Top Ten Things Books Have Made Me Want to Do

Linking up with Broke & Bookish to share the top ten things books have made me want to do or learn. | NewberyandBeyond.com
This post is part of the Top Ten Tuesday meme by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s TTT prompt is all about things that books have made me want to do or learn in real life. I love this! So often, books inspire me to try something new, and in some cases, I have. Many of these books are nonfiction (their ideas are easy to turn into projects), but a few are fiction books that have inspired me nonetheless.

  1. The Year of Reading Dangerously. Although I thought this book was just okay, it inspired me to make my own list of classics that I’ve skipped out on and challenge myself to actually read them. (If you want to join me, link up with me here!)
  2. Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day. The author’s adventures in famous tourist cities using only an outdated book as a guide sounded super fun! I’d still like to try it one day.
  3. I tend to hate poetry, but Maya Angelou: The Complete Poetry made me want to try reading a bit more. (The poetry of Langston Hughes is now on my classics list.)
  4. #GIRLBOSS made me want to stretch myself in my business ventures.
  5. Pretty Good Number One. This book that I was sent for review (by one of my favorite podcasters!) made me desperately want to travel to Tokyo and eat all. the. food.
  6. The Palest Ink (another review copy) made me realize how little I know about the history of Asian countries and made me want to learn more.
  7. Ready Player One. I never thought I’d say a book made me want to play video games, but this one did.
  8. Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery. This amazing children’s book gave me a fascinating glimpse into Eleanor Roosevelt’s life and made me want to learn everything I could about her.
  9. Roller Girl made me want to learn about roller derby. I’d never want to participate (yikes!), but I’d love to watch a match.
  10. 10% Happier. I found this book really interesting. It actually inspired me to give meditation (basically mindfulness training for your brain) a try.

What new things have books inspired you to learn or do? Leave your TTT links in the comments; I’d love to check them out!

Ten Facts About Me + July Small Goals + What I’m Into

Ten facts about me, plus my (overdue) small goals for July and my "what I'm into" contribution for June. | NewberyandBeyond.com
.

I’m linking up with the Broke & the Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday, writes like a girl for my July small goals, and Leigh Kramer for my monthly what I’m into.

I’m so behind on all my monthly link ups! (I blame my 4th of July vacation.) So I decided to combine my link ups into one big post. If you’re one of those people who likes seeing behind the scenes of the blog, you’re going to love this post.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Facts You Should Know About Me

  1. I was born in Nebraska, spent some time living in Texas, Georgia, and Tennessee, and currently live in Florida. I never know what to say when people ask me where I’m from.
  2. My husband and I own two gerbils named Ethel and Millie. One day we’ll have cats (once we’re no longer living with our deathly-allergic roommate!).
  3. I’m afraid of whales. Why? Because they’re enormous, and that freaks me out.
  4. Animal friends are my favorite. I love seeing pictures of different species hanging out together.
  5. I actually hate coffee. (Hot tea forever!)
  6. I play Neko Atsume. Yes, I’ve collected all the cats.
  7. When I was in college, I went on a four-day trip to visit thirteen states with some friends. It was such a ridiculous idea, but some of my fondest college memories came out of that trip.
  8. I like to cross stitch. Mostly because I’m too impatient to learn to knit better.
  9. I don’t have any piercings or tattoos because I’m phobic about needles.
  10. I’ve never met a fruit I didn’t like.

July Small Goals

First, a review of my June goals. I actually did pretty well this month!

  • Plan a staycation. Done! And this was so fun. My husband and I spent several days going to the beach, visiting the local wildlife park, and eating at new local restaurants. It was relaxing, fun, and cheap (three of my favorite words!).
  • Contact our wedding cake baker. Also done! The cake is ordered, and we should be receiving it a few days after our anniversary this month.

Goals for July (now that we’re halfway through):

  • Celebrate my third anniversary with my husband. Three years doesn’t sound like much, I admit, but I’m still surprised at how quickly they went!
  • Work on my hand lettering. I’ve just gotten into this, and I’m really excited about it. I’m not very good, but I’m hoping to get better!
  • Type up a chord and scale sheet for my students. I have a few students who are starting to work on their technical skills, and I’m having a hard time remembering what each one is doing. I want to make a chart of some kind to track their progress.

What I’m Into

Books I’m looking forward to reading: The Princess Problem by Rebecca Hains; Magyk by Angie Sage; Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante by Susan Elia MacNeal.

TV shows I’ve been watching: My husband and I are making our way through the newest collection of Good Eats on Netflix. Alton Brown knows how to make cooking (and even science) fun.

Music I’m loving: I created a singalong playlist on my Spotify account that’s full of old favorites from my high school and college days. When I’m upset or stressed, I crank it up and destress!

Podcasts I’m listening to: The maelstrom of political talk online is no good for my sanity, so I’ve turned to the Pant Suit Politics podcast for my political news. I’ve just started listening, but so far I’m loving it. The two women who run the show (one on the left, one on the right) are polite and thoughtful even in their disagreements, and they keep me apprised of the latest political happenings without the vitriol that’s so prevalent elsewhere.

My favorite Instagram:

NewberyandBeyond.com
Feeding the birds on vacation

If you’d like to follow me on Instagram (I post lots of book pictures and the occasional selfie), 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 Books That Have Under 2000 Ratings

Linking up with Broke & Bookish to share my top ten bookworm delights. | NewberyandBeyond.com
This post is part of the Top Ten Tuesday meme by The Broke and the Bookish.

I love to promote books that I’ve enjoyed that haven’t gotten the attention they should! Here’s my list of the best books I’ve read recently that have fewer than 2,000 ratings on Goodreads. (A couple of these are review copies or ARCs that I was given for free in exchange for an honest review–those are marked below with the signifier review copy. As always, all opinions are my own.)

  • Travel Far, Pay No Fare by Anne Lindbergh (107 ratings). A fun children’s novel about a magical bookmark that allows the kids to go into the stories. So fun!
  • Warlock Holmes – A Study in Brimstone by G.S. Denning (108 ratings). [Review copy–review coming soon!] This supernatural retelling of the Sherlock Holmes story is pretty funny. It’s brand new, so word hasn’t yet spread about how fun it is.
  • My Holiday in North Korea by Wendy E. Simmons (199 ratings). I can’t even explain how much I enjoyed this book. It’s hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time. If you want a look into one of the most closed off countries in the world (complete with tons of photos), you need to read this.
  • Excellent Daughters by Katherine Zoepf (299 ratings). A really well done book about women’s varied experiences living in the Arab world. It’s fascinating and disconcerting.
  • Untangled by Lisa Damour (345 ratings). I’ve said it before: I’m sticking this book in a file for later, when I have a teenage daughter of my own. It’s packed with great information and stories about teenagers and how to help them grow and learn.
  • A Scone to Die For by H.Y. Hanna (474 ratings). [Review copy] A fun, fresh cozy mystery set in Oxford. Definitely worth a look if you’re into mysteries as much as I am.
  • Pretty Good Number One by Matthew Amster-Burton (662 ratings). [Review copy] This love letter to Japan will make you want to visit and eat all the things Matthew and his family eat.
  • Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood and Meg Hunt (1,370 ratings). An adorable picture-book retelling of Cinderella, set in space. So cute!
  • Pick Your Poison by Leann Sweeney (1,463 ratings). I ordered this fun cozy mystery in anticipation of my vacation this week. It was a ton of fun and packed with southern sayings and that Texas feel.
  • Murder Is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens (1,599 ratings). This book was awesome! (Review to come soon.) It’s a murder mystery set at an English boarding school, and I can’t wait to read the second one in the series.

What lesser-known books do you recommend? Let me know in the comments!

June Small Goals

I'm sharing my June small goals in today's linkup post. | NewberyandBeyond.com
.

I’m linking up with Nicole from writes like a girl to share my June small goals.

So it’s June, and summer is officially here (although in Florida summer starts a good six weeks before June does). I’ve got some goals for the summer that I’m super excited about, but first I’ll review my goals for May.

 

  1. Complete my 25 good deeds for my 25th birthday. Done! I’m hoping to write a blog post about this eventually.
  2. Reflect on the past year of my life. Yep! I made a list of the things I’ve learned and the things I’m most proud of from the past year.
  3. Create new games for my music students. My kids were super excited about the musical truth or dare game I brought them this month.
  4. Participate in Armchair BEA. Yes, and this was SO. FUN. I wrote discussion posts (you can read them here, here, here, here, and here), discovered my new love of bookstagramming, and even won a few books in the giveaways. Someday I’ll make it to the physical BEA conference, but I was amazed at how fun this virtual get together was.
  5. Watch Hamilton. Not yet. It’s still on my list, but the mood just hasn’t struck me yet.

Goals for June:

  1. Plan a staycation. Much as we like to travel, money is tight for me and my husband this year, so we’re going to have a staycation at the end of this month. I’m really excited to explore some cheap local places that we rarely have time to see during our daily lives.
  2. Contact our wedding cake baker. My only regret from my wedding (almost three years ago) is that I only got one bite of our gorgeous, delicious wedding cake. I’m hoping I can order a small cake for our anniversary this summer so we can actually enjoy it.

 

What are your small goals for June? Let me know in the comments!

ABEA: Fictional Worlds

Which fictional worlds would you like to live in? Which ones would you not survive? That's today's ABEA post. | NewberyandBeyond.com
.

Today’s ABEA topic is about surviving fictional worlds. As someone who reads a lot of dystopian fiction, I know of plenty of worlds I would never want to visit! Here’s my quick list of worlds I don’t think I could survive.

  • Hunger GamesBecause obviously.
  • Life After Life. Having to live my life over and over again until I got it right? Sounds good in theory, but I don’t think I’d enjoy that in practice.
  • DivergentYeah, nope. I would probably die in training.
  • The Age of MiraclesI loved this fascinating book, but I would never want to live in a world in which the earth actually stopped turning.
  • The MartianBeing stranded alone in space is pretty much my second worst nightmare (the first one being drowning in a Titanic-esque wreck).
  • DuneDesert planet, giant worms, and political drama? No thank you.

 

On the other hand, there are a few fictional worlds (even some dystopian ones!) that I think I might be okay with living in. Here’s that list.

  • Sharon CreechCreech’s worlds are down home countryside and slightly magical. Love, love, love them.
  • Lunar ChroniclesThis is one dystopian world I think I could actually survive. Especially if I can hang out with Cinder, Cress, and the rest of the gang.
  • Bee and Puppycat. I never got around to posting a review of this awesome, adorable comic that I got for Christmas, but it is amazing. I would love to go on crazy adventures with Bee and Puppycat and then hang out and eat chips with them afterward.
  • JackabyThese paranormal YA mysteries, a cross between Sherlock and Doctor Who, really make me smile. I want to investigate paranormal creatures with a possibly crazy detective.
  • Ready Player OneAnother dystopian world that I think I could survive (although I wouldn’t necessarily want to go there if I had the choice). Sure, I’m no good at video games right now, but if that was my only escape from a desperately poor neighborhood, I would probably get better.
  • The Girl from EverywhereTime traveling ship with mythical enhancements and fascinating (and attractive) shipmates? Sign me up!

 

What worlds would you want to live in? Or which ones would you rather stay far away from?

May Small Goals

It's my birth month! I'm kicking off the celebration by sharing my May small goals. | NewberyandBeyond.com
.

I’m linking up with Nicole from writes like a girl to share my May goals.

I’m always excited when May rolls around, mostly because I get to celebrate my birthday this month! I’m thrilled to be turning 25, and in honor of that, I’m keeping this month’s goals light and happy. But first, I’ll check in with how I did on last month’s goals.

  1. Get my students ready for their recital. This year’s recital was awesome. I was so proud of all my students and their hard work on their music.
  2. Select the 25 good deeds that I want to do for my 25th birthday. I’ve got them all picked out! Now I just need to get started on them.
  3. Double date with my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. Nope, this didn’t get done. A lack of time and money kept me and my husband from completing this goal. It’s going on the future goals list.
  4. Finish reading the books on my Kindle. Check! I’ve cleared out plenty of space on my Kindle, and just yesterday I requested books from the library for the first time in six weeks.

 

So 4/5 isn’t too bad. Now, my goals for my birthday month!

  1. Complete my 25 good deeds for my 25th birthday. I’ve picked them all out, and now I need to get started. I always feel so loved and celebrated on my birthday (by my friends and family, of course, but also by all the free food I tend to collect!), and I want to share that love with others this month.
  2. Reflect on the past year of my life. I used to do this every year around New Year’s Day, but I’ve fallen out of the habit. I want to use my birthday this year to remember the good, the bad, and the learning experiences I’ve had this year.
  3. Create new games for my music students. My kids love to play games, and I like it too because it keeps them focused and having fun. I want to add at least a couple new games for them to play this month.
  4. Participate in Armchair BEA. I’d love to have the time and money to attend this book expo (one day!), but until then, I’m looking forward to participating from afar through Armchair BEA. They offer blog post prompts, social media linkups, giveaways, and, of course, information from the event itself.
  5. Watch Hamilton. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this musical, but I haven’t yet taken the time to listen to any of the music. I’m planning to take some time to relax and watch or listen to it on YouTube.

 

What are your small goals for May? Let me know in the comments!

5 after 5: Best Books of 2016 (So Far)

I'm joining the 5 after 5 linkup to share the top five favorite books I've read in 2016 (so far). | NewberyandBeyond.com
.

I’m joining the 5 after 5 linkup to share my favorite books of 2016 (at least, so far). I’ve read some awesome books, so it was difficult to narrow it down, but after a lot of pondering, I think I can say that these were the best of the best for me.

  1. The Passenger. I’m not normally into thrillers, but this one kept me glued to the pages until I finished it. (Literally, I didn’t even put it down for dinner.) The character was likable, and the suspense was kept up to the very end of the book. Totally worth reading, even if (like me) thrillers aren’t usually your thing.
  2. Come, Thou Tortoise. I’ve had this book on my TBR list for so long that I forgot how it got there or why I thought it sounded interesting. But a copy ended up in my hands this month, and I absolutely adored it. The writing style is quirky, the characters are relatable, and there’s a lot of fun wordplay throughout a pretty sad story about loss and family and moving on.
  3. Untangled. I just reviewed this one on the blog in a wonderful roundup of ARCs about women. This book was insightful, interesting, and useful, especially if you work with or have teenage girls. I’m saving this one for future reference.
  4. The Secret Adversary. Gosh, I love Tommy and Tuppence. They’re such a sweet, fun couple (and a pretty progressive one for the time). This is, I believe, the first Tommy and Tuppence book Agatha Christie wrote, and it is wonderful. It’s more an adventure/spy story than the murder mystery Christie usually writes, but Tommy and Tuppence can pull it off. This story takes place when the pair are quite young, before they are married, and they take out an ad looking for work. Tuppence jokingly expects to be hired for criminal work, but to their surprise, she and Tommy are contacted by the government and are soon wrapped up in a dangerous, important undercover mission. I didn’t want this story to end!
  5. The Last Dragonslayer. I have yet to review this fun, sometimes hilarious look at modern-day magic, but I very much enjoyed it. It’s a quick YA read about a teenage girl who works at a magical business (despite not being able to do magic herself) and who finds herself called upon when the last known dragon appears to be dying. This book is touted as a great follow up for Harry Potter lovers, but it has a totally different feel from that series. I say that because I want you to enjoy this book on its own merits–it’s a really fun read. Can’t wait to read the rest of this series!

 

What books are your favorites from 2016 so far?

Top Ten Bookworm Delights

Linking up with Broke & Bookish to share my top ten bookworm delights. | NewberyandBeyond.com
.

This post is part of the Top Ten Tuesday meme by The Broke and the Bookish.

I just had to participate in this week’s prompt about the top bookworm delights. There are so many things I love about reading and reviewing books, and I just had to share them!

  1. That perfect sentence that makes you stop and reread. I don’t typically enjoy books that are heavy on style and light on plot, but every once in a while I’ll come across a sentence that is just so beautiful I have to stop and enjoy it before moving on.
  2. When an author you love reaches out to you. This happened to me when I put Matthew Amster-Burton’s book on my Christmas wish list, and he read my post and kindly sent me a review copy. It was probably no big deal to him, but it made my day.
  3. Owning a physical copy of a book you love. I don’t purchase many physical books anymore, mostly because we have an awesome library system and books are expensive. But when I read a book that I love, I definitely feel a need to have a copy of my own. Just seeing it on my shelf makes me happy.
  4. My Kindle. Although I do love physical copies of books (see above), I have to say it–I love my Kindle. It makes “packing” books for travel or breaks at work so easy. I never need to be afraid about running out of things to read!
  5. Watching a movie adaptation of a book and complaining about it later. I get that this is annoying to the people who haven’t read the book, so I do try to limit my complaining to a select few bookish friends. But when we get together, it’s so fun to dissect the good, the bad, and the missing from a movie adaptation.
  6. Fangirling with bookish friends. I’m lucky enough to have a few IRL friends, as well as several online groups, who have similar bookish interests and a desire to swap notes about our latest favorites (or books that we hated, whichever).
  7. Carrying a massive stack of books home from the library. Enough said.
  8. When you’re approved to read the newest ARC from a favorite author. I was thrilled when I got to read Better Than Before before its publication date.
  9. Books as gifts. I’m easy to buy presents for–hand me a copy of your favorite book, or an Amazon gift card, and I’ll be good to go!
  10. I’m never bored. Whether I’m taking a hard copy to work, reading my Kindle on an airplane, listening to an audiobook in my car, or flipping through a Scribd book on my phone in a waiting room, I’m never at loose ends as long as I have a book with me.

 

What are your favorite things about being a bookworm? (If you leave a link to your TTT post, I’d be glad to check it out!)

10 Books that Will Make You Laugh

Looking for books that will make you laugh? I've got them here. | NewberyandBeyond.com
.

This post is part of the Top Ten Tuesday meme by The Broke and the Bookish.

I absolutely love a book that can make me laugh, so I had no trouble coming up with the ten books you should read when you want a good laugh. Some are memoirs, some are classics, some are sci fi, but they’re all laugh-out-loud funny.

  1. The Martian. Humor keeps this high-stakes book from ever getting too depressing or intense. Mark Watney is a character with a great sense of humor.
  2. Texts from Jane Eyre. If you’re having a stressful week, I highly recommend flipping through this book. It’s made up of text conversations between book characters from famous novels, as well as authors themselves. The convos are funny even if you aren’t familiar with the book they’re parodying, but they’re hilarious if you do.
  3. Good Omens. This pairing of fantastic SFF writers Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett couldn’t help but be amazing. And it is quite funny. It pokes fun at everything from the apocalypse to rock music.
  4. The Importance of Being Earnest. I love this play (not something I usually say; I hate reading plays as a general rule), and it’s a quick read. The wordplay, the characters, the ridiculous situations… Awesome! (And the movie is just as good.)
  5. You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost). Felicia Day is a geeky heroine, and when you read her book, it’s easy to see why. She’s open about her struggles and her quirks, but she keeps things lighthearted. Her stories of her strange life and her handmade illustrations will definitely make you laugh.
  6. Bossypants. Tina Fey is one of the funniest people on television, and her memoir is great, too. It’s filled with awkward childhood moments and stories of her life in comedy. If you like Tina Fey, this book is for you.
  7. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This SFF classic is absurd, bizarre, and just hilarious. You’ve probably read it, but it definitely holds up to re-reading. (And if you haven’t read it yet, get on that!)
  8. Hyperbole and a Half. I’ve talked before about how much I love this book, and how my husband and I sat down to read it together, sometimes laughing so hard we cried. The illustrations and the stories work together perfectly. This is a must read (as long as you don’t mind a little language).
  9. Never Have I Ever. Katie’s journey through the ups and downs of dating (or rather, not dating) is hilarious no matter what kind of relationship you’re in (or not in). This one made me laugh out loud.
  10. Year Zero. Reminiscent of Hitchhiker’s Guide, this book talks about what happens when aliens who are addicted to Earth’s music become aware of copyright laws. It’s ridiculous and fun.

 

What’s on your list of laugh-out-loud books? (If you leave a link to your TTT post, I’d love to check it out!)

Top Ten Books I Read in 2015

NewberyandBeyond.com
.

This post is part of the Top Ten Tuesday meme by The Broke and the Bookish.

I’ve read some awesome books this year, and I had some real difficulty narrowing them down into the top ten books I read in 2015! As I perused my list of books read this year, I searched my five-star reviews for the books that swept me away, the ones that didn’t put me down, books that I remember very clearly where I was when I read them. Some are from my top ten books of the first half of the year, but others are brand new. This is what I ended up with.

  1. Better Than Before. I was thrilled early this year when I was approved for a NetGalley copy of this book. I’ve been a fan of Gretchen Rubin’s work ever since she first published The Happiness Project, and I’m a sucker for books about habit formation. This book hit all the right buttons for me.
  2. Cress and Winter. It may be cheating to put both of these books in one entry, but it’s my list so I’ll do what I want! I’ve said again and again how much I enjoyed the Lunar Chronicles series, and these two books really hit it out of the park. I got a library copy of Winter right before leaving town for my sister’s wedding, and I was so into it that I kept staying up too late and waking up too early just so I could sneak in another six chapters.
  3. Life After Life. I remember driving home from work one day when I was only a few pages from the end of this book, and I finished it in my car in the parking lot of our apartment complex because I couldn’t wait long enough to walk upstairs to our apartment. Enough said.
  4. The Shame of the Nation. Powerful, eye-opening, and heartbreaking. I read tidbits of this book aloud to my husband whenever he was nearby.
  5. Blackout and All Clear. You guys already know about my all-consuming love for Connie Willis and time travel historical fiction. I lugged these doorstoppers around, along with a cup of tea, and only wished they could have been longer.
  6. Texts from Jane Eyre. I picked up this book at a stressful time, and I tore through it. I remember sitting on the couch with my husband, both of us laughing out loud as we read through the texts. So good.
  7. Eleanor Roosevelt. This book made me want to be Eleanor Roosevelt. She is my role model.
  8. The Martian. Funny, action-packed, with a great movie adaptation to boot. I loved this so much that I gave a copy to my dad, and apparently he couldn’t put it down either.
  9. Everything, Everything. I could not put this book down. I remember shushing my husband when he came home from work because I was almost to the end of the book, and then bombarding him with the plot intricacies as soon as I was finished.
  10. The Age of Miracles. I read this book on the train to and from Vienna. It was a fascinating book, and despite the fun day we had exploring Vienna, I almost couldn’t wait to get back on the train to finish reading it.

This year was a great year for me in terms of reading. I became a lot quicker at putting down books I wasn’t enjoying, even books that I “should” have read. (Sorry, Kavalier and Clay, you just weren’t for me.) And I was fortunate enough to check out tons of books from our awesome library system and receive several ARCs I had been dying to read. Here’s hoping that 2016 even comes close to the sheer awesomeness of this year’s top ten books!

Do you have any of the same books on your best of 2015 list? Let me know in the comments!

Scroll To Top
%d bloggers like this: