Top Ten Tuesday: Online resources for booklovers

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 Online Resources for Book Lovers (what websites, podcasts, apps, etc. do you use that make your reading life better?).

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I didn’t think I’d have ten to share — here are a selection of apps and websites that make my bookish life a little easier, cheaper, and better:

1 – Goodreads. Need I explain? I’ve been on Goodreads for about 10 years, and while some elements bug me, I value it for easy access to book and author info, and especially as a way to keep track of my own reading and library.

2 – Serial Reader: I love this app! A great way to access public domain titles in easy-to-digest daily installments. I haven’t read a Serial Reader book in several months, but I’ve loved it every time I’ve used it. How else could I possibly have made it through Moby Dick???

3 – Book Riot: Source of bookish info, e-book deals, and giveaways.

4 – BookBub and Riffle – more e-book discounts!

5 – OverDrive: I love this app, for listening to audiobooks borrowed from the library.

6 – Buy books and support local bookstores! What could be better?

7 – Libib: I just realized that I haven’t updated my Libib in several months. Argh! I set up Libib to track the unread books on my shelves and as a quick and easy way to figure out what books I already own. It’s easy to use and refer to… but now I need to get in there and bring my records up to date.

8 – My local library‘s website and app, for updates on operating hours, special events, and most of all, putting in hold requests and borrowing digital resources.

9 – I almost forgot to mention my Kindle! Not necessarily the actual device — which I love, but which isn’t an app or online resource — but the Kindle app, which lets me read my books on the go, even when I don’t actually have the device with me.

10 – Probably obvious for anyone who listens to audiobooks, but I use my Audible app all the time!

What do you know… that’s 10 after all!

What are your favorite bookish apps or online resources?

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





Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Pet Peeves

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 Pet Peeves.

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Hmm, where to start? My list is a mix of complaints about book formatting, editing, etc, plus a few plot points that I just can’t stand.

My top 10 are:

1 – Overstuffed books: Books with such long descriptive passages or a simple lack of good editing that they’re much bigger than they need to be, often at the expense of the plot.

2 – Loose ends: I hate when the conclusion of a book leaves unanswered questions or dangling plot threads.

3 – Sequels without reminders: Especially when sequels come years later, it’s helpful to get little reminders in the text about what came previously. Are we really supposed to remember every little detail after so much time?

4 – Mismatched series covers: Ugh, I get so frustrated when the cover design or the actual book size changes mid-series! I like my series to match, thank you very much.

5 – Audiobook complaint: I love audiobooks, but I don’t understand why they don’t include the author’s notes that might be at the end of the print version of a book. Not every book has these, but particularly for historical fiction, they’re so important.

6 – Not acting their age: Teens acting like adults or adults acting like teens. I know this is broad, but for example, I just finished (and loved) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, but every time we’re reminded that the group of lead characters are all in their teens, I was completely pulled out of the story. There’s just no way they’d all be such advanced criminal masterminds at their ages!

7 – Age differentials in supernatural fiction: Enough with the centuries-old vampires (etc) falling in love with teenagers! What would they even have to talk about?

8 – Alcohol as a plot point: I’ve read too many romances lately where the plot turns upon decisions made while drunk, often to the point of not remembering. Just… no. Also, on a related note, I don’t need to keep reading about people’s hangovers, thank you very much.

9 – Unrealistic workplaces: Again, in too many romances, women seem to have these idealized careers where they walk around in professional clothes and attend meetings, but the work environment just doesn’t feel real and they don’t seem to do, ya know, actual work. And on the flip side, it makes me bonkers when a novel’s plot has a woman experiencing workplace harassment and then doesn’t show her dealing with it effectively. I think authors should have their characters model empowering behavior!

10 – Anatomy lessons: This isn’t so much a pet peeve as a matter of taste. I prefer my fiction with implied steaminess rather than detail-by-detail graphic sex. I get that readers’ tastes vary, and I’m not anti-sex. I just don’t need every last little detail!

What about you? What are your bookish pet peeves? Do we have any in common?

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





Top Ten Tuesday: Freebie — Series that I haven’t kept up with or finished

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, meaning we all pick whatever topic we feel like writing about.

I’m going to focus on series that I’ve at least started, or read a few books from, but haven’t finished. Some of these I intend to get back to, and some I likely never will. If you’ve read any of these and think I should commit to moving forward, please let me know!

My top 10 are:

The Expanse series by James S. A. Corey

Books I’ve read: #1 – 5
Books remaining: 4
Will I continue? Absolutely. I love these books — but they’re so big and involved that I need time in between volumes.

The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski

Books I’ve read: I’ve gotten through 4
Books remaining: 4 more
Will I continue? Maybe. I’ve lost a little steam, and I’m kind of far ahead of the Netflix series. I’ll probably hold off for a while and then see if I feel like getting back into the books.

Cormoran Strike books by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)

Books I’ve read: #1 – 4
Books remaining: One more so far
Will I continue? I’d say no. I’m so turned off by JKR at this point that I no longer want to buy new books or support her. (Although as a die-hard Harry Potter fan, I can’t say I won’t be spending money on her works at all… inconsistent, I know, but there you have it.)

Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Books I’ve read: #1 – 3
Books remaining: 3
Will I continue? Probably not. I really enjoyed the first three books, but there was a satisfying ending to the original trilogy, and I haven’t felt the need to continue. But feel free to try to convince me otherwise!

Discworld by Terry Pratchett

Books I’ve read: #1 – 4
Books remaining: Thousands. (Actually, depending how you count, I think it’s 37, but it’s hard to say how many books are in the main series vs related spin-offs. I think.)
Will I continue? Maybe… ??? I started with the grand idea of reading one book per month, in release order, but only stuck with it for 4 months. People warned me not to go chronologically, but did I listen? I may dip back into the Discworld books, but not any time soon.

All Souls series by Deborah Harkness

Books I’ve read: #1 – 3
Books remaining: One (so far)
Will I continue? Yes. I loved the original trilogy, and I have a copy of the 4th book, Time’s Convert. The only reason I haven’t read it yet is that I think I’d need a major refresher on the original books before I read it. Maybe once the TV series airs its 3rd season, I’ll feel more prepared.

Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan

Books I’ve read: #1 – 4
Books remaining: 2
Will I continue? It’s possible — but I’d have to start over again at the beginning if I were going to have any hope of following the story. I did like the volumes I read, so maybe eventually.

The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

Books I’ve read: #1 – 4
Books remaining: 1 novel and 1 novella, so far, more to follow
Will I continue? Yes. I really do want to read more Murderbot! Just haven’t made time yet.

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Books I’ve read: #1 – 2
Books remaining: 14 so far
Will I continue? Unlikely. I enjoyed the first book, wasn’t as gripped by the second, and don’t feel much of a need to continue.

The Poldark Saga by Winston Graham

Books I’ve read: #1 – 7
Books remaining: 5
Will I continue? Possibly. I enjoyed them all so far, but in conjunction with watching the TV series. Now that the show has wrapped up, I have less incentive to keep going with the books, which move beyond the events covered by the show.

Have you read any of these series? And if so, which do you think I should make a priority to continue?

What TTT topic did you choose this week? Please share your links!





Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Fall 2021 TBR List

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 Fall 2021 To-read List. It’s so hard to stick with just 10! There are so many books I’m dying to read… but for purposes of this list, I’m sticking with upcoming new releases this time around.

Looks like my October and November will be especially busy!

Going by release date (except for #1), my top 10 are:

Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon

Release date: November 23rd

The book I’m most excited for! My family will have to excuse my anti-social obsessive reading behavior over Thanksgiving.

Horseman by Christina Henry

Release Date: September 28th

Ambush or Adore by Gail Carriger

Release date: October 1st

The Vanished Days by Susanna Kearsley

Release date: October 5th

A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow

Release date: October 5th

A Twist of Fate by Kelley Armstrong

Release date: October 5th

Well Matched by Jen DeLuca

Release date: October 19th

Grave Reservations by Cherie Priest

Release date: October 26th

Gilded by Marissa Meyer

Release date: November 2nd

Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

Release date: November 30th

What books are on your TTT list this week? Please share your links!





Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Numbers in the Title

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 with Numbers in the Title. I did this topic in 2019 (my post is here), going in numerical order from 1 to 10 — so to avoid repeating myself, this time I’m going to stick with numbers greater than 10!

Keeping it simple, my ten books are:

What books are on your TTT list this week? Please share your links!





Top Ten Tuesday: My fictional BFFs

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 Fictional Crushes — which I just wasn’t all that into as a topic. So instead, I’m going to focus on characters I’d want to hang out with and maybe even become best friends with — ten fictional character who I admire, would want to spend time with, or who might make me laugh non-stop.

  1. Claire Fraser (Outlander series): Claire is just a strong, smart woman who never backs down from a challenge. She’s my hero!
  2. October Daye (October Daye series by Seanan McGuire): This mostly-fae changeling always ends up covered in blood, which might not always be great… but she’s a brave knight of the realm who’s also a fierce friend and protects everyone she loves. Plus, she’s really funny.
  3. Mercy Thompson (series by Patricia Briggs): Apparently, I’m just listing the main characters of my favorite series… but they’re my favorites for a reason! I love Mercy’s devotion to her pack and her mate, her inability to back down when the people she loves are threatened, and her awesome skills as a mechanic. She’s just amazing.
  4. Linus Baker (The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune): I love Linus (and really, all the characters in this book) so much. He’s kind and sweet and determined to make a difference.
  5. Nicky Bell (The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune): Sticking with an author who creates lovable characters… Nicky is funny and brave and soooooo huggable. Of course, he would just see me as an annoying old person, but I’d love to tag along on a day in Nicky’s life just to see him in action. He cracks me up.
  6. Lord John Grey (Outlander series): Lord John is brave and devoted, and he’s also really funny. He’s someone I’d like to just hang out and talk with for a while.
  7. Baz Grimm-Pitch (Simon Snow series): I just love Baz so much, and think he would be so interesting to spend a day with.
  8. Rocky (Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir): Sure, there’s the whole communication issue, but I loved meeting Rocky and think they’d make an awesome best friend.
  9. Eloise Bridgerton (Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn): Book Eloise is pretty cool, but I really love Eloise from the Bridgerton series on Netflix. She’s spiky and spunky and outspoken, and seems like she’d be so much fun to run around with on the edges of upper crust society.
  10. Pounce (Day Zero by C. Robert Cargill): Another non-human BFF, but who could resist? Pounce is a tiger-style nannybot who has to decide between love for the child he raises and loyalty to the robot uprising. Pounce is fierce and loyal and full of love, and I’d love to curl up for a snuggle with him (knowing that if bad guys sneak up, he’ll have my back).

So, that’s my somewhat silly list of fictional characters I’d want as my friends. And if I had more time and more room, I’m sure I could come up with at least another ten!

What characters are on your TTT list this week? Please share your links!





Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time

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 Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time.

My top 10 are:

  1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: Of course! While I’ve read it many times since, there’s nothing quite like the first time reading about Jamie and Claire.
  2. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters: I know that I gasped out loud several times over the twists and turns of this amazing book. I’d love to read it again someday to delve back into the story, but there’s nothing to compare to the shocks of reading it for the first time.
  3. Replay by Ken Grimwood: I read this many years ago, but I was so captivated by this book! Just when I thought I’d seen it all when it comes to time travel, Replay fell into my lap with a whole new approach.
  4. Eagle in the Sky by Wilbur Smith: I read this in my youth and was swept away by the romanticism of the entire plot and the characters. I think a lot of my reaction had to do with where I was in my life at that time… so even though I could read it again, I don’t think it would be the same reading experience.
  5. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison: My first time was just last year, and I’ve re-read it since, and will probably re-read it again — but the first time was such an immersive experience that was truly unique and memorable.
  6. Knight’s Castle by Edward Eager: I read this book as a child, and spent years as an adult trying to figure out what that amazing book with all the knights was called! I finally found it again — but I think nothing can compare to reading this as a child and feeling so full of wonder and possibility.
  7. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling: Along those lines, even though I was an adult when I read Harry Potter, my first time reading the books was alongside my daughter, and experiencing it fresh and new together was amazing.
  8. The Android’s Dream by John Scalzi: This audiobook made me laugh so hard. I wonder if I’d find it as funny if I weren’t constantly being surprised by all the weirdness?
  9. The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal: I’ve read this book more than once, but the first time was a remarkable experience, where I was absolutely on the edge of my seat for so much of the story.
  10. Soulless by Gail Carriger: This introduction to the world of the Parasol Protectorate drew me right in to its world of supernatural beings in Victorian England. Reading it for the first time was so special!

What books do you wish you could read again for the first time? Please share your links!





Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Places to Read

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 Places to Read. I actually did this topic as a freebie a few years ago, but I’ll do it again — while most of my answers are the same, it’s still fun to think about where I love to read. (Simplest answer — everywhere!)

Note: Photos are all mine; the illustration are from free web sources.

My new round of top 10 reading spots are:

  1. My backyard

2. My cozy book room (aka, downstairs TV/hangout space):

3. In a park

4. On an airplane

5. At the beach

6. Any pretty outdoor spot

7. Any place I have to wait

8. At a silent reading party (this photo is taken at a pre-COVID reading party, but I’m hoping eventually the idea of reading in a crowded room with other people won’t feel so strange):

And for audiobooks…

9. On a walk

10. Driving

Where are your favorite places to read? Please share your links!





Top Ten Tuesday: Spotlight, please! Supporting characters who shine

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 Secondary/Minor Characters Who Deserve More Love.

As much as we love our lead characters, what about all the best friends, quirky neighbors, supportive family members, and all the other non-lead characters who make the books we read so rich and entertaining and emotional? Time to show them some love!

My top 10 are:

1 – Violet Bridgerton (Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn): Having just read all eight books in the series, I have to say that the mother of the clan, Violet Bridgerton, is one of the best fictional mothers I’ve come across. Sure, she really botches the pre-wedding talk with her first child to be married, but over the course of the series, she truly shines. (There is a novella about her, Violet in Bloom, includes in the epilogue collection Bridgertons: Happily Ever After, and it’s very sweet.)

2 – Deb Gilbert (The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary): Since I just finished this audiobook over the weekend, it’s fresh in my mind. The book’s focus in on the main characters, Addie and Dylan, and whether they can find their way back to one another, but I loved Addie’s sister Deb so much! She’s a free-spirited, independent woman who knows what she wants and doesn’t want, and doesn’t feel any shyness about making her opinions known.

3 – Genya (Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo): Again, going with a book I just finished! Genya is a Grisha, but at least in book 1, is treated as lesser by most of the other Grisha and seems to be forced into an uncomfortable position with both the King and Queen. I really enjoyed her interactions with Alina, and while it’s not clear yet in the book what her true allegiance is, I hope she turns out to be one of the good guys!

4 – Csethiro Ceredin (The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison): Csethiro is engaged to marry the emperor through an arranged marriage, but we see glimpses of how smart and strong she is every time she appears. I would love to get to know her better and to see her in action as empress. (Basically, I just want another book about Maia and everyone around him!)

5 – Kit Riva (Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid): Of the four Riva siblings at the heart of Malibu Rising, the youngest girl, Kit, probably gets the least amount of focus, and I’d love to find about more about what lies ahead for this character.

6 – The Luidaeg (October Daye series by Seanan McGuire): The Luidaeg is a scary, powerful magical being, a Firstborn of the fae, who also becomes one of October Daye’s closest friends and sources of support. She’s an amazing character, and also gets some really funny lines throughout the series. Any time the Luidaeg appears, I know we’re in for a wild ride.

7 – Iorek Byrnison (His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman): Why not include a non-human character in this week’s list? Iorek is the king of the armored bears — a huge, fierce polar bear who also loves main character Lyra. He’s just awesome, no two ways about it.

8 – Lord John Grey (Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon): Okay, I can’t actually say that Lord John is a neglected character, since he does have entire novels of his own. But within the main Outlander books, any time he shows up is a delight, and I just adore his humor and intelligence and how he brightens a scene. Book #9 comes out in November, and I’m hoping Lord John makes plenty of appearances (and maybe even finds love at long last?).

9 – Sirius Black (Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling): I am and will remain an ardent fan of Sirius Black. Sure, he’s hot-tempered and doesn’t always make mature choices… but his tragic arc brings me to tears every single time, and he’s an amazing friend and godfather.

10 – Naomi Nagata (The Expanse series by James S. A. Corey): Naomi really is a main character in these books, but since it’s an ensemble cast, she’s not always front and center, and when she’s not on the page, I miss her! Naomi is tough and talented and brave as hell, and makes every scene she’s in even more exciting.

Who are your favorite supporting characters? Do we have any in common? Please share your TTT links!





Top Ten Tuesday: Covers That Made Want to Read/Buy the 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 Titles or Covers That Made Want to Read/Buy the Book. I think I’ve done quite a few title-related TTT lists, so let’s focus on covers! Below are 10 covers that caught my eye and made me NEED the book.

  • The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
  • What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine
  • The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
  • The Mina Lima edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
  • Outlawed by Anna North
  • The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
  • The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moren-Garcia
  • Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour
  • Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Cress by Marissa Meyer

What books have you bought because of their covers? Please share your TTT links!