Top Ten Tuesday: Things That Make Me Instantly NOT Want to Read a Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Things That Make Me Instantly NOT Want to Read a Book (what are your immediate turn-offs or dealbreakers when it comes to books?). I read pretty broadly, so it’s hard to come up with absolute dealbreakers — but there are some genres, covers, and other elements that tend to be big NOs for me.

My top 10:

  1. This kind of cover:

Book covers with shirtless men are SO unappealing to me (and how hilarious is it that there are websites that provide templates exactly for this purpose?)

2. Overly dramatic historical romances: I do enjoy Regency fiction, so no disrespect, but in general, Regency or other historical romances that are serious (as opposed to humorous or spoofy) rarely appeal to me. So… the book on the left might be a maybe for me, but the book on the right would not. (Of course, there are exceptions, such as the fact that I gobbled up the entire Bridgerton series…)

3. Gimmicky comparisons — if the blurb says that a book is the next Harry Potter or Hunger Games, chance are (a) I won’t believe it and (b) I won’t read it.

4. Literary fiction: Not a hard and fast rule, but I’ve learned over the years that the big award winners tend not to be my kind of books.

5. Spies and/or military action. No tanks or submarines for me, thanks (although I had a brief Tom Clancy phase many, many years ago).

6. Crime/thriller/domestic thriller genres: There are exceptions, but overall, I’m just not into it. No interest in murders, blackmail, cheating spouses, corporate drama, nannies with secret identities…

7. Movie tie-in covers: This isn’t a deal-breaker… but movie tie-in covers are a big turnoff for me, and I won’t pick them up unless I really and truly want the book and there are no other options.

8. Lack of worldbuilding: This applies especially to science fiction or fantasy, but if the world-building or basic scene-setting isn’t strong enough, I’m not going to stick with the book (or I’ll finish, but I’ll be mad about it.)

9. Sequels that come out so many years after the first/previous book that I’ve stopped caring. (Pretty self-explanatory, right?)

10. Plotlines about social media influencers: This is a minor issue and easy enough to avoid, but if I pick up a book to consider and see a character described as an influencer, I put it down in a hurry. Nope, nope, nope.

That’s all I can think of! It was hard to get to 10… I guess there really isn’t all that much I’d consider an absolute dealbreaker when it comes to picking up a book.

How about you? What instantly makes you not want a book?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Things That USUALLY Make Me Want to Read a Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Things That Make Me Instantly Want to Read a Book. But I really don’t have any absolutes to share — there’s no secret formula that always works for me! So, instead, I’ll share a list of things that — most of the time — draw me in and make me at least consider reading a book.

  1. If it’s by a favorite author. This doesn’t work 100% of the time (sometimes I just won’t be interested in the topic of a new book)… but I’d say 90-95% for sure!
  2. If a favorite author blurbs it or mentions it in an interview or online post. Again, not always — but usually if I see that a go-to author is raving about a particular book, I’ll at least check it out.
  3. Cutesy bright cover. (For example, check out any of Emily Henry’s books!) I love books that look like they’ll be FUN… and if the cutesy bright cover also has books on it, even better!
  4. Books about books. Depending on the plot, of course, but I’ve yet to hate a book set in a bookstore or library.
  5. Colorful but creepy cover. Maybe dark background with overly lush flowers, for example? Something eye-catching but not necessarily comforting.
  6. Next in a series. This one’s practically a given. If I love a series, then OF COURSE I’m going to read whatever book comes next.
  7. Recommendations from people with excellent book taste. Whether real life friends or bloggers whose tastes seem to align with mine, these are the folks whose recommendations carry the most weight with me.
  8. Certain settings, especially places I love or dream of going. I’m thinking Alaska, Montana, Scotland… I could go on and on.
  9. A retelling of a favorite story. Not always, and the new version has to sound like it’s got a good twist… but I’m often down for a fairy tale retelling, or a twist on an Austen novel, or even a new version of a childhood favorite.
  10. A tie-in with a movie or TV series I’m interested in. This one can also drive me away (I hate movie tie-in covers), but if I see something popping up on Netflix that looks good and it turns out it’s an adaptation, there’s a decent chance I’ll read the book first before watching!

What makes you want to instantly grab a book?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Things Getting in the Way of Reading

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Things Getting in the Way of Reading.

I could probably just say REAL LIFE and leave it at that, but that wouldn’t fill up a top 10 list! So here we go — some specific reasons why I never end up reading quite as much as I’d like to:

1. Work. I mean, this one’s obvious. If only I had those extra 8 – 10 hours to do with as I pleased… just think of all the books!

2. Family time: Not that I mind! I love spending time with family.

3. Streaming: Netflix, I see you! I love my streaming habits, so I don’t regret the time I spend devouring good TV.

4. Blogging: It’s true — time spent blogging about reading means time not actually spent reading.

5. Jigsaw puzzles: I’ll go a month without taking out a puzzle, but once I start one, I’m pretty obsessive about working on it until I finish.

6. Other puzzles: I also have a subscription to New York Times games, so every day I need to do the daily crossword, the mini, Spelling Bee, and more.

7. Chatting with friends: Again, not that I mind! I usually listen to audiobooks during my walks, but that’s also a good time to catch up on phone calls and check in with people. Can’t do both at the same time.

8. Driving with others: Driving is my other prime audiobook listening time, but obviously, can’t do that when I’m giving someone else a ride.

I can’t really think of anything that truly gets in the way, so I’ll wrap up with:

9. Sleepiness: I always read in bed… but there are days where I just can’t stay awake enough to concentrate and have to give it up. Silly things like needing to sleep interfering with my reading habits!

10. Bad lighting: Just an occasional annoyance, but I can’t stand settling in at a coffee shop for a quick reading break, and then not being able to see the page in front of me!

What gets in the way of your reading?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Recommend to Others the Most

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Books I Recommend to Others the Most.

I feel like I have a tendency to rave about the same books over and over again (*cough* Outlander *cough*), so I’m going to make an effort in this post to spread the love a bit. My focus this time around will be books I’ve recommended a bunch in the last few years. How’s that for non-specific?

Here are my 10:

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

I read this book a long time ago, but I find myself recommending it at least a few times each year!

Kate Shugak series by Dana Stabenow

Believe it or not, the 23rd book in the series was just released this year! I love the characters and plotlines in this Alaska-based series so much… and yes, before you ask, you really do need to start at the beginning. It’s worth it, I promise!

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Not only is this book delightfully creepy, it’s also amazing on audiobook. In fact, this is the first audiobook that made me truly fall in love with the listening experience — something about the narrator’s delivery absolutely drew me in and wouldn’t let go.

A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny

Such a weird and wonderful book! With a chapter for each day of the month of October, it’s easy to see why some people (i.e., me!) make an annual tradition of re-reading this book.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Actually, I recommend the entire Folk of the Air trilogy… a lot! I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Holly Black, but these books really are special.

The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King

For anyone who tells me that they’re too scared to try a Stephen King book, this is the one I try to push into their hands. His storytelling gifts shine in a fantasy tale just as much as in horror.

Emily Starr trilogy by L. M. Montgomery

I’m very, very late to the joys of L. M. Montgomery’s fictional worlds, and I’m trying to make up for lost time! I could easily recommend the Anne books, or The Blue Castle, or Jane of Lantern Hill… but for whatever reason, these Emily books just make me really happy.

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

I could put pretty much any book by this author on my list! I’ve loved them all — but The Calculating Stars really spoke to me and moved me. I recommend everything she’s written, but this is the book I consider a stand-out!

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

And now for something a little lighter! This series (4 books) is sweet and romantic, and I love the RenFaire settings. Great escapist romance — and who doesn’t need that every once in a while?

Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

Not only is this the 1st in a terrific sci-fi series, and not only is the writing smart, funny, and engaging… but Old Man’s War is also the first book to turn my reading-averse teen into someone who wouldn’t put the book down, and then immediately demanded the sequel as soon as he finished it. And that right there makes this a book to recommend!

Have you read any of my recommended books? Which books do you recommend the most?

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Top Ten Tuesday: The First 10 Books I Randomly Grabbed from My Shelf 

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is The First 10 Books I Randomly Grabbed from My Shelf.

It was hard to be totally random, since I have a pretty good idea of where all my books live — but I made a valiant attempt to close my eyes, circle my arms around a few times, and then point!

Here are the 10 I landed on:

Lute by Jennifer Thorne

Read? Yes!
Rating? 5 stars
Thoughts? Absolutely gorgeous. (review)

You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon

Read? Yes!
Rating? 4.5 stars
Thoughts? A slim, affecting collection of interconnected stories about Army families. I read this before I started blogging, so I don’t have a review to share — but I highly recommend this book!

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters

Read? Yes
Rating? 5 stars
Thoughts? Another pre-blogging read, and my 2nd Sarah Waters book (after Fingersmith, which is amazing). This one is terrific too!

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Read? Yes
Rating? 5 stars
Thoughts? So powerful. A must-read. (review)

Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

Read? No (not yet!)
Rating? n/a
Thoughts? I absolutely intend to read this book! I’ve heard such good things.

The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

Read? Yes!
Rating? 3 stars
Thoughts? This is the 3rd book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy. I had very mixed feelings about the trilogy as a whole, and at over 800 pages, this book really required determination to finish. Still, I liked the overall story enough to see it through. (review)

The Marvels by Brian Selznick

Read? Yes
Rating? 5 stars
Thoughts? If you check out my review, you’ll see the word “beautiful” repeated over and over again — and I stand by it!

Lady Cop Makes Trouble by Amy Stewart

Read? Yes!
Rating? 5 stars
Thoughts? I’m surprised that I didn’t write a review at the time, but I know I loved this 2nd Kopp Sisters book, and have since read every book in the series!

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

Read? Yes
Rating? 5 stars
Thoughts? I picked up this hardcover edition years ago at a library sale, because my battered old paperback got lost somewhere between moves over the ages since I first read it. I intend to reread this book at some point!

Wings to the Kingdom by Cherie Priest

Read? No
Rating? n/a
Thoughts? This is the 2nd book in the Eden Moore trilogy. I own all three… and haven’t touched them yet, despite the years they’ve been sitting on my shelf. The covers are all amazing and ghostly, and I’m committed to reading them… eventually.

Spinning around the room and randomly pointing at books was strangely fun! (And a good reminder that I still have tons of unread books on my shelves…)

How did you do with this week’s random picking?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Audiobook Narrators

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Favorite Audiobook Narrators. I do love audiobooks, and definitely have some narrators I especially love to listen to.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Here are my 10:

  1. Julia Whelan – I’ve listened to so many audiobooks that she’s narrated, but favorites include Thank You For Listening (which she also wrote), The Giver of Stars, and Daisy Jones & The Six.
  2. Moira Quirk: Narrator of the Custard Protocol and Finishing School series by Gail Carriger, and also the excellent The Midnight Bargain by C. L. Polk.
  3. Wil Wheaton: Does a great job with John Scalzi’s books. Most recently, I loved his hilarious presentation of The Kaiju Preservation Society.
  4. Zachary Quinto: Another Scalzi narrator — he’s great in the Dispatcher series of audiobooks.
  5. Mary Robinette Kowal: Besides being an absolutely awesome author, she’s also a wonderful audiobook narrator. In addition to her own books, I’ve loved her narration for Seanan McGuire’s many audiobooks.
  6. Lorelei King: Terrific narration of the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs.
  7. Davina Porter: Narrates the Outlander series, and that’s not easy! She’s convincing as an 18th century Scottish Highlander as well as a 20th century British nurse.
  8. Jeff Woodman: In another of Diana Gabaldon’s series, Jeff Woodman is the perfect narrator for the Lord John books — his delivery as Lord John is fabulous.
  9. Juliet Stevenson: There’s not another narrator I’d rather listen to for Jane Austen audiobooks.
  10. Christina Moore: I love her narration of Amy Stewart’s Kopp Sisters books. She gives such personality to each of the characters.

Who are your favorite audiobook narrators? Do we have any in common?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books with animals on the cover

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Titles with Animals In Them and/or Covers with Animals On Them. I love looking at interesting book covers, so I’m going with the book cover theme. Here are my 10:

  1. Hollow Kingdome by Kira Jane Buxton
  2. 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith
  3. The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black
  4. Down the Mysterly River by Bill Willingham
  5. Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
  6. American Hippo by Sarah Gailey
  7. The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal
  8. Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs
  9. Winter Rose by Patricia A. McKillip
  10. The Chronicles of Chrestomanci by Diana Wynne Jones

What books made your list this week? If you wrote a TTT post, please share your link!