Summer 2020

It’s been about two years since I utilized my blog platform. This summer is going to be quiet and largely spent at home, and I need structure to be productive. Blogging was a structure that I thrived in for years and one that I’d love to jump back into. I’ll be shifting my focus a bit, though I still plan to center my posts on YA and MG books.

Here are my personal projects over the next 8 weeks:

  • Supporting a staff summer reading program focused on diverse books (both YA and MG)
  • Listening to and reflecting on the podcast Teaching While White
  • Advocating for a more diverse English curriculum in public schools
  • Writing Act 2 of novel-in-progress (a sci-fi cooking mystery about the power of food to bridge cultural gaps)

What my posts will look like this summer:

  • Reviews of YA and MG books I’m reading
  • Reflections on teaching and my own cultural awareness
  • Actions we need to take as educators towards a more diverse curriculum that decenters whiteness
  • Writing check-ins

Until my next post, I highly recommend you check out this panel from the Gaithersburg Book Festival about diverse books:

How Diverse Stories Can Open Minds & Change the World

I hope your summer is off to a good start! Stay safe and well!


January 2018 Recap

Reading Nook

By the Numbers:
Physical Books Read: 0
eBooks Read: 1
Audiobooks Read: 1
Graphic Novels Read: 0

Wordy Hughes Awards:
Character BFF: Feyre–Her self acceptance is so admirable, and her support for her friends and sisters would make her an ideal friend!
Character Crush: Rishi–The date he planned for Dimple warmed my book-loving heart!
Place I Wish Was Real: Thesan’s palace in the Dawn Court. It’s described as being made of opalescent golden sunstone, with purple wisteria hanging from the walls. That image, along with the balconies and spiral staircases, made me wish a place of this beauty was real.

Links to Posts Published this Month:
A Court of Mist and Fury (December Read)
Ready Player One (December Read)
The Westing Game (December Read)
A Court of Wings and Ruin
When Dimple Met Rishi
On Writing: Healthy Masculinity

February TBR:
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi (currently reading)
by Marissa Meyer (current audiobook)
The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Saga comics
Monstress comics

Overall: I was aiming for a book a week (or four books for the month), but fell short of that. One reason for that was frustration over an audiobook being returned to the library before I was finished. ARGH. I then stopped listening to audiobooks on my commute for about a week, out of pure irritation. Also, I need to knock out some graphic novels that have been piling up, so hopefully I’ll be able to play catch-up in February to reach my goals!

February 2014 Recap

Hughes Reviews ButtonFebruary 2014 was a good month  🙂

Once I finish grading these lovely essays, I should be posting some more book reviews.  I’m attending a book event on March 8.  I’ll also have some more “Bits of Writing Wisdom” to share soon.

Below is a recap of posts, organized by categories, with clickable links.

Book Reviews:

Writing Posts:

Book Events:

Top Ten Tuesday:

Love-a-Thon Mini-Challenge #5

The Book Blogger Love-a-Thon is is an online event that spends one whole day celebrating book blogging, book bloggers and book blogs all over the world. This event is hosted by Alexa at Alexa Loves Books and Katelyn at Tales of Books and Bands.

Mini-Challenge #5:
Top Blogging Moments

Three big moments stand out to me:

Being in the Cinder Paperback
I was so incredibly excited when I heard my blog would be mentioned in the back of the Cinder paperback. I’ve never had my blog recognized by an author, much less in print, and by one of my FAVORITE books.
Blog Post: Cinder Paperback

My First RT and over 100 Hits
I am pretty new to twitter, but have definitely realized that I should have joined a longggg time ago. My blog has grown so much since I joined twitter and it has allowed me to connect with fellow bloggers even more than before. The first post that got retweeted was my post on why you should see Brave on opening weekend. And it was my first post to go over 100 hits. I love to think that something I wrote had an impact and was worth sharing.

When My Bro Made Me My Blog Button
I was so darn excited to have my own blog button. And it came as such a surprise. I had no idea my brother was working on creating a button for me, and when I saw it… it was perfect. I loved how he incorporated both owls and typewriters.  And it makes it extra special that my blog button was made for me by someone I love.

Can’t wait to read other people’s best blogging memories!

Book Blogger Love-a-Thon Mini Challenge #4

The Book Blogger Love-a-Thon is is an online event that spends one whole day celebrating book blogging, book bloggers and book blogs all over the world. This event is hosted by Alexa at Alexa Loves Books and Katelyn at Tales of Books and Bands.

Mini-Challenge #4: 
Letter to my Beginning Blogger Self

Dear Lauren,

I know you’ve been toying with the idea of expanding your blog.  You should totally do it.  There are so many good things that will come from book blogging:

  • You’ll meet fantastic people who love to read as much as you do!
  • You’ll learn about great new books that you otherwise wouldn’t have picked up on your own.
  • You’ll get in a habit of writing daily.
  • You’ll become a stronger critical reader of books and figure out what you like and what you don’t.
  • You’ll improve in your technology skills and want to learn more about web design.
  • And… again… you’ll meet some great people!
I know you’re worried that blogging might take the place of your fiction writing. But you’ll be okay. If you need to go on hiatus because you get too busy with grad school and writing, don’t worry. The bloggers you make friends with will still be there when you get back. 

You’ll find a balance with blogging. You don’t have to post every day. You don’t have to read a gazillion books a week. Just do what you can handle.

Write thoughtful and honest reviews.  Write thoughtful and honest comments on fellow blogs.  Share your love of books and have fun.

Best Wishes,
Your Future Self

Love-a-Thon Update

The Book Blogger Love-a-Thon is is an online event that spends one whole day celebrating book blogging, book bloggers and book blogs all over the world. This event is hosted by Alexa at Alexa Loves Books and Katelyn at Tales of Books and Bands.

I plan to spend some time commenting and spreading love to other blogs today… But my birthday is February 24… so I have plans with family and friends this weekend.

I wanted to participate in the Love-a-Thon, and will be spreading some love, it just might be a bit belated love.  Hopefully I’ll be online later tonight!

Book Blogger Love-a-Thon Mini Challenge #1

The Book Blogger Love-a-Thon is is an online event that spends one whole day celebrating book blogging, book bloggers and book blogs all over the world. This event is hosted by Alexa at Alexa Loves Books and Katelyn at Tales of Books and Bands.

Mini-Challenge #1: Favorite Blogs

Yay!  I get the chance to spread the love of my favorite blogs!  These are all blogs that I adore and read regularly.  I usually bombard them with comments all at once on weekends when I set aside commenting time.  And you should read and comment on them too ^_^

Best Reviews:
Real Men Read YA: If you haven’t checked this guy out, you should because he’s hilarious.  It’s so refreshing to get a guy’s perspective on our favorite YA titles (he loved Anna and the French Kiss!) and he always gives his reviews a funny twist.
Fake Steph: I love her “WTF Moments” towards the end of all her reviews.  They often make me laugh because I agree with her.  Whether it was “Whoa… that was weird” or “OMG… can’t believe that just happened”, we’ve all had those moments when reading a book, and I love that Steph has found a way to feature that in her reviews!
Small Review: I love how she breaks down her reviews into subheadings and her explanations of what worked for her and what didn’t are always supported and well-written.  I also love that she does a decent amount of middle grade in addition to YA.  Middle grade love!
A Backwards Story: I love how Bonnie always dedicates part of her review to a book’s cover.  She often makes me notice things about the cover that I wouldn’t have otherwise noticed.

Best Book Discussion Posts:
The Overstuffed Bookcase: She has done some great events, readalongs, and discussions.  Several posts for the His Dark Materials readalong and several more for Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden series.  Her discussion posts are always well-written, thought-provoking, and worth checking out!

Best Blog Layout:
Novel Sounds: Their layout is lovely and their attention to the graphics in each post makes everything they write also a colorful treat for the eyes!
Recovering Potter Addict: I love everything about her layout.  From the Harry Potter that looks like a Powerpuff girl to her buttons in the “Harry Potter Font.”

Best Author Blogs:
The World According to Maggie: Maggie Stiefvater’s blog, my favorite posts are always her ones about writing, but she often does other funny posts.  And sometimes some angry ones… I certainly don’t want to cross her when she’s mad.
Squeetus Blog: Shannon Hale’s blog, another author blog I enjoy.  I especially liked some posts she did on the absence of female characters in animated movies.
Lois Lowry’s Blog: I adore the legendary Lois Lowry, and she keeps a lovely blog.  Maybe it’s stalkerish of me… but I especially love when she posts pictures of her office and house.  I love picturing where she works!

Book Blogger Love-a-Thon Interview Swap

The Book Blogger Love-a-Thon is is an online event that spends one whole day celebrating book blogging, book bloggers and book blogs all over the world. This event is hosted by Alexa at Alexa Loves Books and Katelyn at Tales of Books and Bands.

My first post for the Book Blogger Love-a-Thon is an interview with Dana from Little Lovely Books.  I was instantly charmed by Dana’s blog because of all the adorable owls!  Dana is a mom of 2 who enjoys blogs, reading, all things entrepreneurship and growing her faith in God. We sent each other questions about books and blogging.  Here are Dana’s answers to my questions:

1. What inspired you to start blogging? 

Like many bloggers I know, I started blogging as a way to update friends and family on my kids. That turned into me posting about many different things. In an effort to keep it all straight I started my book blog so that all mybook related posts would be there.

2. What would your ideal cozy reading spot look like? 

Curled up on my couch with a freezing cold Diet Coke within arms reach.

3. What are three things you look for in a good book? 

I am huge on believable dialogue. interesting characters and a great setting.

4. Were there any blogs, friends, or resources that helped you when you just started blogging? 

Unfortunately, no. Very few even knew what a blog was. I just learned by reading other people’s blogs and figuring out what I liked about theirs.

5. What are a few of your favorite book blogs? 

When I saw this question I checked my Google Reader and I currently have 35 bookblogs that I follow. I hate to pick favorites but I love Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner (, Alexa at Alexa Loves Books (, Gillian at Writer of Wrongs (, Kat at The Aussie Zombie ( and Eva from A Striped Armchair (
To see what questions Dana asked me, and how I answered them, take a minute to stop by Dana’s blog at Little Lovely Books!

Hughes Reviews January ’13

January was a big month!  I came back from hiatus and posted almost every day!  Woot!  I probably won’t be able to keep that up because I don’t normally read that quickly, but I should still manage 1-2 book reviews a week.

I also have to thank my brother, Patrick, who created a bunch of new pretty graphics for my blog this month.  He designed the new background (which is similar to the old one but with photographs instead).  My mom is an amazing photographer and photographed the typewriter I got for Christmas (from my other brother) which is now featured in the background images.  Patrick also designed a button and the “Hughes Reviews Seal of Approval.”  The first book to be honored with the Hughes Reviews Seal of Approval was Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld.

Here’s what went down on Hughes Reviews this January:

Behind the Story Posts:
Debut Author Challenge:
Top Ten Tuesdays:

Cinder Paperback

This is a totally self-indulgent post, but I was pretty psyched and had to share…

Yes.  My blog is in the Cinder paperback.  I already own the hardback, which I plan to get signed on February 19 by Marissa Meyer (on her birthday) in Washington DC.  But I had to go out and buy the paperback as well.  My blog has never been mentioned in a book before, so this was pretty darn exciting.

Here’s the page in the book thanking book bloggers:

And here’s my blog (in top right corner):
This made me so darn happy.  I’m definitely taking notes, and hope that someday I can thank bloggers in my book as well.
And if you haven’t yet… You should read Cinder.  It’s fantastic, and you can find my review here: