and being unproductive.

I’m keeping it simple for my February goals, since January didn’t go as planned:

  • Make breakfasts ahead of time. This is sort of related to my meal planning goal from last month, but it’s (hopefully) a lot simpler to accomplish. There are a couple days a week that I have to get up much earlier than the rest of the week, and I rarely feel like making breakfast when I get up, so I want to pre-make breakfast bars and other healthy, easy options.
  • Read and review the 2017 Newbery books. I’m so excited about this year’s Newbery books! One was already on my TBR list, but the others are books I had never heard of.

What I’m Into

Books I’m looking forward to reading: I’m currently making my way through the NetGalley review books I ordered. Lots of YA coming up soon!

TV shows I’ve been watching: Whenever I’m sick or stressed, Unlikely Animal Friends (on Netflix) can always cheer me up.

Music I’m loving: After several months of waiting, because I just can’t handle that level of awesomeness every day, I’m finally re-listening to the Hamilton soundtrack.

Podcasts Audio books I’m listening to: Did you know that the movie Hidden Figures is based on a book? I’m listening to it on audio book right now.

My favorite Instagram:

I love this quote!

Hand lettering by Newbery and Beyond | newberyandbeyond.etsy.com
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If you’d like to follow me on Instagram (I post lots of book pictures and some of my hand lettering ventures), you can do so here.

If you want to see more of what I’m into every month, along with sneak peeks and my favorite posts from the blog, sign up for my email newsletter! It’ll show up in your inbox once a month and bring you the latest blog news and the things I’m loving.

Top Ten Best Books I Read in 2016

Linking up with the Broke and the Bookish to share my top ten best books I read in 2016. | NewberyandBeyond.com
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It’s the end of the year, which means tons of reflection posts and best-of lists (which I love!). I read many wonderful books this year, but these ten were the best books on my list. I recommend each of them wholeheartedly!

The Penderwicks series

If you enjoy Hilary McKay’s delightful writing style and quirky families, you must read this series. The Penderwicks are a family of sisters whose different personalities often clash, but who deeply love and take care of each other. They have fun adventures together and help each other adjust to the changes of growing up. I’m currently reading the fourth and latest book in the series, and so far each one has been just as wonderful as the last.

The Passenger

I don’t often read thrillers, but I greatly enjoyed this one. I read it practically in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down.

Come, Thou Tortoise

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. Audrey has to come to terms with her recent loss, and as odd as our main character is, the writing style is just as strange–there are no question marks or quotation marks here. A quirky book with surprisingly lovable characters.

The Secret Adversary

I absolutely love Agatha Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence mysteries, so I really liked reading their first adventure together.

Thursday Next series

This series is a must read for book lovers and anyone who thinks a humorous time travel/alt history SFF series sounds awesome (it is).

Last Stop on Market Street

This is just a lovely picture book. Whether or not you have kids, you should pick this Newbery winner up.

Half the Sky

Heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time. If you care about women’s issues, you should read this book.

Abandoned America

I have a weird obsession with abandoned buildings, and reading this book made me realize I’m not alone. The author treks through various abandoned places, from a classic ghost town to an enormous mall, from hotels and vacation spots to theaters and mental hospitals. The photos are amazing, and he tells the fascinating stories of why each place was abandoned.

Dumplin’

A wonderful YA book about an overweight girl trying to fit in and stand out in her beauty pageant-obsessed town. All the characters are wonderful–they make bad choices sometimes, sure, but none of them are cringe-worthy–and I love the Texas setting.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

This picture book is definitely one of the best books of this year. For any child (or adult) who wants to look at some beautiful artwork and read about the amazing women who shaped our world.

What were your favorite reads of 2016?

Ten Books I’d Like to See Under My Christmas Tree This Year

Linking up with Broke & Bookish to share my top ten books I'm thankful for. | NewberyandBeyond.com
I’m linking up with the Broke and Bookish for today’s Top Ten Tuesday post!

I’ve already received a couple of awesome books for Christmas (thanks, Secret Santa!), but there are always more books I’d love to receive. Here are just a few I’d like to see under my Christmas tree this year.

1. The Year of Living Danishly. This book sounds so fun! And sadly my library doesn’t have a copy of it.

2. Refuse to Do Nothing. This book on ending modern-day slavery has been on my TBR list for a couple years now, and unfortunately my library doesn’t have a copy! I want to have a copy of my own.

3. Hyperbole and a Half. I’ve already read this book, and it is hilarious! I want to be able to read this book anytime I need a pick-me-up.

4. The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run. Another book that just sounds hilarious. I need more of those books in my life.

5. The Cardamom Trail. My husband and I got obsessed with The Great British Baking Show this year, and we fell in love with Chetna’s baking style. If I had this book, I could probably convince my husband to do some baking with me!

6. I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla. As someone who wants to adopt someday, this book on interracial adoption is a must read.

7. Quiet Power. I’ve read Susan Cain’s original book and enjoyed it a lot. I want to add this one to my stack of books!

8. The Princess Problem. I loved this book! I want to have my own copy for when I have children.

9. The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries. I’ve been reading my library’s copy of this book, and I loooove it! (You know how much I’m into mysteries.) I really want my own copy so I can reread my favorites every December.

10. Eleanor Roosevelt: You Learn by Living. Eleanor Roosevelt is my role model! I’ve read a lot about her, but I’d love to read a book that she wrote.

What books do you want to see under your Christmas tree this year?

What I’m Into + December Small Goals

I'm sharing my November favorites and my December small goals in today's link up. | NewberyandBeyond.com
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As always, I’m linking up with writes like a girl for my November small goals, and Leigh Kramer for my monthly what I’m into.

I’m super proud of how well I did with my November goals, especially since I was out of town for a whole week and threw off my regular “get stuff done” schedule.

  • Prep Christmas gifts. Yep! We actually got everything prepared in time to deliver gifts in person to most of my family. (More fun and a lot cheaper than shipping them!)
  • Dye my hair again. Check. I struggled with the color this time and ended up covering up the pink with a darker red, which looks much better.
  • Experiment with watercolors. Not yet, but my husband has promised to put this on his schedule for this weekend.
  • Complete the Skillshare challenge. This project turned out to be more than I could handle this month. Oh well.

Three-ish out of five? I’ll take it! Now, for my December goals:

  • Organize all my bookish statistics for the year. I did this last year and had a lot of fun with it. And since I’ve been working hard this year to diversify my reading, I’m excited to see how well I did.
  • Create space to relax. November was all about getting work projects completed, and December is going to be jam-packed with parties, concerts, and family gatherings, so I want to consciously make time for relaxation. (Maybe even a movie night with my husband or a game night with the roomies.)
  • Read through my backlog of books. I requested several ebooks in anticipation of my Thanksgiving travels, and I may have purchased some new books at my favorite used bookstore in Chattanooga.
  • Sponsor a businesswoman through Kiva. For many reasons, including my recent readthrough of Half the Sky (review to come soon!), I feel the pull to sponsor a woman starting a business in a poorer country. And since sponsorships start at $25, even I can afford that.

What I’m Into

Books I’m looking forward to reading: I got my hands on Connie Willis’s Doomsday Book for five cents (see my bookstore visit above), and I also found her book of Christmas short stories. If you remember my love for all things Connie Willis, you’ll understand why this thrilled me so much.

TV shows Movies I’ve been watching: I just got Love & Friendship, the movie adaptation of Jane Austen’s Lady Susan, and I can’t wait to watch it!

Music I’m loving: I just found out I can borrow music through my library’s website, so I requested the newest albums from Bruno Mars, Panic at the Disco, and Ariana Grande.

Podcasts I’m listening to: I just added Note to Self, which describes itself as a technology podcast about being human, to my podcast roundup.

My favorite Instagram:

I had so many photos I loved from this month that it was difficult to choose a favorite!

Hand lettering by NewberyandBeyond.Etsy.com
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If you’d like to follow me on Instagram (I post lots of book pictures and some of my hand lettering ventures), you can do so here.

If you want to see more of what I’m into every month, along with sneak peeks and my favorite posts from the blog, sign up for my email newsletter! It’ll show up in your inbox once a month and bring you the latest blog news and the things I’m loving.

TTT: Books I Am Thankful For

Linking up with Broke & Bookish to share my top ten books I'm thankful for. | NewberyandBeyond.com
I’m linking up with the Broke and Bookish for today’s Top Ten Tuesday post!

Each of these books has a place in my heart for a different reason, but mostly I’m thankful for them because they remind me that we are not alone. Even in tumultuous times like these, we can find unity through our books, and I love that.

Pretty Good Number One–because it showed me that sometimes people are just as nice as you hope they would be. I’ve never before had an author give me a book just because I posted about it on my blog!

The Last Dragonslayer and The Eyre Affair–because sometimes you just need a fun escape from reality.

Good Girls, Bad Girls of the New Testament–because it heartens me that some biblical scholars are paying attention to the amazing women in the Bible.

10% Happier–because this book led me to start meditating, and it really has made me happier.

A Prayer Journal by Flannery O’Connor–because Flannery’s words made me feel less alone in my often imperfect faith.

Her Stories–because women, especially women of color, don’t get nearly as much page time as they should.

Untangled and The Princess Problem–because girls’ childhood and teenage years can be difficult, and these books show parents how to give their daughters the tools they need to navigate those years.

Jesus Feminist–because this book reminds me that there are respected and knowledgeable Christians who are feminists, not just me. (Review to come soon!)

Last Stop on Market Street–because it’s a simple, beautiful story filled with diversity.

Tiny Beautiful Things–because this book reminds me that we are not alone, no matter how horrible our circumstances may seem.

What books are you thankful for this year?

22 Ways to Support Women Around the World with Your Christmas Shopping

16 Ways to Support Women with Your Christmas Shopping | NewberyandBeyond.com
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Every year I update my list of ways you can support women around the world with your Christmas gift purchasing. I’ve used a few of these websites for my Christmas shopping over the years (and as gift requests for myself), and I hope this list will inspire you to do the same!

I have a great passion for people around the world who have been harmed by human trafficking, especially women. Especially in the worldwide chaos that has taken place this year, it is very easy for women in poor or war-torn countries to fall through the cracks and be forced into slave labor.

One of the most important ways we can help prevent human trafficking and provide an escape for those who have already suffered through it is by supporting these women’s new businesses. In this post, I’ve collected some of the websites that (to the best of my knowledge) sell products that are created by women around the world and give the profits back to the women to provide for their families and support the growth of their small businesses. I’m not affiliated in any way with any of these websites; I just want to support these awesome women!

If you’re looking to do some Christmas shopping, start with these websites. I will update this post over the next month with any sales or special offers, in case you’re a deal shopper like me–none of these discounts will cause less money to be given to the women creating the products. I’ve also included some of my favorite organizations that promote justice and healing for victims of human trafficking or protect women’s rights, in case you’d just like to donate.

Buy your Christmas presents here and support women who are making a better life for themselves and their families:

Sudara
This company specializes in Punjammies, which are super comfortable, beautiful lounge pants. All their clothing is made by women in India who have escaped sex slavery. (I got a pair of these for Christmas last year, and I wear them almost every day when I get home from work. They are so comfortable and cute, and they have pockets!)

Preemptive Love Coalition
I absolutely love this company! They sell soaps (one for men, one for women) that are made by refugees who fled from ISIS. This business helps them rebuild their lives and support themselves in a new country.

Picture Birmingham
A blogger that I follow takes these gorgeous photos and turns them into prints, postcards, and notecards. 100% of the profits are donated to The Wellhouse, a ministry that provides support to victims of human trafficking in Alabama.

Made By Survivors
This jewelry, now sold under the name Relevée, is made and sold by survivors of human trafficking. These women and children are given counseling, education, and vocational training to help them create a new way of life.

Better Life Bags
Custom or ready-to-purchase bags. These bags are handmade by women in Detroit, mostly first-generation immigrants, who are unable to find jobs elsewhere.

Ten Thousand Villages
Jewelry, kitchen items, and home accents. The items are made and sold by artisans in Egypt, India, and many other countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.

Naja
This lingerie company employs mostly single mothers or female heads of household in the United States and pays them above-market wages and benefits. The company also employs women in the slums of Colombia and helps them receive the education they need.

Amania Africa
This program trains women in five different African nations to sew and manage their finances, and allows them to sell their handicrafts on this website.

Global Goods Partners
Jewelry, accessories, gifts, home items, and toys.  These products are handmade by women in South America, Asia, and Africa.

Mulxiply
Gorgeous jewelry and accessories, made by at-risk women in Nepal.

Good Paper
These hilarious cards are made by women who escaped sex trafficking in the Philippines and by young adult orphans in Rwanda. I’d love to receive one of these cards for Christmas/birthday/no particular reason, and I bet you know someone who would like them, too.

Sari Bari
Beautiful, handmade bags, blankets, and clothing made from upcycled saris. These are made by Indian women who were rescued from the sex trade. (I recently purchased one of these bags, and it is lovely! It’s colorful and fun and sturdy enough for me to take to work every day.)

Malia Designs
Handbags, wallets, and accessories. Cambodia is a dangerous place for women, and these items are made by Cambodian women who are at risk. The company also donates some of its profits to anti-trafficking organizations.

Stop Traffick Fashion
Most–though not all–of these T-shirts and bracelets are made by survivors of human trafficking around the world. They offer cute and affordable graphic tees and totes.

Thistle Farms
This residential program helps women in the United States who have been victims of trafficking, prostitution, or addiction. They produce lotions, soaps, candles, lip balm, and other bath and body products.

Women’s Peace Coalition
Jewelry, accessories, and home accents made by female artisans around the world. The Coalition supports women’s business enterprises in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Haiti.

Prosperity Candle
This candle company employs female refugees in North America and Haiti. The hand-poured candles give these women a chance to create a new life in the U.S.

SERVV
Jewelry, clothing, kitchen, decor, chocolates, and snacks. This retailer’s artisans come from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and even the United States. (I got several of my Christmas gifts last year from this website, and they were beautiful! I was very pleased with the quality and variety of gifts on this site.)

Global Girlfriend
Clothing, accessories, jewelry, gifts, and more. Products are made by women, and profits go to help send a girl to school (not a given in many places around the world).

MarketPlace India
This program helps around 500 Indian women learn to produce women’s clothing and manage their own business. Their items include dresses, skirts, tops, jackets, pants, and more.

Causebox
If you love subscription boxes (me too!) and want to be continually informed about amazing companies that are run by or support women in need around the world, this is for you. (One of these days, I’ll get one myself!)

Amazon Smile
If you absolutely must do some shopping through Amazon (I get it), don’t forget to shop through Amazon Smile. They will donate a small percentage of your purchase to the charity of your choice.

If you just want to donate:

International Justice Mission
IJM is an organization that I support as often as I can. IJM employs lawyers, case workers, counselors, after care workers, and other professionals in countries around the world in order to fight human trafficking, forced labor, denied citizenship for certain people groups, and many other types of injustice. They work hard to rescue those who are enslaved, and they also work to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Invisible Girl Project
Millions of girls in India and China are never given a chance to live because of the prevalence of gendercide and infanticide, and many more are trafficked because of the dearth of females in these cultures. Give girls a chance by donating here.

International Rescue Committee
I’ve been following the refugee crisis in Syria with concern for over a year now, and I’m always looking for a way to help. IRC works to help refugees restart their lives, providing food, water, shelter, and education to those who need it. (IRC has replaced my former favorite, UNHCR, because a higher percentage of the money they receive goes directly to funding their programs rather than toward other costs.) You can help too by donating here.

I hope this list inspires you to support women who are daring to make something good out of their lives!  Do you have any other ways that you fight human trafficking or support women around the world?

My Top Ten(ish) All-Time Favorite Mysteries

Wanting to pick up some new mysteries? This post is for you! I'm linking up to share my top ten favorite mysteries. | NewberyandBeyond.com
I’m linking up with the Broke and Bookish for today’s Top Ten Tuesday post!

It’s no secret that I love mysteries and have for my entire life. So when I saw that Broke & Bookish themselves chose mysteries for their TTT prompt this week, I knew I had to join in. Since I’ve read such a wide variety of mysteries, I’m going to segment my favorites into groups. If you want to get into mysteries, I think at least one of these will catch your interest!

If you’re looking for a cozy mystery, check out:

  • The Oxford Tearoom series [review copy]. I’ve said many times before how much I enjoy this series of cozies. Gemma is a tea shop owner in Oxford who keeps stumbling upon murders. The setting and characters really shine, and the mysteries are fresh (a rarity for cozy mysteries).
  • The Needlecraft Mystery series. If you’re into cozy mysteries, this series by Monica Ferris is for you. Amateur sleuth and needlework shop owner Betsy is a lot of fun to follow, and the other inhabitants of her small Minnesota town are quirky and sweet. This series is not without its flaws, but it is full of fun, quick, satisfying mysteries.
  • Thus Was Adonis Murdered. This very British mystery revolves around a hapless, clueless barrister on vacation. When she is implicated in a murder, her coworkers back home have to help her out of the mess she’s gotten into. Lighthearted and fun.

If you’re looking for children’s or YA mysteries, start with:

  • The Westing Game. This Newbery book is a classic, and I absolutely love it. It’s convoluted and creepy, but in a way that’s fun and not too frightening.
  • The Three Investigators series. This series of books by Alfred Hitchcock (or at least produced under his brand) was one of my favorites as a kid. It might take a little searching to find them, but if you can get your hands on these books, you (or your child) will probably love the fun adventures the three boys find themselves on.
  • The Dana Girls series. Although I loved the Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew series as a kid, the Dana Girls were much more interesting to read about. It’s been a while since I picked up one of these books, so there are likely some outdated and possibly offensive elements within that I’ve forgotten about. Still, I think they’re worth a read if you can get your hands on them.
  • Jackaby. Sherlock Holmes meets Doctor Who. Need I say more? (Bonus: the author has written two sequels so far, and I believe there are more still to come for this series.)
  • The Case of the Cursed Dodo [review copy]. Such a cute mystery! It involves a panda detective, some awesome illustrations, and a fun play on the hardboiled PI tropes.
  • Murder is Bad Manners. This is a great start to a series that revolves around two girls at an English boarding school. Fun and not too creepy.

If you’d rather read a mystery written for adults, look into:

  • The Flavia de Luce series. Although these books have a child protagonist, they are clearly written for adults. Flavia is rude and nosy in the best way, and she ends up poking her nose into matters that are really none of her business. Still, her love of chemistry and her trusty bicycle get her out of most of her scrapes and help her solve mysteries that baffle the adults around her.
  • The Likeness. This book sucked me in. The intense relationships between the characters and the blurring of lines around the undercover detective involved will keep you guessing and turning pages until the very end. I’m looking forward to reading Tana French’s sequel Faithful Place soon.
  • Tommy and Tuppence. Whether you check out The Secret Adversary or my personal favorite N or M?, Agatha Christie’s mystery-solving secret agent couple are sure to bring a smile to your face. The Tommy and Tuppence books are a little more action-packed than Christie’s other novels, so if you’re not sure about taking on the classic Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot mysteries, Tommy and Tuppence are a good place to start.
  • The Junior Bender series. This series has a lot of action and comedy to supplement its mysteries. The characters are fun and unusual, too. Definitely worth checking out.

If your taste in mysteries leans more toward thrillers, read:

  • The Passenger [review copy]. I think of this book as the better version of Girl on the Train. Definitely check it out if you liked that book.
  • All the Missing Girls [review copy]. A murder mystery told backward, this book is another that will keep you guessing till the very end.

Bonus: Here are my top seven favorite murder mystery TV shows–in case you can’t get enough mysteries in your life! (These are all currently available on Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Amazon Prime.)

  • Castle
  • Death in Paradise
  • Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
  • Rosemary and Thyme
  • Broadchurch
  • Sherlock
  • Veronica Mars

What are your favorite mysteries (books or TV shows)? Let me know in the comments–I’m always on the hunt for my next favorite mystery!

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