Book Club Around a Bonfire!

Depending on the weather where you live, now may be the perfect time of year to have an outdoor book club. Around a bonfire! If it’s still too chilly in your locale, you can hold on to this idea until the time is right.

For a while my friends and I held a book club once a month. We used it as a way to pick up books just slightly outside of our comfort zone, or books that a lot of people seemed to enjoy, but we never got around to. We read books like And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, and The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisburger. We found it best if we chose books no one had read before and books that may have book club questions already existing online. For some, we also enjoyed watching the movie after we discussed the book. Plus, getting together with friends and perhaps eating some yummy snacks was always fun.

One of my favorite book club nights took place around a firepit. My friends have a nice gas fire pit that we could all huddle around while discussing our latest read.

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If you need ideas for s’mores, we’ve done some experimenting with those as well. Here are some suggestions for different ingredients you can use:

Graham Substitutions:
Wafer cookies
Just use chocolate and put the marshmallow in the middle
Oreos
Chocolate Substitutions:
Dark chocolate
Fancy chocolates
Reeses
Nutella
Cookie Butter

Our favorite combo is Graham Cracker+Reeses Peanut Butter Cup+Marshmallow (this is so good!)

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(The s’mores ideas and pictures were originally published on my personal blog, musicmicetro.blogspot.com on March 27, 2017)

What’s your favorite way to discuss books with your friends?

❤ Annette

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Book Review: Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book 1 in the Ms. Marvel Collected Editions 

Summary

Ms. Marvel is a normal Muslim teenager in Jersey City – until something happens. Now she has to figure out what is going on, and without tipping off her very protective parents. 

What I Liked

  • This is a great starter comic series if you have no prior knowledge of the comic universes. I tried reading other comics that were hard to get into because I had no idea what was going on. And while different characters do pop up throughout the series, you don’t have to have any prior knowledge to follow and understand the story line. 
  • I loved how being Muslim was just a part of the main character’s life. It wasn’t a central focus and it wasn’t in-your-face, but it was there as an influence in her life. It was neat to see the religion from the every day point of view instead of the large scale religions 101 definition. 
  • I really like the character. She’s emotionally strong and isn’t afraid of being herself, but not in an unrealistic way. 
  • I like the side characters in this series as well. They seem supportive of her and her ambitions, even if they accidentally find out she has super powers. 

What I Didn’t Like 

  • Not much 

In Conclusion

If you’re looking for a way to delve into the comic book world, or if you’re just looking for a comic about a kick-butt teenager, this is the book for you. 

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link) 

(affiliate link

1 Year Ago: Book Review: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Top 5 Books of 2018

Here are my top five favorite books that I read in 2018 (regardless of when they were published). I know I’m a month or so late, but better late than never! Two of my top five are actually graphic novels, because I got into those last year quite a bit.

Clicking on an image will take to you Amazon through an affiliate link.

Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland

Looking back over the year, this one just stands out as a nice, solid read. It was outside my normal pool of books, but was enjoyable. I think it also helps that I read the “Young Readers Edition” which made it a quick read, which, to be honest, I missed. This book is the story of the ballerina, Misty Copeland, and how she got into the art even though she started later than some other children usually do. The dance world is one I’m not familiar with on a personal level, so it was great to get the chance to look into it through this book.

Blameless by Gail Carriger

The more I read Gail Carriger, the more I love her books. I read the first three of the Parasol Protectorate series in 2018. Each book got more and more suspenseful, which is why the third book is the one that made it to the top five list. This story follow’s Alexia, preternatural, as she navigates through steampunk Victorian England. There are werewolves, vampires, ghosts, normal humans, mechanical ladybugs, and so much more! Read it!

Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

This book was quite refreshing. Of the comic books/comic book compilations I picked up last year, this one was definitely my favorite. We get to follow Kamala Khan as she develops and learns how to use her powers.

Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge

This is such a beautiful graphic novel! Both the story and the artwork are great.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

I know I’m a little late to the party on this one. But I quite enjoyed this one. Unfortunately I haven’t actually used her policies (yet) but there are a lot of great ideas to be found in this book. If you’re not familiar, Marie Kondo has different methods of decluttering your house (once, not forever) and advocates choosing what to keep by how much joy you get from a particular item. (As a side note, some of her principles are similar to corporate principles such as Six Sigma.)

So there are my top five. What were your top reads of 2018?

❤ Annette

1 year ago: Top 5 Books of 2017

top 2018

Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List

I’m probably cheating with this one a little. I’m writing this post during National Novel Writing Month in November 2018. (Hi future me!) So here are the ten most recent additions to my list as of 11/3/18.

  1. This Dog for Hire by Carol Benjamin
    I just added this to my to-read list while writing Ten New to Me Authors I Read in 2018. (And yes, I pre-wrote that post too!) This is a cozy mystery with a dog involved, which is pretty much all I need to know to want to pick it up.
  2. Pointe by Brandy Colbert
    I also just added this to my list while writing Ten New to Me Authors I Read in 2018. This author wrote Life in Motion with Misty Copeland, and I enjoyed reading that. Pointe sounds a lot darker and heavier than Life in Motion, but also seems like a very interesting story about a ballet dancer.
  3. Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes by Joanne DeMaio
    I’m a sucker for Christmas and winter themed books, what can I say? I recently went through and added a bunch of Christmas themed books to my list, after discovering that Goodreads lists Christmas as a category that you can browse!So you’ll probably see some more coming up.
  4. Max’s Christmas by Rosemary Wells
    I love Christmas books, and picture books count too!
  5. The Assistant’s Christmas Wish by Lexi Ostrow
    This romance sounds very cozy. Two people who are attracted to each other, but unwilling to admit it, get snowed into a chalet together for a weekend. Yes. Please.
  6. The Art of Fixing Things, Principles of Machines, and How to Repair Them: 150 Tips and Tricks to Make Things Last Longer, and Save You Money by Lawrence Pierce
    I think the title says it all. I’ve always wanted to know how to repair things on my own, but never took the time to actually figure out how. This book sounds like a great way to learn! I found this while browsing a Christmas gift idea list on dodoburd, which advertised everywhere on Pinterest.
  7. The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe
    I was watching an interview of Captain Scott Kelly and he mentioned this book as one of the main reasons he wanted to become an astronaut. So of course I need to read it too!
  8. Santa Clauses: Short Poems from the North Pole by Bob Raczka
    How can you not want to read this book after it’s very clever title?
  9. Santa’s Favorite Story by HisakoAoiki
    I heard about this book via a blog post by the Dating Divas about books that keep Christ in Christmas.
  10. Itsy Bitsy Christmas by Max Lucado
    I also got this one from the Dating Divas post referenced in number 9. I love Max Lucado’s You Are Special, so I’m hoping this one is just as great as well!

So there are my ten most recently added books. I found it quite interesting to recall where I heard of each book and why I chose to add it to my list. I got ideas from websites, YouTube videos, Goodreads lists, and while researching for my blog!

What books did you just add to your TBR? And where to you get your ideas for books to read?

❤ Annette

1 Year Ago: Guide to 2018 Book Challenges