Posted in Book Talk

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Recommend for Classroom Reading

Hey y’all! Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish question idea that was originally created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, from way back in June 2010! Since January 2018, Top Ten Tuesday has been hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Thanks for taking it over! The idea is to make a list of ten books or bookish things on different topics each week. Check out her site for details on how to join and what the upcoming prompts are. 😊 You can also see all the posts from other bloggers linked on each weekly post on their main site.

This week’s prompt is a freebie that can be school themed. As a teacher in the past with a lot of friends who still teach, I’m often thinking about what books I’d recommend to them to use with their students or have in the classroom for any free reading time. I’m going to try to list books for multiple classes, because “English class” is such an easy obvious one and there can be so much more range!!

The Books

The classrooms

History: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

I don’t know about y’all, but I had never heard about the Wilhelm Gustloff, but this book is a piece of history where you know the ending and the stories to get there are so bittersweet because of it.

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Posted in Reviews

Review: The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Recommended: ugh, yes
For lovers of meta trope silliness that’s a bit tongue in cheek, for lovers of fake-dating romances, for people in that academia life who want the thrill of love in it (though according to this book none of those people will have time to read anyway 😔)


As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor–and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford’s reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding…six-pack abs.

Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.


Ahhhh, shit. I liked it. There was so much hype that I fully did not expect to. Also I kind of hate the cover for some reason? Though I get it now. I guess it looks too much like the guy is confused and not into it, and I don’t like that vibe in a story, but that’s not where this one goes.

I loved how the common tropes were acknowledged and teasingly turned on their head at times. Rom-coms exist in this universe, and the characters know about the fake-dating tropes and associated perils. It was such a fun aspect for an avid reader of rom-coms and romance. ☺

Part of my original hesitation on this book was the expectation that it would be the same old story of the one perky outgoing character and the one reclusive character (sunshine and grump, basically). It kiiind of was, but I think it also developed both leads into more than their assigned stereotypes. There was friendship for each of them on both sides, and other relationships that mattered. Part of the fun, as always in the trope, is the discovery of each other as more nuanced than they first thought.

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Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Not-So-Uniform Life of Holly-Mei, 4/5/22

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is The Not-So-Uniform Life of Holly-Mei by Christina Matula!
Expected Release: April 5, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • Hong Kong is a thrilling place for so many reasons. It has such a wide variety of landscape and lifestyle, and SO MANY PEOPLE in such a small area. I love stories set there because it seems almost impossible for the setting to not matter. Hong Kong is vibrant even in books. ^.^
  • Holly-Mei sounds extremely likable, and I don’t always read books with likeable characters. Just this once, it would be really nice to have a character I can easily cheer for who values and shares kindness. ^.^
  • Ahh, middle school drama! Even in my fairly easy time of it, I saw first- or second-hand some of the truly serious problems kids can have in those years. Friendship, sex, drugs, abuse, self-harm, identity… it is RIFE with things that can go wrong. I don’t think Holly-Mei is going quite down such a dark path, but I do think navigating friendships (or enemy…ships) can be very tricky on its own.


Holly-Mei Jones couldn’t be more excited about moving to Hong Kong for her mother’s job. Her new school is right on the beach and her family’s apartment is beyond beautiful. Everything is going to be perfect . . . right?

Maybe not. It feels like everywhere she turns, there are new rules to follow and expectations to meet. On top of that, the most popular girl in her grade is quickly becoming a frenemy. And without the guidance of her loving Ah-ma, who stayed behind in Toronto, Holly-Mei just can’t seem to get it right.

It will take all of Holly-Mei’s determination and sparkle (and maybe even a tiny bit of stubbornness) to get through seventh grade and turn her life in Hong Kong into the ultimate adventure!

Posted in Reviews

Review: Again, but Better by Christine Riccio

Again, but Better by Christine Riccio – ⭐⭐

Recommended: no
Not recommended because this book promised big things and didn’t deliver. Stay away if you like romance, likable characters, or critical plot points that aren’t so gaping with holes they look like Swiss cheese.

Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal—but Shane’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that? Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. She needs a change, so signs up for a semester abroad in London. She’s going to fix all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure! She is soon faced with the complications of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart. Shane finds that with courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic—the possibilities are endless.

The more I thought about this book, the less I liked it. I had a fairly unique experience because I was reading it as an ebook in an app that doesnt show progress in the book, so I had no idea when I was getting close to the end. WELL, for anyone who has also read this book, that becomes fairly critical. It’s also really hard to talk about this without spoilers so I’ll have to be a little vague in some places.

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Posted in Reviews

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
This whole illustrated series has been amazing. Can’t wait to re-live it for the trials. 😍

Recommended: of course!!!
For anyone reading for the first for fiftieth time, for everyone because the power of the art is incredible in this, adding drama without taking away from imagination

The whole thing is gorgeous, I promise

Harry Potter wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup with Hermione, Ron, and the Weasleys. He wants to dream about Cho Chang, his crush (and maybe do more than dream). He wants to find out about the mysterious event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn’t happened for a hundred years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. Unfortunately for Harry Potter, he’s not normal – even by wizarding standards. And in this case, different can be deadly.

It feels weird to review a Harry Potter book, because what could I possibly say that isn’t already widely known already? So instead of a focus on the plot so much, I’ll focus on the fact that this is the illustrated version. I knew this one would be a beast, since book four is significantly longer than the ones up to this point, and sure enough it took Jim Kay, the illustrator, two years to complete rather than the one year schedule I’d grown accustomed to. I know better than to rush him or grow impatient though, because what was delivered is incredible!

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Posted in Reviews

A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai

A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai – ⭐⭐⭐

Recommended: sure
For those curious about Indian matchmaking customs, for a quick cute-enough read

I find this quite a cute cover

Fifteen-year-old Simran “Simi” Sangha comes from a long line of Indian vichole-matchmakers, who are intensely excited to discover Simi accidentally sets up an excellent match in the family. But Simi is an artist, and she refuses to spend her life in the outdated family business… until her best friend Noah convinces her it’s the key to finding popularity. Armed with her family’s ancient guide to finding love, Simi starts a matchmaking service-via an app, of course. When the top match sets up the new girl with the school’s star soccer player, Simi turns the high school hierarchy topsy-turvy, soon making herself public enemy number one.

I definitely enjoyed this book, and it was a pretty quick read for me. I’ve been looking forward to it for months and was really excited to finally get a copy! It was about what I expected: a lightweight feel-good read with a focus on characters over events.

Continue reading “A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai”