Top Ten Tuesday – On a Whim and a Prayer

Today’s topic is pretty wide open – books picked up on a whim. So to me that means books that immediately caught my interest and I actually read. Lots of books catch my attention, only some of those make it to the reading pile – with varying levels of satisfaction.





My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me by Jennifer Teege

A fairly interesting read. Taught me more about history than I expected  and convinced me that I should maybe get around to watching Schindler’s List one of these days.

Continue reading


Top Ten Tuesday – I Read You the Most

It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday! This week is similar to a previous list, but now we’re talking about the authors we’ve read a lot. Like a lot lot. We’ve read more books by them than anyone else. This is where Goodreads comes in really handy. There are authors I have read way more books from than I thought I had. And authors where I would have sworn I had read more.

I’m going to admit I tempered the list a wee bit. It could have been filled with Ann M. Martin and Francine Pascal and every other series I devoured as a kid/teen. But, I’ve decided to only include a few of these authors. And these only made the cut because I’ve read at least one of their books in my current home (is that a really arbitrary marker? Whatever. My list. My rules).

Something I noticed while putting this list together is that I’ve been reading a lot of authors who haven’t published a lot of books. Excellent authors who just don’t have enough books out to make the list. So honorable mention to: Tana French, Gillian Flynn, Courtney Summers, and Stieg Larsson. I’ve read everything they’ve published, and have the jittery, nervous feeling when I think about their new books. Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – Romantic Tropes

This week’s TTT list was difficult (let’s say that’s why I’m late posting it… yeah, let’s say that)! Mostly, I found it challenging because it’s not my genre. I read stories that have elements of romance, but not romance novels. So, when confronted with the things I love/hate about romance novels, I wasn’t sure where to start. Everything I came up with fit into both categories. There are books that do it well and books that do it terribly. So, eventually I decided that the only option was to do exactly that – tell you the things that stand out in romance novels as good and bad. I’m going to pick the top five things that popped into my head.

Instalove – this is a trope in a lot of romance novels, especially YA romances. Two people see each other for the first time and fall instantly in mad, crazy, foolish, unbelievable love. It’s terrible. And it never feels real. But sometimes, an author is able to make it feel right. They create a build up to the relationship even when the feelings are instantaneous. Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – author owned books

Today’s TTT topic is a strange one for me. I don’t know why it strikes me as so odd, but it does. It’s what authors do you own the most books by. I guess this one isn’t strange, but it’s not necessarily reflective of my reading collection. The most prolific authors are not always the most literary. And a lot of the authors I really love are only have a couple books out. If I own a lot of one author’s books, it’s probably because they write a series. And let’s not forget my obsession with the library. I don’t always get around to buying books in the mostly timely fashion. And for a bunch of these authors, even though I own a lot of their books, I may not have read them in years.

Here we go:


J.K. Rowling – Books Owned: 10

I include her Robert Glabraith books in this number. Even if they’re published under a pseudonym, she still wrote them. I think I have everything she’s written. I own the Harry Potter books in two both physical and audiobook version; so, this number would actually be higher if I was counting volumes not just titles.


Kelley Armstrong – Books Owned: 14

And I have two more that I need. I’m missing the last two books in The Women of the Otherworld series. I own the series in paperback, and I’m neurotic about the books in the series matching, and I always had to wait for them to come out a year after the release date. This usually means I’m crazy behind in buying them because I forget to watch for the pb releases. I should really get on it and rectify this problem.


V.C. Andrews – Books Owned: 19

I have this uncontrollable compulsion to own the first five Andrew’s series in their entirety. I don’t know what it is. It’s nostalgia. It’s my draw to stupid drama. I don’t own them all yet, but she’s taking up a large section of my bookcase.


Patricia Cornwell – Books Owned: 12

These books were the start of my love of forensic crime drama. My mom used to read them and I started picking them up when I was looking to expand my reading horizons. I stopped reading these years ago, but I still have my original collection. I tried reading one of the newer ones a couple years ago, but it was missing the spark that used to suck me in.


Jane Austen – Books Owned: 7

I own these because of school. That is the only reason. I would only choose to own Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, but breaking up the set feels a little like sacrilege so I keep them together.


Dean Koontz – 13

Another one of the bunch that I owned a lot of from when I was a kid. I have no idea why I own all of these. I used to read Koontz, but I stopped when I was still in my teens. I hated his endings. They were all foreplay, no follow through. You’d read hundreds of pages to get to a two page, totally unsatisfying ending where everything is explained by fucking aliens or something. I should really donate these to the library, but I just haven’t gotten around to it.


John Saul – 10

Remember my throwback from a couple weeks ago? John Saul falls into the nostalgia bucket.


C.S. Lewis – 7

Technically, I guess this one counts. There are seven separately bound books. However, I kind of consider it one book.


Gail Carriger – Books Owned: 6

The Parasol Protectorate series and the first of the YA spin off. Soulless is a delightful and unique read. The books make me laugh, but I will admit that the extreme style gets a little much after about the third book. I haven’t finished Heartless or Timeless yet, but I’ll get around to it one of these days.


Chloe Neill – 6

The Chicagoland Vampire Series. I initially picked these up because I liked the punny titles. Some Girls Bite. Friday Night Bites. I loved the first book. And the second. But something went wrong. There are more books to the series than I own. I knew I was losing interest around the fifth book but I bought the sixth out of loyalty. How could such a fun series go so far astray? I still wasn’t convinced, so I didn’t buy the seventh. I borrowed it from the library. I didn’t like it enough to buy it and figured I’d see if the eighth book would bring me back into the fold. It did not. I didn’t even finish half of it. So, there are more of these books, but they won’t be joining my collection.

Top Ten Tuesday – Beach Bag Books

Alright, so I know I said I’d be doing the second half of my Buffy list this week, but I really like the TTT prompt from The Broke and The Bookish -books that should/will be in your beach bag this summer. I’ve chosen Should. We’ll get back to Buffy later.

If you’re anything like me – and if you’re reading a blog posting about books you probably are – packing for trips includes figuring out which books are worth their weight. Summer is meant for fluff reading – books that you can get engrossed in, or easily put aside for some water frolicking or far-flung, poorly aimed Frisbee tossing. It’s not meant for books that require a high level of focus or introspection. Popcorn reading loves the summer.

These are books I’ve either read during the summer or have chosen as my camping re-reads:


Bitten – Kelley Armstrong


Paranormal romance in thirteen parts. This is the first book in a series (The Women of the Otherworld) that follows women from different paranormal species in interwoven, but mostly independent, stories. It’s great fun and if you like Bitten, you know you’ve got twelve more books to turn to (plus a seemingly never ending supply of novellas/graphic novels/YA books). And if you’ve heard of the tv show, ignore it – it’s got basically nothing to do with the book and zero to do with the series.


A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas – Chuck Klosterman


A collection of essays on pop culture. I read this on the beach last summer. The essay about a 24 hour music video watching session had me in stitches. And since it’s essays, you can read one and toss aside the book for a little while, worry free (and by toss, I mean close and place inside a protective bag so as not to get ruined by the elements).


Wool Omnibus – Hugh Howey


For those rainy summer days – trust me I know, think six straight days of rain while camping in a tent. This is a dystopian book from a couple years ago. It’s actually a series of novellas, but just pick up the Omnibus, it reads like a long novel. Wool has gotten little play in the shadow of the dystopian big wigs and their slacker followers, but it’s better than a bunch of the others out there. But hey, I’m a sucker for stories that take place in bunkers.


Some Girls Bite – Chloe Neill


The obligatory vampire novel. Yes, I’ve already touched on the paranormal books, but this one is just so light and fluffy. It’s also the first in a series (The Chicagoland Vampires), but unlike the Armstrong series, I stopped reading this one at book six. So, while the series suffers, the first four books are delightfully ridiculous. Ignore the serious trend mentioning – except Nine Inch Nails; they’re always an acceptable mention.


How to Be a Woman – Caitlin Moran


For the funny feminist. To quote Joss Whedon – you either believe women are people or you don’t. If you do, read this book. Moran hits right in the F bone, and provides a healthy reminder that feminism isn’t a dirty word.


Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan


Who doesn’t love a good literary quest? But instead of a serious Davinci Code style mystery, this is an adventure buried in 80s fantasy novels and audiobooks. I reviewed it over here if you’re curious.


The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – Alan Bradley


Oh Flavia! A precocious youngster in 1950 makes it her mission to solve the mystery of the dead man in the cucumber patch. Also the first in a series. Since this is the only one I’ve read, I can’t speak to the series, but it’s a nice change from your standard mystery.


Anna Dressed in Blood – Kendare Blake


The title doesn’t sound super summery does it? Cas is essentially the male, ghost hunting version of a vampire slayer. He travels around hunting ghosts with his mother. Then he meets Anna. I love the descriptions in this book, and the cover. Is it standard YA – yeah, but it’s good for those of us who like our sunshine with a little haunting.


Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal – Christopher Moore


This one’s better if you have an understanding of Christian mythos, and if you can take it with a grain of salt. Moore’s writing is hilarious. I laughed myself to tears at parts of this book. It tells the story of Jesus through the eyes of his friend and focuses mostly on their teen years. Warning: if you can’t take a cheeky view of religion, you’re going to hate this book.


Gods Behaving Badly – Marie Phillips


FLUFF. This is one of those books that’s 100% summer reading. A bunch of Greek gods are trapped in modern day London, living together in a townhouse, working the most random assortment of jobs. They play with people and end up in a mythic style adventure. I remember it being funny, but little else. It might have something to do with the story of Persephone, but I could be making that up.