Category Archives: Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Worlds I’d Never Want to Live In

Top Ten Tuesday

It has been a good long while since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday. I tend to always write about the same books, though, because they stick with me so much that I can’t stop talking about them.

My first two books were mentioned by the second original poster:

1. Bumped: I would like to think that, since I’m religious, I would probably be one of the super-religious women like Harmony who keep their fertility well into their twenties. (That is surprising in the Bumped world). I’m not 100% sure, though. As I get older, my friends have babies, and unmarried pregnancy becomes more common (especially among celebrities), it’s on my mind for sure.

2. The Hunger Games: Speaking of feeling old, I’m old enough that I wouldn’t have to “participate,” but I can’t imagine living in a country with a government that cruel. When I discuss The Hunger Games, I always identify the government as the real problem. It’s not so much that Katniss has to leave her mom and sister behind to fight to the death. It’s not even that she is technically fighting against a friend (or at least a classmate). It’s not that the government will kill dissenters. It’s that they will force the children of non-dissenters to kill one another. (Slight spoiler alert: That was a hint to the end of Mockingjay.)

The rest of my list are originals from me.

3. Unwind: Fresh from the Texas Rally for Life, I am accutely aware of the issues of resolving unplanned pregnancies. I still have some lingering confusion about how to reconcile storking (abandoning an unwanted infant to a new family who must take it in) with unwinding (donating all your child’s organs to be transplanted into others), but I should probably finish the series before I declare that to be a flaw. I’m definitely glad that technology doesn’t really exist!

4. Gathering Blue: The Giver has a sequel. (It has three now, but that’s the first.) In this book, the same world has another community where, rather than living in the future, everyone lives a primitive life. (Imagine the premise for Opposite Worlds on Syfy, but with two books, and much better than that show even sounds.) Because the main character, Kira, has a physical disability, she has to fight every day to keep existing. I would be crushed under the pressure.

5. Brave New World: I shouldn’t even have to explain this one. If I do, you’re like I was and you haven’t read it. Hopefully, you will be like me even further and read it.

6. A Canticle for Leibowitz: I like learning. I would only want to live in this post-apocalyptic future if there were also a convent of nuns (so I could join) who knew how to read and write like the monks. I could live like that.

7. Uglies: I could stand to feel pretty, but the secret of why people get their “pretty” surgery? That would do me in. I could be okay ignorant of the truth, though. Most people are.

I do read a lot of dystopias, don’t I? Are there any answers to this list that wouldn’t be dystopias?

Top Ten Tuesday: Things I’m Thankful For

Top Ten Tuesday

I almost didn’t post today, but when I saw this week’s TTT topic, I knew I had to. I can get all ten this week!

Top Ten Things I’m Thankful For

  1. I’m thankful for Thanksgiving. I haven’t been able to make it home in five years, but this is my first honest-to-goodness don’t-have-to-go-to-work paid holiday since New Year’s Day. I was temping on Labor Day, so a day off meant a day of not getting paid.
  2. I’m thankful for hope. I’m in a down phase at the moment, but I know that things will turn upward again eventually. They always do. Sometimes it’s not as far up as I’d like, but I’m never stuck in the depths. Hope is my favorite Christian virtue.
  3. I’m thankful for my roommates. They left me flowers and an apple pie today. Best Thanksgiving presents ever! They’re also a huge part of the reason I could stay in Austin, because I cut my expenses significantly by moving in with them, and they welcomed me right as my old lease was ending. They gave me a new home. How could I not appreciate that?
  4. I’m thankful for Austin CNM. They invited me to join them as a book review blogger, which led me to do more reading than I had in years and to get free books. How can I not love anyone or anything that comes with free books?
  5. I’m thankful for the Austin Public Library, because what I review that I don’t get from friends or publishers I get from them! The last book I bought was Walking with God, and that was only to get it signed by Jeff Cavins in person. I don’t know what I’d do without the library.
  6. I’m thankful for my unusual level of patience. I get impatient, of course, but I can handle the long drive to my job through ridiculously unpredictable Austin traffic because I have such great patience. I’ll get there eventually, I will hopefully be safe on the way, and there’s not a whole lot I can do besides. Being patient is a wonderful method of relieving stress.
  7. I’m thankful that J.K. Rowling successfully completed the Harry Potter series without being hit by a bus. (This is a book meme at its core.) I was genuinely afraid that something terrible would happen to her before she finished all seven books. I would have been crushed had anything happened. But she was and is fine, and the series is complete, and Ron ended up with Hermione just like I’d known for years. All is well.
  8. I’m thankful for employment. I work in private industry now, so I don’t generally say where, but I am very glad to have a job again after being unemployed for so long.
  9. I’m thankful for my health. I was living without health insurance for a while, and I am blessed to have not had any illness or accidents during that time. It would have taken money I just didn’t have to pay for insurance or to pay for care. That gamble doesn’t always turn out well.
  10. I’m thankful for shelter. Not having much money has made me more thankful than usual to have a home and money for electricity and gas/heat in my car. It would only take a few changes in my circumstances to leave me out in the cold, literally.

Furthermore, I’m thankful for the humility to share that the things I’m thankful for are so basic and simple. This turned out to be a much tougher year than I anticipated, but I’m still standing. I’m glad to still be on my feet.

What are you thankful for? Have you found joy in simple things this season?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Recommend

Top Ten Tuesday

I forgot how much I enjoy book blogging. I know, I write for Austin CNM, but not all book blogging is about reviewing.

Top Books I Would Recommend, To Whom, and Why

1. If you liked Harry Potter, try Witch Week, and the rest of the Chrestomanci series. I happened upon a reissue of Witch Week when I was a kid. That was back before the Internet, when I decided what books to read based on book order leaflets, libraries, and bookstore serendipity. Witch Week is also about kids who do magic in a British boarding school. The world is much bigger than just that, though. It reminds me of the Chronicles of Narnia in that the book I read first isn’t the first chronologically. It was published in the 70’s, so it’s a little dated, but so is Harry Potter. (The Wizarding Wireless Network isn’t for cell phones.)

2. If you liked Captivating (or Wild at Heart), try Style, Sex, and Substance. I mostly covered the sheer superiority of the latter in my review at Austin CNM, but the gist of it is that Christian women’s spirituality has to be informed by realism, not just predefined boxes. There has to be room for joy as well as a healthy understanding of men’s spirituality. If only men read books about men’s spirituality so there was a market for a men’s counterpart to SS&S!

3. If you liked The Princess Diaries, try Avalon High. I read All-American Girl because I liked Meg Cabot’s style, but I could not put Avalon High down. It’s based on Arthurian legend, of course, but I think you also have to like YA fiction to get into it. If you do, please read it! You’ll love it!

4. If you liked Brave New World, try Unwind. I read both of these for the first time last year. Unwind was another case of bookstore serendipity, actually. (At least I think so. I can’t remember whether I went in for it, but I did buy it offline.) Both deal with reproductive and other life issues. Both offer a bleak future with a glimpse of hope. Unwind is faster-paced, though. You’ll be turning pages out of sheer adrenaline.

That’s all I’ve got. These days, I tend to stick with authors or go out on a limb. Is there anything else I should try based on what I like?

Top Ten Tuesday: Sequels I’m Excited to Read

Top Ten Tuesday

I missed these. I’ve still been reading, though, so there’s that.

Top Ten Sequels I Can’t Wait to Get My Hands On

1. Always Alice, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor: I’ve written before about my reluctant love of the Alice series. I kept going to the bitter end, leaning on the lovely Austin Public Library to support my habit. I might have to wait a while for the finish, but I do love finishing things.

2–3. Untitled Necromancer #3 and #4, by Lish McBride: I loved Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, and Necromancing the Stone absolutely lived up. I’m sad that she’s not finishing Sam’s story immediately, but I will read whatever she comes up with next. And Sam had better be back soon! (If you’re a Necromancer fan, check out #0.1, “Heads Will Roll”, free online.)

4–6. UnStrung, UnWholly,and UnSouled, by Neal Schusterman: I’m disappointed that the publishers think UnSouled has to have “More Chilling Than THE HUNGER GAMES” on the cover to sell copies. It doesn’t. They just need to get more people reading and writing about it. The first book, Unwind, blew my mind, and it’ll probably blow yours, too. I have to see what happens next! Moral dilemmas, teenagers with problems, and fast-paced action: what’s not to love?

7. Son, by Lois Lowry: This has been out for a while, but after Messenger was so delightful, I have to finish the quartet. I will probably see the movie of The Giver, but if Taylor Swift is in it, I’m not expecting much. This book should ease my almost inevitable pain.

Photo courtesy of the author, Meg Cabot (

Photo courtesy of the author, Meg Cabot (

8–15. The Princess Diaries, Volumes 6, 6.5, 7, 7.5, 7.75, 8, 9, and 10: I really enjoyed the first six books, so I’m very pleased about finishing this series eventually. I recently rewatched the second movie (not of my own free will) and was reminded how much better I liked the books. At least the first movie was good, and at least I have all these books to give me warm fuzzies when I get to them.

On a related but not numbered note, I need to stop jumping the gun on sequels. I wrote this list by going through my to-read shelf on Goodreads, and I deleted a few sequels of series I haven’t even started (like Insurgent) and a sequel I’m not going to read because I disliked the first book so much (everything after Delirium). From now on, I’m going to read at least the first book before I commit to sequels. I’m not a movie studio or a publisher. I’m a reviewer. I take it one book at a time.

Top Ten Tuesday: Intimidating

Top Ten Tuesday

You know the drill. It’s not Tuesday, but I don’t care!

Top Ten Books That Intimidate Me

  1. War and Peace: I read a great “book-a-minute” summary of it. “History controls everything we do, so there is no point in observing individual actions. Let’s examine the individual actions of over 500 characters at great length. The end.”
  2. Moby Dick: Matilda could handle it, but she had Miss Honey to help. I know enough about it for trivia, and that’s all I need.
  3. Les Miserables: It’s like 1000 pages unabridged, and I don’t condone abridgements, so I’m never going to get to read it.
  4. Vanity Fair: I thought, “If it’s good enough for Reese Witherspoon to agree to star in a movie about it, it must be good enough to read.” Then I held the 500-page paperback in the library one day. I stopped holding it pretty quickly.
  5. Anything in Spanish: I read enough of a few books (Enero sin nombre and La familia de Pascual Duarte) in college to pass my tests, and I still own them, but I’ve never actually finished reading them. I don’t think my Spanish is good enough anymore!
  6. The Confessions of St. Augustine: I own a PDF of one translation, but I’m too intimidated to read it. It just seems too epic.
  7. The Interior Castle, by St. Teresa of Avila: Mystics are intimidating by definition.
  8. The Bible: It intimidates me, but I am tackling it bit by bit. One of these days, I’ll finish!

Top Ten Tuesday: Insta-Read Topics

Top Ten Tuesday

It’s a “freebie” week over at TTT, so I get to choose any topic I want. Most of the reason I do so many memes is that I need a topic to write about, though, so I’m going to go with a topic I missed a few weeks ago.

Top Ten Topics That Will Make Me Pick Up a Book

  1. Teenagers with problems: I struggled working with them, but I love reading about them. There’s nothing quite like a good high school drama to suck me in.
  2. Catholicism: I read a lot of books about Catholicism, obviously. I can usually tell the snippy anti-Catholic sort from the legitimate ones. It ought to go without saying that I won’t go near Dan Brown with a ten-foot pole.
  3. Magical kids at a boarding school: That’s how I got into Harry Potter in the first place. Before that, I had read the Chrestomanci Quartet* by Dianna Wynne Jones, starting with Witch Week, which has exactly that premise. As I recall, Chrestomanci got a bit more sinister more quickly, though.
  4. Future world gone wrong: I’m a sucker for a good dystopia, especially when it also involves teenagers with problems (see #1) or Catholicism (see A Canticle for Leibowitz).
  5. Alice McKinley: I’m glad I finished the Alice series as published so far, because I like finishing things, but I’m also glad that it’s almost over. It tried to be timeless but was dated, and then it modernized, dating itself in modern times. There’s no winning.
  6. Fearless: See #5, except that instead of it being dated and my outgrowing the series, I just outgrew it.
  7. The original book for a movie I enjoyed: The Princess Diaries (another series I haven’t finished!) is my prime example for a book adaptation that is very different from the movie even though both are delightful. In general, books are better than movies, but they’re such different storytelling mediums that it’s not completely fair to compare.

*Now that I’ve gone to Goodreads for the link to the series, I see that there are two more books! My to-read list grows!

What are your book triggers?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Surprised Me

Top Ten Tuesday

I’m back to longer reflections about books. It’s not Tuesday, and this was not the topic from a few days ago, but I started this post, so I’m going to finish it! I’ve read plenty since the last time I did a TTT. The original poster broke hers up into five and five, so I will, too.

Top Five Books I Liked Less Than I Thought I Would (a.k.a. Bad Surprises)

Scribbler of Dreams, by Mary E. Pearson: A modern take on Romeo and Juliet sounded like a good idea. It was pretty lame. I could barely finish reading it. I might still technically own it among the books that live with my parents, but I’m reasonably certain I’ll never pick it up again.

Both Sides of Time, by Caroline B. Cooney: In general, when I like one book by an author of many, I will like that author’s other books. The Face on the Milk Carton saga was the closest thing to a thriller I’d encountered at age 14, and I liked Twenty Pageants Later, so I gave this time-traveling historical romance a try. It was a mistake. I disliked this book so much that I didn’t finish it. I was not sad at all to abandon it, and it was the only book that messed up my ink-and-paper list of books I read. I’m still a little miffed about that.

Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli: Don’t stone me! I heard good things about it from a fellow reading friend. I was skeptical, and I was right to feel that way. It just didn’t surprise me the way I hoped it would.

Angus, Thongs, and Full-Fr*ntal Snogging, by Louise Rennison: I heard such good things about this series. I think one of my best friends from middle school had read and enjoyed all the books. I found it too strange to be good, though. British humor is always touch-and-go. With this one, I touched on it, but I had to let it go.

That Summer, by Sarah Dessen: I saw How to Deal because I love Mandy Moore’s acting, so when I had the opportunity to read the two books that inspired the movie, I jumped on it. Unfortunately, like many readers, I found Someone Like You much more interesting than That Summer. Someone Like You is one of the few romances I have read and enjoyed. This one, not so much.

Top Five Four Books I Liked More Than I Thought I Would (a.k.a. Good Surprises)

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, by Lish McBride: I was hesitant at first because, you know, it’s about raising the dead. I was really pleased, though. It was funny (as the title indicates), and I found it especially original for YA fantasy. I’m looking forward to the sequel.

The Chosen, by Chaim Potok: You would think that, as a religious person, I wouldn’t be so surprised to enjoy a book about religious people, but I was. I learned so much about Hasidic Judaism, and I found the relationships between the two boys and their fathers so fascinating. I tend to read a lot of books with female protagonists, so I enjoyed reading about men for a change. I initially read this because I inherited it as my students’ summer reading, but I’m so glad I did.

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins: A friend from college blogged about how much she loved them. Borders (back when it was still in business) sent me emails about the midnight release of Mockingjay, but I ignored them the way I ignored Twilight midnight releases. I’m so ashamed that it took me so long to read even the first one! The second two I’m less ashamed about; at least I was properly anxious to read them. I usually hate politics (a stance that working in religion only solidified), but I loved them here.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling: Are you surprised? I had read books about witches at boarding school before, and I really liked them. Nothing could have prepared me for Harry Potter. I got on board shortly before Goblet of Fire was released, and I am still a little astonished at how completely I fell into the fandom. I have a framed poster of the cover of the last book! I wear a Marauder’s Map lanyard at work every day! What book does that?

So, it seems that fantasy and dystopias delight me, but romances tend to be disappointing. Also the story of my life.

© 2002–2021. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.