Top Ten Tuesday: It’s all above LOVE… My ten favorite love stories from this past year 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 Love Freebie, which means we all put our own spin on the topic of LOVE.

I thought I’d keep it simple, and highlight my ten favorite love stories that I read in the past year:

1. Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory: A love story where the main characters are in their 50s and HOT? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!

2. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston: Sticking with the royal theme — just such an adorable story.

3. The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary: A super cute set-up with great follow-through.

4. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Just breathtaking.

5. The Unkindest Tide by Seanan McGuire. Okay, technically not a love story… but this urban fantasy series includes one of my favorite fictional couples, Toby and Tybalt, so it counts!

6. The Dinner List by Rebecca Searle: This is another that’s not an obvious choice, but there is a love story at the heart of this unusual novel, and its power grows over the course of the book.

7. Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy: Yes, true, this also isn’t a love story exactly… but this outstanding prequel to Anne of Green Gables features a truly poignant, sad tale of unfulfilled love that absolutely broke my heart.

8. Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Henry: I know many fans of this author duo didn’t adore this book, but I did! I thought it was sweet and charming and just right for me.

9. The Summer series by Jenny Han: Not quite as wonderful as the Lara Jean books, but still sweet and touching.

10. Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center: Powerful and moving.

There you have it! But enough about me… What were the best love stories you read during the past year?

If you wrote a TTT post this week, please share your link and let me know your topic!

And PS – Happy (early) Valentine’s Day!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My TBR I Predict Will Be 5-Star Reads

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 On My TBR I Predict Will Be 5-Star Reads. Fun, right? I may not have a crystal ball, but I have a pretty strong feeling that these books are going to rock!

 

  1. A Killing Frost by Seanan McGuire: My #1 pick for 5-star status, because how could the new Toby Daye book be anything but amazing?
  2. Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs: Same as above, but insert “Mercy Thompson”…
  3. The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal: I love the Lady Astronaut books so much
  4. Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey: Releasing this week! I’ve loved her other books, so I have high hopes for this one.
  5. The Book of Koli by M. R. Carey: Another author I know I can count on!
  6. Time After Time by LIsa Grunwald: There’s always room on my shelf for a timey-wimey story.
  7. The Goblin Emperor by Katherin Addison: Not a new release, but a book from my shelf that I’m determined to finally read.
  8. The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman: Also not a new release, but I’m excited to read it.
  9. The Deep by Alma Katsu: I can’t imagine not loving this.
  10. In Five Years by Rebecca Searle: I just love the sound of the plot.

What are your five-star predictions for 2020? Do we have any in common?

Please share your thoughts, and if you wrote a TTT post this week, please share your link!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Cover Elements I Love & Loathe

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 Book Cover Freebie – meaning we come up with our own spin on the topic, so long as it relates to book covers.

I thought I’d keep it simple and highlight types of covers that I love… plus a couple that I loathe.

I LOVE:

1. Covers featuring dreamy characters gazing out to sea — my favorite example being this lovely cover for The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley:

2. Bright colors on a black background: Maybe it became popular back with Twilight, but I’m always a sucker for the bright-on-black look.

3. Cutesy cartoon-y romance covers:

4. Cheesy 70s covers:

5. Moody urban fantasy heroes:

6. A series with a committed cover theme:

7. Bonkers looks for a bonkers book — such as these covers for books by Grady Hendrix:

8. Covers full of YUM — I’m not a foodie, but I do love a good cupcake!

 

And just a couple types of covers that I LOATHE:

9. Bare chests. Muscles. Tattoos. Muscle-y tattooed chests. You get what I mean.

[Note: Sorry — I started looking for images to go with this one, and I just couldn’t. For whatever reason, this type of cover makes me cringe SO much.]

10. Movie/TV tie-ins. I mean, I love a great adaptation as much as anyone, but I still prefer my book covers to be just book covers, not pictures of movie or TV stars. Even for my beloved Outlander series, I’d still take an old-fashioned cover over the new Jamie/Claire/TV cover (and don’t get me wrong, I adore the TV series!)

 

Are there certain types of covers that you love or loathe? Let me know what you think!

And if you wrote a TTT post this week, please share your link.

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Top Ten Tuesday: The Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf

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 Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf. I’m going to double up here and highlight two sets of ten — the ten most recent physical books I purchased, as well as the ten most recent Kindle books I added.

My most recent print additions:

And my ten most recent e-books:
[Note: I tend to grab e-books I’m interested in whenever I see a price break, which is the case with most of these…]

Have you read any of these? Which do you think should go to the top of my priority list?

And what are your most recent additions to your shelves? Please share your TTT links!

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Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2019

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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 Bookish Discoveries I Made In 2019. For this week’s list, I thought I’d use a favorite annual topic, focusing on new-to-me authors I had the pleasure of “discovering” during the past year.

Here are some of the great books I read in 2019 that are by authors I’d never read before:

1) John Boyne — Now that I’ve read The Heart’s Invisible Furies, I must read more of his work.

2) Craig DiLouie — I loved the two powerful and disturbing novels by this author that I read in 2019: One of Us and Our War.

3) L. M. Montgomery – I finally read the Anne of Green Gables series — all eight books! In this new year, I hope to read some of her other works as well.

4) Christina Henry – I loved The Girl in Red and The Mermaid. Now I need to read everything else she’s written.

5) Leigh Bardugo — I really enjoyed the complicated, creepy Ninth House. I’m not sure that I’m interested in reading her YA books, but I certainly want a sequel to Ninth House!

6) Theodora GossThe Thorn and the Blossom was beautiful, and I got a huge kick out of The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter. I’ll be continuing that series shortly, I hope.

7) Kelli EstesToday We Go Home is a powerful dual-timeline narrative focusing on women at war. Now that I’ve read it, I need to read her earlier novel which I missed when it was one of my book group’s picks. Talented writer!

8) T. KingfisherThe Twisted Ones was perfectly creepy (and has great humor and a great dog). I’ll be wanting to read more by this author too!

9) Alix E. Harrow — Her debut novel The Ten Thousand Doors of January was brilliant. Can’t wait to see what she does next!

10) Lindy West — I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, but I’m so glad I made time for Shrill. This author has a lot to say, and knows how to say it.

Are you a fan of any of these new-to-me authors? Are there any of their works that you’d particularly recommend?

What bookish discoveries did you make in 2019? Please share your TTT links!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top ten bookish gifts I’d love to find by the light of my menorah (2019)

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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 Hope to Find Under My Tree — but I switched it up a bit to reflect my holiday celebrations!

My TTT list is partially wish list items, and partially things I’d probably never buy myself, but would 100% be happy to have as gifts. (And yes, some of these are repeats from previous years. A reader can dream, can’t she?) Anyway, practically no one buys me books as gifts, because they all assume I already have ALL the books.

1. There are a few music biographies that I probably wouldn’t buy myself, but I’d love to receive as gifts:

2. I came across this adorable DIY bookstore craft kit. Doesn’t it look like fun? (Available to order via Signals catalog)

3. I love board games, so there are a bunch I might put on a wish list, but sticking with a bookish theme, I think this one looks perfect for book lovers:

 

4. These Penguin hardcovers have been on my want list for years:

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5. This is a hold-over from previous years’ lists. I will always want this Pendleton blanket, but would never actually spend that kind of money on it. (Plus, I don’t think Pendleton is still making them, so good luck tracking one down!)

6. The October Daye series by Seanan McGuire is one of my very favorites, and this fall the first book, Rosemary & Rue, was reissued in hardcover with a bonus novella. And the fangirl in me absolutely wants a copy (even though I already own the paperback and the e-book).

 

7. Any fun, cute bookish accessory, like bookmarks, bookends, mugs, etc!

(Note: My daughter actually just gave me two of these items — the poster and the first lines mug — so I’m a very happy camper and a super blessed mom!)

8, 9, 10, and beyond: Books that I’d love to own, and have either (a) borrowed from the library, (b) read the e-book, (c) listened to the audiobook, or (d) recently added to my TBR list:

Wishing all a peaceful, joyous holiday season!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten ARCs for early 2020

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 a Freebie, so we each choose whatever topic we’d like I’m keeping it simple this time. I’ve decided to focus on 10 ARCs I have coming up to read and review in the first few months of 2020. I’m excited for all of these!

(Covers and synopses via Goodreads)

1. Welcome to the Pine Away Motel & Cabins by Katarina Bivald – release date 1/7/2020

What it’s about: A charming tale of the folks who reunite at a ramshackle roadside motel in Pine Creek, Oregon, after the unfortunate death of Henny, a local who worked at the cabins all her life, and who isn’t going to let a tiny thing like death stop her from living fully — not when her friends and her little town need her the most.

Why I want to read it: I loved Katarina Bivald’s first novel, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend (review). This new book sounds just as sweet and quirky.

Release date: 1/7/2020

 

2. The Vanished Birds by Simon JImenez

What it’s about: Nia Imani is a woman out of place and outside of time. Decades of travel through the stars are condensed into mere months for her, though the years continue to march steadily onward for everyone she has ever known. Her friends and lovers have aged past her; all she has left is work. Alone and adrift, she lives only for the next paycheck, until the day she meets a mysterious boy, fallen from the sky.

Why I want to read it: Time travel and space travel and mysterious encounters… this definitely sounds like a book for me.

Release date: 1/14/2020

 

3. Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse 

What it’s about:Lately, seventh grader Nizhoni Begay has been able to detect monsters, like that man in the fancy suit who was in the bleachers at her basketball game. Turns out he’s Mr. Charles, her dad’s new boss at the oil and gas company, and he’s alarmingly interested in Nizhoni and her brother, Mac, their Navajo heritage, and the legend of the Hero Twins. Nizhoni knows he’s a threat, but her father won’t believe her.

When Dad disappears the next day, leaving behind a message that says “Run!”, the siblings and Nizhoni’s best friend, Davery, are thrust into a rescue mission that can only be accomplished with the help of Diné Holy People, all disguised as quirky characters. Their aid will come at a price: the kids must pass a series of trials in which it seems like nature itself is out to kill them. If Nizhoni, Mac, and Davery can reach the House of the Sun, they will be outfitted with what they need to defeat the ancient monsters Mr. Charles has unleashed. But it will take more than weapons for Nizhoni to become the hero she was destined to be . . .

Why I want to read it: I loved Rebecca Roanhorse’s The Sixth World books (and can’t wait for more!). This middle grade novel sounds like such fun, and I already know I love the author’s writing.

Release date: 1/14/2020

 

4. A Witch in Time by Constance Sayers

What it’s about:In 1895, sixteen-year-old Juliet LaCompte has a passionate, doomed romance with the married Parisian painter Auguste Marchant. When her mother — a witch — attempts to cast a curse on Marchant, she unwittingly summons a demon, binding her daughter to both the artist and this supernatural being for all time. Juliet is fated to re-live her affair and die tragically young lifetime after lifetime as the star-crossed lovers reincarnate through history. The demon — who appears to Juliet in all her reincarnations as a mysterious, handsome, and worldly benefactor-has been helplessly in love with her since 19th century France, even though she forgets him each time she dies. He falls for her in 1930s Hollywood, in 1970s Los Angeles, and finally in present-day Washington D.C. — where she begins to develop powers of her own. In this life, she starts to remember her tragic past lives. But this time, she might have the power to break the cycle…

Why I want to read it: More timey-wimey intrigue and romance! Sounds amazing.

Release date: 2/11/2020

 

5. Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales

What it’s about: When Ollie meets his dream guy, Will, over summer break, he thinks he’s found his Happily Ever After. But once summer’s ended, Will stops texting him back, and Ollie finds himself one prince short of a fairytale ending. To complicate the fairytale further, a family emergency sees Ollie uprooted and enrolled at a new school across the country—Will’s school—where Ollie finds that the sweet, affectionate and comfortably queer guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High. This Will is a class clown, closeted—and, to be honest, a bit of a jerk.

Ollie has no intention of pining after a guy who clearly isn’t ready for a relationship. But as Will starts ‘coincidentally’ popping up in every area of Ollie’s life, from music class to the lunch table, Ollie finds his resolve weakening.

The last time he gave Will his heart, Will handed it back to him trampled and battered. Ollie would have to be an idiot to trust him with it again.

Right?

Right.

Why I want to read it: Doesn’t it just sound sweet and fun? I think by March, I’ll be ready for a strong dose of YA romance.

Release date: 3/3/2020

 

6. In Five Years by Rebecca Searle

What it’s about:Where do you see yourself in five years?

When Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Cohan is asked this question at the most important interview of her career, she has a meticulously crafted answer at the ready. Later, after nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, Dannie goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve her five-year plan.

But when she wakes up, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. The television news is on in the background, and she can just make out the scrolling date. It’s the same night—December 15—but 2025, five years in the future.

Why I want to read it: More time-shifting! Plus romance! Plus, I just read my first book by this author, The Dinner List (review), and completely fell in love with it.

Release date: 3/3/2020

 

7. A Murderous Relation (Veronica Speedwell #5) by Deanna Raybourn

What it’s about: Veronica Speedwell and her natural historian colleague Stoker are asked by Lady Wellingtonia Beauclerk to help with a potential scandal so explosive it threatens to rock the monarchy. Prince Albert Victor is a regular visitor to the most exclusive private club in London, known as the Club de l’Etoile, and the proprietess, Madame Aurore, has received an expensive gift that can be traced back to the prince. Lady Wellie would like Veronica and Stoker to retrieve the jewel from the club before scandal can break.

Why I want to read it: I love this series! Veronica is an amazing heroine, and her adventures with Stoker are always exciting, funny, and steamy. I’ve been ready for this book ever since I finished #4, A Dangerous Collaboration (review).

Release date: 3/10/2020

 

8. The Deep by Alma Katsu 

What it’s about:Someone, or something, is haunting the Titanic.

This is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the passengers of the ship from the moment they set sail: mysterious disappearances, sudden deaths. Now suspended in an eerie, unsettling twilight zone during the four days of the liner’s illustrious maiden voyage, a number of the passengers – including millionaires Madeleine Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, the maid Annie Hebbley and Mark Fletcher – are convinced that something sinister is going on . . . And then, as the world knows, disaster strikes.

Years later and the world is at war. And a survivor of that fateful night, Annie, is working as a nurse on the sixth voyage of the Titanic’s sister ship, the Britannic, now refitted as a hospital ship. Plagued by the demons of her doomed first and near fatal journey across the Atlantic, Annie comes across an unconscious soldier she recognises while doing her rounds. It is the young man Mark. And she is convinced that he did not – could not – have survived the sinking of the Titanic . . .

Why I want to read it: Horror set on the Titanic? I need no further convincing — this is an absolute yes for me.

Release date: 3/10/2020

 

9. The Red Lotus by Chris Bohjalian

What it’s about:The first time Alexis saw Austin, it was a Saturday night. Not in a bar, but in the emergency room where Alexis sutured a bullet wound in Austin’s arm. Six months later, on the brink of falling in love, they travel to Vietnam on a bike tour so that Austin can show her his passion for cycling and he can pay his respects to the place where his father and uncle fought in the war. But as Alexis sips white wine and waits at the hotel for him to return from his solo ride, two men emerge from the tall grass and Austin vanishes into thin air. The only clue he leaves behind is a bright yellow energy gel dropped on the road. As Alexis grapples with this bewildering loss, and deals with the FBI, Austin’s prickly family, and her colleagues at the hospital, Alexis uncovers a series of strange lies that force her to wonder: Where did Austin go? Why did he really bring her to Vietnam? And how much danger has he left her in? Set amidst the adrenaline-fueled world of the emergency room, The Red Lotus is a global thriller about those who dedicate their lives to saving people, and those who peddle death to the highest bidder.

Why I want to read it: I’ve never yet been disappointed by a Chris Bohjalian book! The plot sounds fascinating — I’m dying to know what happens.

Release date: 3/17/2020

 

10. The Last Human by Zack Jordan 

What it’s about:The last human in the universe is on the run from a godlike intelligence in this rip-roaring debut space opera.

Sarya is the civilized galaxy’s worst nightmare: a Human.

Most days, Sarya doesn’t feel like the most terrifying creature in the galaxy.

Most days, she’s got other things on her mind. Like hiding her identity among the hundreds of alien species roaming the corridors of Watertower Station. Or making sure her adoptive mother doesn’t casually eviscerate one of their neighbors. Again.

And most days, she can almost accept that she’ll never know the truth–that she’ll never know why humanity was deemed too dangerous to exist. Or whether she really is–impossibly–the lone survivor of a species destroyed a millennium ago.

That is, until an encounter with a bounty hunter and a miles-long kinetic projectile leaves her life and her perspective shattered.

Why I want to read it: Who doesn’t love a good/funny space adventure?

Release date: 3/24/2020

 

Are you planning to read any of these? What books are you most excited for in early 2020?

Please share your thoughts, and if you wrote a TTT post, please share your link!

Top Ten Tuesday: Cold & snowy books for cold & snowy days

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 Holiday Reads — books we love to read during the holiday season. I don’t particularly read holiday-themed books, but I do love a good wintry feel. Since I’ve already done a TTT about winter settings, I thought I’d go with books with winter elements in the title — anything to do with snow or being cold. Brrrrrrr.

1. A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon – Yes, any excuse to include an Outlander book!

2. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater – I didn’t love everything about this trilogy, but the first book in particular was so haunting and powerful.

3. Snowblind by Christopher Golden (review) – Yikes, horror in the snow! Pretty terrifying.

4. The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire (review) – I love me some Toby Daye. The entire series is excellent, and this was a particularly good one.

5. Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs (review) – I love the Mercy Thompson books too. Mercy is such an awesome hero.

6. A Fine and Bitter Snow by Dana Stabenow – The Kate Shugak series is one of my favorites… and a new book is coming in January!

7. Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham – The Fables series is amazing. I think I need a reread.

8. Snow Glass Apples by Neil Gaiman (review) – This story has always been a favorite, and the new illustrated version is gorgeous.

9. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (because it’s about SIMON SNOW!!) (review) – All sorts of yes for Simon and Baz.

10. In Falling Snow by Mary-Rose MacColl (review) – A lovely historical novel that I read with my book group.

What are your favorite winter books?

Please share your thoughts, and if you wrote a TTT post, please share your link!

Top Ten Tuesday: The more things change, the more things stay the same

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 Changes In My Reading Life, with the explanation maybe you like different genres or topics, maybe you read faster than you used to, maybe you only like standalones now.

Here are some ways my reading preferences and habits have changed over the years:

1. I read on my Kindle much more frequently than I use to. Probably because it’s so easy and portable (especially since it syncs with my phone app, so I never have to wonder where I left off). Also, my husband is strictly a Kindle reader, and I end up purchasing the Kindle format more often for our shared library.

2. I think I’ve burned out when it comes to reading historical fiction set during the World Wars. I’ve read some amazing novels set during these times, but for right now, other time periods and settings are much more appealing to me.

3. Not so much a fan of high fantasy these days. I can’t be bothered learning entirely new systems of magic or the rules of new kingdoms.

4. I have less patience for books that don’t grab me within the first chapter or so. I have the power to DNF, and I’m not afraid to use it!

5. I’m trying to be much more cautious about requesting ARCs — I need to preserve time for me to read on a whim, and not based on publication date or other commitments.

And here are some things about me as a reader that have not changed at all:

1. I never, ever, ever leave the house without a book — or at the very least, without access to my Kindle app.

 

2. I continue to buy more books than I can possibly read in a year… or a lifetime.

3. I’m a complete mood reader. Having to stick to a reading plan makes me grumpy.

4. If you want to make friends with me, ask me what I’ve read recently.

5. I skip from genre to genre whenever possible — if I read too many of any one type of book, I can feel myself losing interest and have to switch it up.

 

 

How about you? Have you changed as a reader?

If you did a TTT post this week, please share your link!

Top Ten Tuesday: My best loved bookmarks

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 Bookmarks. I’m not afraid to admit I’m somewhat of a bookmark hoarder — I just never feel like I have enough!

My favorites tend not to be fancy or expensive. I love going into souvenir shops when I travel and picking up the simple touristy paper bookmarks that can usually be found on the postcard racks. I do have a few other odds and ends as well, so without further ado, here’s a guide to my bookmark collection!

1. Outlander love. You didn’t actually think I’d do a TTT post that doesn’t mention my favorite book series, did you? Here’s a little magnetic Jamie and Claire, who never fail to make me smile while they’re marking my page.

2. It’s Nessie! Isn’t she cute? Not the most practical of bookmarks — she only stays in place when the book is placed carefully on my nightstand. Certainly not a good candidate for reading on the go. Still, she’s just so darn adorable! (Available from Animi Causa)

3. Sassy grandmother — the translation from Hebrew is basically: Bored? Go read a book! (Resting on a copy of Pride and Prejudice — always a good choice.)

4. A super cool leather bookmark with a glamorous masked vampire, a gift from a friend who brought this back for me from New Orleans.

 

5. Pretty and fancy! Silver and beads, lace and a dragonfly charm, and a golden chamsah. All gifts, all very much appreciated.

6. Travel bookmarks! Just plain paper bookmarks, but I do love bringing them home with me from everywhere I go.

 

7. A little Ice and Fire is always welcome…

8. This is so true. Heavy books are tough!

9. Girl Power! This bookmark is sold by She Is Booked, and all purchases support charities and women’s causes. Feel good, change the world, and get a great bookmark!

 

10. Couldn’t resist: Here are just a few of the random items I’ve used as bookmarks in moments of desperation. Because the first and only rule of bookmarks is… always use a bookmark! Dog-earing is for savages.

And a bonus bookmark… because I finished this post and forgot that I took a picture of my magnetic sloth in action! Everyone needs a sloth to hold their page, right?

I’m clearly not a gifted photographer, but I do love my bookmarks, and had lots of fun tracking these down from all their little hiding places around my house.

It’s your turn! Show me your bookmarks!

Or, you know, just go ahead and share your TTT link…

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