Top Ten Tuesday: Holiday reads

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today’s theme is holiday reads, or books you like to read during the holidays. I don’t do re-reads, so I don’t really have anything I typically read during the holidays. Instead, here are ten books I’m planning to read over the holidays this year!

All the F*cking Mistakes by Gigi Engle

I’m actually really excited about this one! I’m planning to read it on and off while traveling this holiday season.

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

I really want to get caught up on my ARCs over the holidays. I love Christina Lauren and I really don’t know why I haven’t read this one yet!

The Last Hope by Krista & Becca Ritchie

I was really excited about this series, but then I read a different book by Krista & Becca that I really did not like, so I’m less excited. It’s been a few months since this one came out, though, so I need to just read it.

Who Put This Song On? by Morgan Parker

This book sounds really good, but it just keeps getting pushed to the bottom of my TBR. This is another ARC that’s very much past due.

Every Reason We Shouldn’t by Sara Fujimura

This is the last ARC on my list. With this one, I’ll be totally caught up! I don’t feel so bad about taking forever to read this one since it doesn’t release until next spring.

The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

I’m really excited to find out what happens next in this story! I wasn’t 100% convinced by the first book in this series until the ending, and I’ve been waiting ever since for this book to come out.

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

I have heard so many great things about this book! It sounds like it’ll be exactly the kind of book I love.

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

I’ve been looking forward to this book since I first heard about it! I’ve had a hold on it at my library forever and supposedly it’ll only be about three more weeks.

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

Another book I’ve heard really great things about is Fix Her Up! It’s been a really long time since I read a great romance, so I’m kind of just planning to read everything I’ve heard good things about.

Talk to Me by Clare James

I think this is going to be the next buddy read I do with my boyfriend! It’ll also count for one of my reading challenges.

Did you do your own Top Ten Tuesday post today? Feel free to leave your link in the comments and I’ll check it out! What are you planning to read this holiday season? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Cookbooks I’m thankful for

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today’s theme is a thankful freebie, and quite honestly, I’m running out of post ideas for this one. I’ve previously done blog-related things I’m thankful for, book bloggers I’m thankful for, books I’m thankful for

So, since Thanksgiving is all about the cooking, here are five cookbooks I’m thankful for and five cookbooks I’d be thankful to receive.

five cookbooks I’m thankful for

I just checked Goodreads, and apparently I only gave Homemade Pantry three stars when I got it. Well, flipping through it, I can’t help but be thankful for it. This is a cookbook that shows you that you don’t have to go out and buy everything that you use on a daily basis. A lot of things can be made from scratch, and for a lot cheaper than you can you buy it in a store. I’m definitely going to be trying the homemade vanilla extract recipe.

I have no choice but to include Betty Crocker’s Cookbook on this list. This is the cookbook that taught me how to bake pretty much everything. The first recipe I made from this cookbook was muffins — I think I was eight years old — and I’ve since made pancakes, waffles, biscuits, cookies, and more.

Dumplings are honestly one of my favorite foods, so learning the basics of wrapping and cooking them from Hey There, Dumpling! is something I can’t help but be thankful for.

I also really love Korean food, and it is expensive if you want to get it made right. (One time having cheap bibimbap was enough for me, thanks.) Thankfully, Koreatown is here to save the day.

Last but certainly not least is Sugar Rebels, a gift from my boyfriend that never fails to amaze me (and look great on a shelf). I’ve only made one recipe out of this cookbook so far, but it got rave reviews and I can’t wait to make more. This is the kind of cookbook you turn to when you want to bake something that’s going to impress a crowd.

five cookbooks I’d be thankful to receive

While I’m definitely not vegan, I appreciate a good vegan meal. In fact, there’s a great vegan restaurant just down the street from me and I’d probably eat there more often if my wallet would allow it. But anyway, I thought I Can Cook Vegan sounded kind of insulting when I first saw it in Barnes & Noble, but then I looked inside and those recipes look amazing.

I’m still sad that I never took a Milk Bar cooking class before I left New Jersey, so having Christina Tosi’s cookbook is probably the next best option.

I used to read the Serious Eats blog obsessively back in the day, and I’ve wanted to own The Food Lab ever since it was released. It’s just so expensive! One of these days it’ll be on my shelf.

Another food blog I love is Smitten Kitchen. I couldn’t even tell you how many times I’ve made Deb’s zucchini fritters. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook has been on my Christmas list for years.

The last cookbook on my list is from another food blog — Budget Bytes. I think Budget Bytes is basically the only reason I survived college. It taught me a lot of kitchen basics and a lot of staple recipes, some of which I still make all these years later. The best part, of course, is that all of Beth’s recipes are cheap. You’re not going out and buying luxury ingredients for any of her recipes, but they don’t taste cheap. This is one cookbook that I know I’d use regularly.

Did you do your own Top Ten Tuesday post today? Feel free to leave your link in the comments and I’ll check it out! Do you have any favorite cookbooks or any that you want to buy? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Changes in my reading life

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today’s theme is changes in my reading life, and it’s finally a topic that I’m excited to write about! My reading life has changed a lot since I first started this blog, so, without further ado, here are ten of those changes.

I greatly limit the number of ARCs I request

It was way back in the dark ages of 2013 when I found out that you could ask publishers for free books and they’d just… give them to you, with basically no questions asked. I requested everything. Anything that sounded even remotely interesting was good enough for me.

“Oh, I’ve heard of that author!” REQUEST.
“I love that cover!” REQUEST.
“I sort of care about this topic!” REQUEST.
“10,000 other people have requested this, it must be good!” REQUEST.

It was a disaster.

One thing I’ve learned that I don’t think makes a ton of sense is that the more requests you make, the more books you’re going to get accepted for. Maybe it’s Murphy’s Law of Book Blogging? There were plenty of times when I’d be good and just request one or two books in a month. I’d inevitably be denied. But without fail, if I sat there and requested ten books in one sitting, I’d be approved for like eight of them, and they’d all be releasing right around the same time. That is very stressful for me.

So I stopped. I have a few ARCs that I need to get through, but very few are ARCs that I actually requested. Which brings me to my next point…

I also greatly limit the number of ARCs I accept

The first few times I got emails or Goodreads messages asking me to review a book, I was super excited. (And honestly, I still am. It makes me feel really fancy.) I said yes because oh my goodness, an author or publisher knows I exist. Saying yes to every request is a really good way to get really overwhelmed, really quickly. “It’s just a book or two!” I thought to myself. But “just a book or two” adds up really quickly, especially when you take into account ARCs that you’re requesting and other books that you want to read.

So, even though it makes me feel fancy, I decline most review requests now. Not only can I admit to myself that I just don’t have the time, but I also know that if I feel pressured to read a book, I probably won’t enjoy it as much, and that’s just not fair to the author.

I listen to a ton of audiobooks now

Audiobooks and I have a long and complicated relationship. I was really into them for about two minutes when I was in college, because I realized that I could listen to them while I was walking to class. I quickly realized that they were also very expensive, and I’m pretty sure that streaming audiobooks through Overdrive was not a thing in 2010. So I stopped.

I would sometimes listen to audiobooks if the print or ebook copy wasn’t available, or if there was a nonfiction book I really wanted to read but didn’t think I’d have the motivation to actually flip through, but I mostly avoided audiobooks until recently.

Now, I am obsessed. I listen to, on average, four to seven audiobooks a week. They help me focus on my job so much more, which I never would have believed, but it’s true. I’m also a lot happier with my TBR since I’m crossing books off right and left!

I borrow most of my books from the library

When I first started blogging, I was new to New Jersey and didn’t even have a library card yet. I got a lot of books from Goodreads giveaways and bought the rest. (I think I still have some books that I bought back then that I haven’t read yet.)

These days, it’s pretty rare for me to buy a book. I mean, sure, I’ll preorder books from my favorite authors or buy books from authors I really want to support, but most of the books I read are borrowed. I love libraries.

I tend to avoid dystopian novels and hardly read any erotica

If you look at what I read when I started this blog, it’s very different from what I read now.

Some reviews from that first year or so were Red Rising, Kallocain, Under My Skin, and Unwind. While I loved Red Rising at the time and more or less enjoyed the other three, they’re definitely not the type of book that I’m rushing out to find now.

After that dystopian stage, I moved on to erotica. I read a lot of erotica. 2016 and 2017 were The Erotica Years. Some were good, most were bad, and then I just kind of stopped. And I will read the odd erotic novel every now and then, but I really hardly ever pick them up.

I don’t really do blog tours these days

Or, at least, I don’t really do reviews on blog tours anymore. Only in really specific cases. One other thing that’s different is that on the rare occasion that I do participate in a blog tour, it’s with either a guest post or an author interview! The me from six years ago would never.

I’m a lot more honest in my reviews

I’ve done a couple posts (here and here) on books I’d rate differently now, and I think a lot of it comes down to me not being afraid to voice my opinion these days!

I’ve started doing buddy reads with my boyfriend

This is very recent, but it’s something I really love! We take turns reading to each other while we’re doing other things, and there’s a lot of commentary involved. It’s so much fun.

I read (or, I guess, listen to) a lot more nonfiction than I used to

I’ve had nonfiction waves in the past, where I’d read and listen to a ton of books on a specific subject. It was usually politics — I read Hillary Clinton’s What Happened, James Comey’s A Higher Loyalty, and Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury pretty much back-to-back — but I also had runs of books on feminism, celebrity memoirs, and books on linguistics. Generally, though, I’d read a couple nonfiction books a year and leave it at that.

Now, I get at least 40 hours a week to listen to audiobooks, so I’m much more willing to take a chance on something. Worst case scenario, I just use it to drown out the conversation happening next to me, the kids down the hall cheering, or the ten coworkers who are inevitably coughing and sneezing. In just a month or so, I’ve listened to a ton of memoirs, a book of scientific questions, a political book, a book on internet linguistics, and a true crime novel. (By the time this posts, I’ll probably have listened to more.)

I used to read mostly to escape from the stress in my life, and now I just read because I like it

I started this blog back in 2013, and you could say that my life was a little different then. I used to read so much because I’d go home and lock myself in my bedroom with a book (or three) and just try to calm down by losing myself in a fictional world.

I’m really happy to say that my life has almost zero stress now, and I read because I like it.

Did you do your own Top Ten Tuesday post today? Feel free to leave your link in the comments and I’ll check it out! Has anything changed in your reading life? Do we have any of the same changes? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite bookmarks

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today’s theme is favorite bookmarks… which is honestly not my favorite topic. I’m not sure where all my bookmarks ended up in my move, so here are ten things that I like to use as bookmarks when I don’t have an actual bookmark available.

  1. the dust cover
  2. receipts
  3. appointment cards
  4. envelopes
  5. post-it notes
  6. business cards
  7. a pen or pencil
  8. junk mail
  9. scrap paper
  10. and when all else fails, I save my page number on the Goodreads app

Did you do your own Top Ten Tuesday post today? Feel free to leave your link in the comments and I’ll check it out! What do you like to use for a bookmark? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books that give off autumn vibes

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today’s theme is books that give off autumn vibes… which we did two years ago, but that’s fine. Instead of content, today I’m going to go with covers in fall colors.

(my inspirational color palette)

I haven’t read all of these, but the ones I haven’t read are on my TBR!

Did you do your own Top Ten Tuesday post today? Feel free to leave your link in the comments and I’ll check it out! Have you read any of these books? Can you think of any more books with fall-colored covers? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books featuring spooky creatures

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today’s theme is a Halloween freebie and I’m going with books featuring spooky creatures! At first, like last year, I wanted to go with spooky books I’ve read, but then I realized there was no way I was going to get to ten with the tiny amount of spooky books I read. πŸ™‚ So here we go! Ten books that, while not necessarily spooky, feature some spooky creatures.

a possibly haunted doll

Doll Bones by Holly Black


City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger


Mooncakes by Wendy Xu & Suzanne Walker


The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness


Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

any creature you could think of is probably in this series

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan

Did you do your own Top Ten Tuesday post today? Feel free to leave your link in the comments and I’ll check it out! Have you read any of these books? Can you recommend any (not super spooky) books featuring spooky creatures? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d give different ratings to

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today’s theme is “books I’d give different titles to,” which honestly I think is a little bit mean? Personally, I’d never be able to give a book a catchy title (and I’m way too indecisive), so I give authors a lot of credit for coming up with book titles.

Instead, I’m going with books I’d give different ratings to. My tastes have changed a lot over the years, and there are plenty of books that I used to hate that I think I’d probably like more now, and plenty of books that I liked (or even loved) when I read them that I definitely would not enjoy anymore.

I did a post like this a few months ago, but here are ten more!

Subtle Bodies

original (2013) rating: β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†β˜†

For some reason, I used to be really hesitant to give books the one-star ratings they deserved. This book is definitely one of those. I hated this book. It was so bad. It was just a bunch of rich white men complaining about their lives.

The Biology of Luck

original (2014) rating: β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†β˜†

Another such book: The Biology of Luck. This book was awful, okay. Awful. In my review, I said, “I absolutely hated it, with a fiery burning passion, while I was reading it.” I also said that the ending was some nonsense. Definite one-star territory if I ever saw it.

Ruthless People

original (2014) rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†

To quote myself, “The writing is, in a word, awful.” Why did I give it three stars??

Red Rising

original (2014) rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Okay, so I don’t think I’d necessarily hate this book if I read it now, but I’m pretty sure that it wouldn’t be five stars. First of all, I just don’t love dystopian novels anymore, and second of all, I’m much pickier about writing style than I used to be.

Addicted to You

original (2015) rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†

Looking back, I think I gave this book three stars because I didn’t really know what to make of it. It’s difficult to read because it deals with two really self-destructive characters who constantly make terrible decisions. I’ve come to really like these characters, understand their motivations, and root for them to better themselves. I’d definitely rate it higher now.

More Happy Than Not

original (2016) rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†

With More Happy Than Not, I think my rating had more to do with how much I wanted to like it than how much I actually liked it. I do not have fond memories of reading this book. I didn’t enjoy it much at all and my rating would definitely be lower now.

Listen To Your Heart

original (2018) rating: β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†β˜†

As someone who really loves cute, fluffy romances, this rating is definitely an anomaly for me. Kasie West writes super cute, super fluffy romances and I honestly think that one of the biggest reasons that I didn’t love this book is everything that was going on in my personal life when I was reading it.


original (2018) rating: β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†β˜†

Another book that I was possibly not fair to is Warcross. This is another one I read during that same very stressful time in my life, and looking back, I don’t think I liked much of anything that I read then.

Bring Me Their Hearts

original (2018) rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†

I was actually just talking about this one this morning! I have no idea why I gave it three stars because tHe iNTernAL vOicE annoyed the heck out of me when I read it.

The Mental Load

original (2019) rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†

I think that this rating was mostly because I thought I’d be getting something different than I actually got. If I went into this with a clearer head, I probably would have rated it higher.

Did you do your own Top Ten Tuesday post today? Feel free to leave your link in the comments and I’ll check it out! Are there any books you’d give different ratings to? Let’s talk in the comments!

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