Top Ten Tuesday: Books with a Love Story that We’ve Recently Read and Enjoyed


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. This feature allows us to make lists, which may be one of our favorite things to do!

 Today’s Topic: Ten Books with a Love Story that We’ve Recently Read and Enjoyed


1. Love by Matt de la Peña

Have I mentioned how much I love this book? I LOVE this book!

2. History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

Adam beautifully captures love in so many forms in this text.

3. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

I REREAD this book for the sixth time this week to teach it. It is one of the most beautiful stories that I’ve ever read.

4. Red & Lulu by Matt Tavares

This recently published book is one of my favorite read-alouds. The love story is stunning.

5. If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

Okay, this one wasn’t very recent read. But I love it, and I REREAD it recently for one of the classes I teach.


Boo! It is so hard when Ricki beats me to TTT posts (and I know she agrees vice versa) because we try really hard not to overlap. Although I don’t know if I’d consider Love to be a typical love story, it definitely is a story about loving all of mankind, and it would have definitely been on my list, too. I also wanted to put Red & Lulu on my list, but alas, Ricki beat me. Luckily, I’ve read five other awesome books that include a story of love.  I must side note for all of these: None of them are romance books though. They just all have love included and enhanced their story.

1. Rebels by Accident by Patricia Dunn

Miriam isn’t seeking love and is actually trying to avoid it, but within her story of identity and family, a love interest enters and adds one more complication (or positive addition) to her life.

2. The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner

Kyle does fall in love, but The Memory of Things is a story of loss and survival after 9/11 that has a love story within it.

3. Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

Both of Shusterman’s Arc of the Scythe books include elements of romance; however, they are all side stories, but they add more to the characters’ stories (or more conflicts!).

4. American Street by Ibi Zoboi

Love is a main theme in American Street including looking at love in an abusive relationship and love with hesitation.

5. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera


They love and they die at the end. Adam Silvera so knows how to write a love story that is different than others as well as stories that will rip out your heart.

Which love stories did you read recently and enjoy?

RickiSig and Signature

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Have Been on our TBR Lists the Longest


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. This feature allows us to make lists, which may be one of our favorite things to do!

 Today’s Topic: Ten Books That Have Been on our TBR Lists the Longest


This was an easy post to write! I popped onto GoodReads and found the five oldest books. I added these almost a decade ago.

1. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough

This book is all about rethinking the way we make things to support sustainability. Even the actual book is made with sustainable materials.

2. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

I know that a lot of creative writers find this book to be very helpful.

3. Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson

I am really interested in reading about Einstein’s life. The book is quite long, and I think that’s why I haven’t started it. Shame on me!

4. Stitches by David Small

I’ve heard this graphic novel is life-changing.

5. Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

This book comes highly recommended! I need to read it!


Like Ricki, I went on Goodreads and found the first five books I added the first day I joined Goodreads (January 24th, 2009) that I haven’t read yet.

1. Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams

2. Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe

3. Firestorm by David Klass

4. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

5. H.I.V.E. by Mark Walden

Which books have been on your TBR list the longest?
Have you read any of these books? 

RickiSig and Signature

Top Ten Tuesday: Books We Can’t Believe We Read


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. This feature allows us to make lists, which may be one of our favorite things to do!

 Today’s Topic: Ten Books We Can’t Believe We Read


1. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

It took me a long time to get through this book. I think I read it in year two of the blog. It was on my “currently reading” section of the IMWAYR post for a solid four months. I was teaching high school at the time, and I remember a student saying, “How are you still reading that?” I took a lot of breaks, but I finished it. Finally.

2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

I listened to this book on audio. As a tip, if you want to read this book, get it in print. It is incredibly difficult to understand Ray Bradbury’s voice.

3. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

I have read several Charles Dickens books. I really want to enjoy them, but I find them very difficult to enjoy for whatever reason. I read this book on my honeymoon, too. Ha!

4. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

I read this in high school and loathed it. I wonder if I’d like it as an adult?

5. A Certain Book with “Grey” In Its Title

My only memory of this book was that it was ridiculous. There was one paragraph in which 8 sentences in a row started with “I.” This was a trendy book, though, so I decided it was in my best interest to read it. My husband made fun of me relentlessly. Needless to say, I had no interest in seeing the movies when they came out.


I’m taking this post topic as, “OMG! I cannot believe I finished it! Yay me!” These are all books that I read during my literature degree that I was so proud of myself for finishing!

1. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

If you have read Faulkner, you know how tough his style is! This was my first exposure, and I was so proud of reading it.

2. Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Although I ended up liking The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald is not my thing. I really love Hemingway’s bluntness and dialogue while Fitzgerald is a bit wordy for me. I had trouble finishing this novel, but was glad I did when I was finished.

3. The Prince by Machiavelli

Reading a book that some terrible people feel is the most important book ever is a bit tough.

4. The Monk by Matthew Lewis

I took a Gothic Literature class, and I ended up loving so much of what we read in that class with The Monk probably being my favorite. Super scandalous from 1796!

5. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Like Fitzgerald, Dickens just isn’t my thing, but I ended up really loving Oliver Twist, and it actually started a huge research project for me looking at how prostitutes were written about and viewed in Victorian England.

Which books can you not believe that you read/finished?

RickiSig and Signature

Top Ten Tuesday: Books We Liked But Can’t Remember Much About


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. This feature allows us to make lists, which may be one of our favorite things to do!

 Today’s Topic: Ten Books We Liked But Can’t Remember Much About


It felt a bit embarrassing to write this post. I am finding it interesting what I remember about books that I read over twenty years ago. I suppose my brain doesn’t have the space for as many books as I think it does. The funny thing is that I seem to remember much more about the YA books that I read 15 years ago than the canonical texts that I read 15 years ago.

1. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

I read this book dozens of times as a kid, yet all I remember is that there was a girl in the garden.

2. The Boxcar Children Series by Gertrude Chandler Warner

I read every book in this series, and all I remember is that it’s about four (?) kids who are orphaned. They solve mysteries. Apparently, I subconsciously named my sons after the two boys, too. When my older son is a bit older, we will be reading these together!

3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I loved this book, yet all I remember is that there were four daughters living with their mother. I think the dad was at war, and my favorite character was definitely Jo. This is a book that I know I should remember more.

4. As You Like It by William Shakespeare

I remember thinking this was quite funny (it is a comedy, after all). That’s all I remember. I think the culminating scene is a huge deal. But I suppose that’s every Shakespeare play. 😉

5. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

I remember the main characters are Jake and Lady Brett. I remember there was war and that this was about the lost generation. And there was definitely bull-fighting. But this one seems to be conflating with the other Hemingway books that I’ve read.


I went through my 5 stars and picked the 5 that I remember the least about. I do remember that I love them, but if you asked me too many specifics, I wouldn’t be able to remember much. I know a lot of it has to do with time since I’ve read it because all of these were at least 5 years ago.

1. Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix

I remember the first book the most because I read it more than once, and I have book talked it to many classes; however, I don’t remember what happened in the rest of the series, and I never finished it!

2. Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt

All I remember is loving the main character and the tie-in of Audubon.

3. Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie

I remember being fascinated with the mythology included in the story and that it fit directly with the Hero’s Journey.

4. Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington

I wish I remembered more about the plot of this story because I remember crying and loving the main character; however, I just have lost the plot…

5. From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas

This book was such a fun book! Why, you may ask? I don’t remember! HA! But I did love reading it, and I could definitely see myself reading it again–it was a really entertaining read.

Which books have you read, liked, and seem to have forgotten specifics about?

RickiSig and Signature

Top Ten Tuesday: Twenty 2018 Books We Look Forward to Reading


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. This feature allows us to make lists, which may be one of our favorite things to do!

Today’s Topic: Twenty 2018 Books We Look Forward to Reading

So many wonderful books are coming out in 2018! It was hard to even narrow it down to 20!
(We didn’t include any books that were on our #mustreadin2018 list as to not double up and highlight more titles 🙂 )

Young Adult

1. Cruel Prince by Holly Black

January 2nd, 2018

2. What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

October 2nd, 2018

3. Furyborn by Claire Legrand

May 22nd, 2018

Middle Grade

4. Bat and the Waiting Game by Elana K. Arnold

March 27th, 2018

5. Breakout by Kate Messner

June 5th, 2018

6. The Lifters by Dave Eggers

April 24th, 2018

7. The Lost Rainforest: Mez’s Magic by Eliot Schrefer

January 2nd, 2018

8. Sunny by Jason Reynolds

April 10th, 2018

9. The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

March 6th, 2018

10. Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz with Renée Watson

January 2nd, 2018

11. Rebound by Kwame Alexander

April 3rd, 2018

12. Escape from Aleppo by N.H. Senzai

January 2nd, 2018

13. The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter H. Brown

March 13th, 2018

14. Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire by John August

February 6th, 2018

15. HiLo Book 4: Waking the Monsters by Judd Winick 

January 16th, 2018

16. Amulet 8: Supernova by Kazu Kibuishi

September 25th, 2018

Picture Books

17. How to Code a Sandcastle by Josh Funk, Illustrated by Sara Palacios

May 15th, 2018

18. Square by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Jon Klass

May 8tn, 2018

19. IslandbornLola by Junot Díaz, Illustrated by Leo Espinosa

March 13th, 2018

For Everyone

20. For Everyone by Jason Reynolds

April 10th, 2018

Which books are you looking forward to reading?

RickiSig and Signature

Ricki’s Ten (Ahem…Thirteen) Favorite Reads in 2017


Every year, I promise myself that I will get my list down to ten books. And every year, I goof up and end up with more than ten books. Forgive me, but here are my favorite 13 books that I read this year. Please note that the age categories below are superficial. These are books for readers of all ages. 🙂

Picture Books

La La La by Kate DiCamillo (Illustrations by Jaime Kim) (2017)

Love by Matt de la Peña (Illustrations by Loren Long (2018)

Red & Lulu by Matt Tavares (2017)

Windows by Julia Denos (Illustrations by E. B. Goodale) (2017)


Middle Grade Books

Ghost by Jason Reynolds (2016)

Refugee by Alan Gratz (2017)


Young Adult Books

American Street by Ibi Zoboi (2017)

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley (2016)

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (2017)

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (2017)

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (2017)

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (2016)


Professional Development

Pose Wobble Flow: A Culturally Proactive Approach to Literacy Instruction by Antero Garcia and Cindy O’Donnell-Allen (2015)



Top Ten Tuesday: Books We Hope Santa Brings Our Kids


top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. The feature was created because The Broke and Bookish are particularly fond of lists (as are we!). Each week a new Top Ten list topic is given and bloggers can participate.

 Today’s Topic: Ten Books We Hope Santa Brings Our Kids


1. Love by Matt de la Peña

This book is at the top of my list…I mean, Henry’s list. Ah, it’s so beautiful! I read the ARC, and I know my boys will love it. It requires a good snuggle.

2. Islandborn by Junot Diaz

If this book doesn’t win the Caldecott, I will be disappointed. It’s gorgeous! I was so impressed by it, and I can’t wait for it to be released in March. The Spanish translation is called Lola!

3. Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

We don’t own this book, but we talk about it often (every time Henry eats tacos!).

4. We’re All Wonders by R. J. Palacio

I love everything Wonder-related, and this book is no exception.

5. Growl with the Animals by Discovery Kids

And this book for my Benny. He loves to growl, and he loves sound books. This would be a hit!


Santa and I have already met up, and here are five books I know Trent is getting for Christmas:

1. Love by Matt de la Peña

This is one of my favorite books of all time. Matt read the poem to us at ALAN, and I cried then. And when I saw the finished book this year at NCTE, it took my breath away. Beautiful. Important. Special. I am so glad Santa was able to get a finished copy at NCTE!

2. Charlie and Mouse and Charlie and Mouse and Grumpy by Laurel Snyder

I was so lucky to be able to see these books early in their creation because I had the honor of writing their teaching guide; however, Trent has not read them because I didn’t have the hard copies, but we will soon! Yay!

3. What Makes a Monster? by Jess Keating

Trent loves learning about animals and all things science and nature related–I am so glad Trent will be receiving this fun and informative book from Jess Keating. (He is also getting The Big Book of Animals!)

4. Double Take by Susan Hood

I’ve seen so much goodness about this book; I am so glad Trent and I will be able to read it.

5. Read! Read! Read! by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Any book that celebrates reading is a book that we want.

Which books do you hope Santa brings you?

RickiSig and Signature