Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Heroines


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 Heroines. This felt like a familiar topic to me, but it looks like it’s been many years since I put together a similar list, and by now I have plenty of new ones to highlight!

Here are ten of my favorites (hint: the first one will not be a surprise!):

  1. Claire Fraser – Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
  2. Mercy Thompson – Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs
  3. October Daye – October Daye series by Seanan McGuire
  4. Erin, Mac, Tiffany and KJ – Paper Girls graphic novels by Brian K. Vaughan
  5. Zinnia Gray – A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow
  6. Mika Moon – The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna
  7. Marra – Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
  8. Beatrice Clayborn – The Midnight Bargain by C. L. Polk
  9. Jane Ellsworth – Glamourist Histories series by Mary Robinette Kowal
  10. Sunny Nwazue – The Nsibidi Scripts series by Nnedi Okorafor

Who are your favorite heroines?

If you wrote a TTT post, please share your link!

Top Ten Tuesday: It’s all above LOVE… My ten favorite love stories from this past year of reading (new & improved for 2023)

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.

Focusing on my favorite love stories from the books I’ve read recently has become my go-to topic for the “love freebie” TTT topic — I’ve been keeping it going since 2020! Here are my ten favorite love stories that I read in the past year:

1. Boyfriend Material and Husband Material by Alexis Hall: I read both of these in 2022, and loved the development of the main characters’ relationship.

2. Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean: This secretly-a-princess duology is a wonderful treat, and I really enjoyed the main character’s romantic dilemmas.

3. An Island Wedding by Jenny Colgan: The 5th and final book in the Mure series is a wonderful wrap-up (despite my frustration over one dangling plotline). So many of the characters get happily-ever-afters, which is great, because five books in, I adore these characters so much.

4. The Comeback by Lily Chu: The romance — between a non-famous woman and her incognito houseguest who ends up being one of K-pop’s biggest idols of all times — is definitely wish-fulfillment, but it’s just so much fun. Loved the audiobook!

5. The No-Show by Beth O’Leary: This book is heart-breaking as well as entertaining, and it takes quite a while to feel anything but exasperated with the male lead… but then? Boom. Loved this book, and highly recommend reading it with as little info in advance as possible.

6. Not Your Average Hot Guy by Gwenda Bond: I’m including this here because it’s so, so silly, and because I’m pretty sure this is the only book I’ve ever read with a romance between a woman who works in her family’s escape room business and the (literal) Prince of Hell.

7. By the Book by Jasmine Guillory: What’s not to love about a modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast?

8. A Season for Second Chances by Jenny Bayliss: I love a good small-town, new-chance-at-love story, and this one has so many great ingredients — lovely setting, a café, a sea rescue, and grown-ups in relationships!

9. Heading Over the Hill by Judy Leigh: Main characters Dawnie and Billy are absolutely #couplegoals! I need to read more (much more!) by this author.

10. The Unplanned Life of Josie Hale by Stephanie Eding: When’s the last time you read a romance with a single, pregnant woman as the main character? This was a first for me, and I really enjoyed it.

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!

Happy Valentine’s Day!





Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Hope to Try in 2023


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 2023 Debut Books I’m Excited About — but I really don’t tend to get very excited about debut books in advance (and don’t even keep track of upcoming debuts), so this topic was a non-starter for me.

Instead, I thought I’d spin off from the designated topic, moving from books by new authors to books by authors who are new to me. Much easier to come up with a list of ten!

Here are ten authors whose books I plan (or hope) to try in 2023:

  1. Farrah Rochon
  2. Deepa Varadarajan
  3. Victor LaValle
  4. Claire Keegan
  5. Nikki Erlick
  6. Colleen Oakley
  7. Jenni Fagan
  8. Trish Doller
  9. Nita Prose
  10. Deesha Philyaw

Two of these (Nikki Erlick and Claire Keegan) are authors of books my book group will be reading later this year, and the rest are an assortment of books that I’ve had on my radar for a while plus a couple of ARCs.

Have you read any of the books pictured above, or read other books by these authors? Are there any in particular you’d recommend?

If you wrote a TTT post, please share your link!

Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2022


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 New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2022.

I actually have a very long list for 2022 — but I’ll narrow it down to the the 10 I enjoyed the most. So hard to choose!

  • Darcie Little Badger
  • Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows (yes, these are three people, but they co-authored the book I read!)
  • Jennifer Thorne
  • Sara Novic
  • Julia Whelan (I’ve listened to her narrate audiobooks before, but this was my first encounter with a book she wrote herself)
  • Judy Leigh
  • Malinda Lo
  • Zoje Stage
  • Alexis Hall
  • A. G. Slatter

If you’ve read any other books by these authors, please let me know which you’d recommend!

What new-to-you authors did you discover in 2022? Any particular favorites? Do we have any in common?

If you wrote a TTT post, please share your link!

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Goals for 2023


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 Goals for 2023.

At the risk of being totally repetitive, I’m basically repurposing the version of this topic that I did in 2021 (apparently, I didn’t bother writing one in 2022!). Year after year, certain basic goals, resolutions, concepts remain true.

I really don’t believe in making resolutions, but I do have some general ideas about how I want to focus my reading in 2023, so here we go:

Read whatever I feel like. Okay, I say this every year… and every year it’s worth repeating! Other than book group reading commitments, I’m going to mostly be sticking to reading without a plan. It’s a wonderful feeling!

Keep ARCS to a minimum. I feel like I’ve been getting better at this. It can be hard to resist requesting every shiny new book that comes up on NetGalley, but I know I’m happiest when I’m not overloaded with obligation books.

Read at least a few of the books/series I highlighted in my series-to-read post for this year.

Tackle at least a few books outside my comfort zone or that will take a bit of extra effort. The main one I have in mind is The Silmarillion (but don’t hold me to it — plans may change!)

For the sake of keeping bad habits in check, don’t hit the Buy Now button for Kindle books just because they’re a price break! I have more books in my Kindle library than I know what to do with. I’m trying to get better at only buying e-books when I’m ready to read them. (This already seems like it’ll be tough to stick with… but it’s worth making the effort.)

And one ongoing task — I should probably reorganize my bookshelves (yet again) and put together a new stack of books to donate. One of these rainy days, I’ll get around to this one!

That’s about it for me. I hope to have a year full of fun, enjoyable reading with very few requirements about when I finish a certain book or what to read in any given moment.

What are your bookish goals for 2023? Wishing everyone a very happy and healthy year… with plenty of great books to read!

Top Ten Tuesday: [FREEBIE TOPIC] Books my book group will be reading in 2023

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 — we all choose our own topics!

I haven’t done a TTT post in a while and my brain cells are not feeling up for anything too challenging… so I’m keeping it simple. My book group picks our monthly discussion books for an entire calendar year ahead of time, and we’ve just finalized our selections for 2023!

So yes, that makes this a top 12 list — but I couldn’t decide which two to leave out, so I’m going for it.

Here’s what we’ll be reading in 2023:

  1. January – Miss Austen by Gil Hornby
  2. February – An Easy Death (Gunnie Rose, #1) by Charlaine Harris
  3. March – The Heroine’s Journey by Gail Carriger
  4. April – Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
  5. May – Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert Heinlein
  6. June – The Matchmaker’s Gift by Lynda Loigman Cohen
  7. July – The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict & Victoria Christopher Murray
  8. August – Cotillion by Georgette Heyer
  9. September – The Measure by Nikki Erlick
  10. October – Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson
  11. November – Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
  12. December – Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

As you can see, we aim for a mix of genres as well as a mix of newer and older books. I have to say, I think we’ve done a great job planning for next year! I’ve already read our March and November books, but I’m happy to read them again, and I’m excited for all the new books I’ll be reading and discussing with my amazing group.

Have you read any of these? What do you think of our choices?

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

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I might (but probably won’t) finish

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 Series I’d Like to Start/Catch up on/Finish.

I feel like I’ve done variations on this topic several times and don’t particularly want to repeat myself… but I’ll give it my best shot anyway. The following are series that I’ve started, but which I think I’ll probably never go back to.

(I only came up with eight… but that’s plenty!)

1) Poldark series by Winston Graham: I’ve read 7 of the 12 books in the series, and the 7th takes the story up to the point where the TV adaptation wraps up. And you know what? I think I’m good. As far as I understand, the next books start shifting the focus to a younger generation, and I’m just not as interested. Will I ever continue this series? Unlikely.

2) The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski: I’ve read 4, and have 4 more left. I like the books, but didn’t want to get too far out in front of the Netflix storylines. Will I ever continue this series? I’d say it’s about a 50/50 chance.

3) Miss Peregrine series by Ransom Riggs: I read the first 3 books, when they were described as a trilogy, but lo and behold, the author continued the series! I felt like the story wrapped up pretty well with the 3rd book, so… Will I ever continue this series? Nope.

4) Discworld by Terry Pratchett: I had big plans to read all the Discworld books, in publication order, one per month. My ambitious goal lasted me for four books, and then I decided I’d had enough and needed a break. I know that publication order is NOT the way most people recommend approaching Discworld, so I haven’t written off the possibility of returning to the series and trying specific story threads. Will I ever continue this series? I want to say yes… but let’s leave this as probably, if I’m being realistic.

5) Murderbot by Martha Wells: I read the first four novellas, then stalled out when it came to book 5, which is a full-length novel. I didn’t stop for any particular reason, other than just not being in the mood at the right moment. Now I’m afraid that it would be hard to restart, without going all the way back to the beginning for a reread first. Will I ever continue this series? Probably yes. I liked what I read, so there’s no reason not to want to read more.

6) Maisie Dobbs by Jaqueline Winspear: I read the first two books in this historical mystery series, and thought they were okay. There are 17 books out so far! Will I ever continue this series? Probably not. I didn’t love the first two enough to want to keep going.

7) Grishaverse books by Leigh Bardugo: I read the first trilogy (Shadow and Bone), then read the first book in the next duology, but honestly, that felt like enough. Will I ever continue this series? I don’t think so (but I will keep watching the Netflix adaptation).

8) Cormoran Strike books by Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling): I read the first three books, didn’t quite get around to the 4th, and around the time I was considering reading it, JKR became a person I no longer wanted to support. Will I ever continue this series? Nope.

Are there any on my list that you think I should reconsider?

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


Top Ten Tuesday: Unlikable Characters You Can’t Help but Love 

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 Unlikable Characters You Can’t Help but Love .

I almost skipped this one because I really couldn’t come up with a full ten… but what the heck, might as well share the ones I did think of!

My FIVE are:

  1. Severus Snape (Harry Potter series): I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot of Snape today. And yes, he’s problematic, but somewhere deep inside he did love Lily (even though he was awful to her son year in and year out…)
  2. Prince Cardan (Folk of the Air series by Holly Black): A total mean jerk when we meet him, but eventually, he’s redeemed by love.
  3. Tybalt, King of Dreaming Cats (October Daye series by Seanan McGuire): I mean, I never actually hated Tybalt, but Toby does at the beginning of the series! Fortunately, their hate/hate relationship morphs into something completely different.
  4. Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice): When we meet Lestat in Interview with the Vampire, we see him through Louis’s eyes, and let’s just say, it’s not a favorable impression. But as of The Vampire Lestat, we get to see him as he sees himself, and he’s just so much fun!!
  5. Damon Salvatore (The Vampire Diaries by L. J. Smith): Well, to be totally honest, I don’t remember much about book Damon (or the books in general), but I loved Damon on the TV series, so I say that counts!

That’s it! Those are the only loveable baddies I could think of!

Can’t wait to see everyone else’s lists… so please share your links!


Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite words discovered while 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 Favorite Words. That felt a little broad to me, so I thought I’d try to come up with a list of words I learned, discovered, or just enjoyed through my reading.

My top 10 are:

  1. Absquatulation: Departing in a hurry; absconding (encountered in the Outlander series)
  2. Castrametation: the making or laying out of a military camp (also from the Outlander series)
  3. Ligneous: made, consisting of, or resembling wood; woody (from Tomorrow, and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin)
  4. Ludic: showing spontaneous and undirected playfulness (also from T&T&T)
  5. Seneshal: the steward or major-domo of a medieval great house (from the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire)
  6. Symbiont: an organism living in symbiosis with another. (from the Parasitology series by Mira Grant and from Fledgling by Octavia Butler)
  7. Taradiddle ~ A fib, or falsity (from the Finishing School series by Gail Carriger)
  8. Widdershins: in a direction contrary to the sun’s course, considered as unlucky; counterclockwise. (from Discworld books by Terry Pratchett)
  9. Oubliette: a secret dungeon with access only through a trapdoor in its ceiling. (from A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness)
  10. Barouche-landau: A barouche-landau was an expensive four-wheeled carriage drawn by two horses, with two collapsible hoods – one for the front-facing passengers and one for the rear-facing passengers.  (from Emma by Jane Austen)



Do you have any favorite words that you’ve picked up from your reading?

If you wrote a TTT post, please share your link!Save

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Read On Vacation

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 Read On Vacation. Picking books to take with me when I travel is one of my most important tasks! I think I spend more time planning my vacation reading than what clothes to pack.

In any case…

I always read when I travel, and usually, I associate the books I’ve read with the places I read them. So, here’s a look at ten favorites:

1) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: What’s a top 10 list without an Outlander mention? I first read Outlander about12 years ago or so, on a family trip to Yosemite. I distinctly remember sitting on a big rock out behind our cabin, looking out at the gorgeous morning, while drinking coffee and opening my paperback to chapter one.

2) The Shining by Stephen King: The cover above is the edition (very old, falling apart paperback) I had with me on a trip to Alaska about 10 years ago. (Sadly, the entire book had come loose from the binding by the time I was done, and it was not salvageable — but I did make it through the entire book before it fell to pieces). And as an added note… I’ve brought Stephen King books with me on so many vacations! There’s something really delicious about reading a terrifying book while sitting in bright sunshine on a beach chair.

3) Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto: So silly, such a perfect choice for a vacation read! I just read it last month while visiting my daughter in Colorado.

4) My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me edited by Kate Bernheimer: I read this collection of retold fairy tales while on a beach vacation — I needed a paperback I could get sandy and damp, since otherwise I’d only brought my Kindle with me.

5) Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery: Such a delight! I read this book while visiting family to attend a funeral, so not exactly a vacation, but it was a great choice for quieter moments when I needed a little joy and lightness to break up the mood.

6) Sourdough by Robin Sloan: Such a weird book, but it was a great travel read! I bought this on a whim at an airport bookshop (and as a rule, I never buy books at the airport). I read it on the plane and finished it within my first day in New York.

7) The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone: This was actually a pre-vacation read, but I associate it so strongly with travel that I’m including it anyway! Back in college during my junior year abroad, I took a trip to Italy with a group of friends during our spring break. We all decided to read this biographical novel about Michelangelo in preparation for our trip, and it added so much to our experiences!

8 & 9) Retellings! These are just two examples from the past couple of years, but there’s nothing like a good retelling of a favorite classic (in these cases, Pride and Prejudice and Romeo and Juliet) for a great diversion on vacation.

10) Book Lovers by Emily Henry: I’ve brought Emily Henry books with me on several vacations, and this is the most recent! I had Book Lovers with me for a road trip this year — like in all her books, there’s a sweetness balanced by emotion and humor that make for great vacation reading.

What are the best books you’ve read on vacation?

If you wrote a TTT post, please share your link!