Top Ten Tuesday: Judging books by their covers

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Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is a cover freebie, so even though we’re not supposed to judge books by their covers, that’s exactly what I’m doing this week! Below are ten nine covers of books I own (or formerly owned), all of which I really like. I wouldn’t call them all beautiful (though many are), but they’re all appealing to me in some way, and in some cases they even contributed to my buying the book!

Midnight Queen, TheDarker Shade of Magic, A*Nightingale

1. Sylvia Izzo Hunter, The Midnight Queen — I don’t often do this, but I’m pretty sure I did buy this book based solely on how gorgeous the cover is!

2. V. E. Schwab, Shades of Magic series — The covers for this series, designed by Will Staehle, are so striking! I love the neutral beige and black with that pop of red.

3. Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale — I really like the colors on this cover, especially the author’s name in aqua and the title and bird/flower design in yellow. (The yellow is brighter in person than in this photo!)

*Essex SerpentGreenglass House*Wildwood Dancing

4. Sarah Perry, The Essex Serpent — I love a super ornate cover, and this one also has a fun raised/embossed texture!

5. Kate Milford, Greenglass House — This cover is absolutely stunning, and it looks exactly the way Greenglass House is described in the book.

6. Juliet Marillier, Wildwood Dancing — I really like the cover artist, Kinuko Y. Craft. Her paintings are so detailed, lush, and fantastical; they really evoke the magic of the story.

*Study in Scarlet Women*September Society*Secret History of the Pink Carnation

7. Sherry Thomas, A Study in Scarlet Women — This is such a great cover for a historical mystery. I love the darkness of the room contrasted with the light behind the door, and the woman’s red dress being the only spot of color apart from the light sources.

8. Charles Finch, Charles Lenox series — Each book in this series features three of the same type of object on the cover, and the center one is always broken or “wrong” in some way (like the bloodred ink dripping from the second pen here). It’s such a clever concept, and I’m sad it’s no longer being used for the prequels.

9. Lauren Willig, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation — I’ve always liked art-based covers for historical novels, and this is a gorgeous example. The first few books in the series followed a similar style, but unfortunately the cover art changed partway through the series. Don’t you hate when that happens?!

Top Ten Tuesday: Early 2020 releases

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Appropriately, the first Top Ten Tuesday topic of 2020 is the books whose publication in the first half of 2020 you’re most excited about. I’m not totally current with all this year’s upcoming releases, but here are six books I’m looking forward to reading (couldn’t think of a full 10!):

1. Lucy Parker, Headliners (1/28) — Lucy Parker is an auto-buy author for me, so of course I can’t wait to devour her latest book, which is about rival TV personalities who are forced to work together and who eventually fall in love. I’ve already preordered this book and can’t wait to get my hands on it!

2. Lottie Lucas, Ten Things My Cat Hates about You (3/5) — This looks like a cute little rom-com about a woman whose cat keeps thwarting her attempts at romance, until she experiences two meet-cutes in a single day and must choose which relationship to pursue. It’s being pitched as perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Lindsey Kelk, and Mhairi McFarlane, so we’ll see!

3. Beth O’Leary, The Switch (3/19) — After loving O’Leary’s debut novel, The Flatshare, I am 100% on board for whatever she writes next!

4. Emily Henry, Beach Read (5/19) — I am so intrigued by the premise of this novel: a man who writes critically acclaimed literary fiction and a woman who writes best-selling romance novels end up vacationing in neighboring beach houses. They’re both suffering from writer’s block, so they challenge each other to step out of their comfort zones: the man will write a romance and the woman will write a “Great American Novel.”

5. Jessie Mihalik, Chaos Reigning (5/19) — I enjoyed the first two books in Mihalik’s Consortium Rebellion series, so I’m looking forward to reading this next installment of the series, which might be the final book.

6. Natalie Jenner, The Jane Austen Society (5/26) — From the Amazon synopsis, this book sounds like a read-alike of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, except with an emphasis on the works of Jane Austen. Which could be very disappointing . . . but if done right, it could be my new favorite book! So, fingers crossed!

What books are you most excited for in 2020? What should I be adding to my TBR list?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite books of 2019

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Somehow it’s New Year’s Eve already, and the year 2019 is coming to an end. So it’s only fitting that this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic asks us to list our 10 favorite books of the year. I’ve had a really good reading year overall, so it was hard for me to narrow down my list! But here, in the order in which I read them, are my 10 favorite books of 2019:

1. McKelle George, Speak Easy, Speak Love — I loved this 1920s-era retelling of Much Ado about Nothing. It was the first book I read in 2019, and it just might be my number-one book of the year!

2. Meagan Spooner, Hunted — I never thought I’d love a Beauty and the Beast retelling as much as Robin McKinley’s Beauty, but this one comes pretty darn close!

3. AJ Pearce, Dear Mrs. Bird — This poignant World War II novel hit the same sweet spot as The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, for me. I believe Pearce has a sequel planned, and I’m dying to read it!

4. Gail Honeyman, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine — I liked this book more than I was expecting to; its portrayal of loneliness is moving and sad, but the ending still manages to be uplifting.

5. Lucy Parker, The Austen Playbook — I adore Parker’s contemporary romances set in London’s theater world. This one involves a grumpy hero and an Austen-themed murder mystery TV show, so what’s not to love?

6. Mary Balogh, The Notorious Rake — I’m not really a fan of the “reformed rake” trope, but the hero of this book totally sold me on it. He’s awful at the beginning, but he truly does grow and change throughout the book — and he’s able to repair many relationships in his life, not just the one between him and the heroine.

7. Beth O’Leary, The Flatshare — It seems that romantic comedies are making a comeback (yay!), and this one is so well written and charming! I look forward to O’Leary’s next book, which is coming out sometime in 2020.

8. Ann Patchett, Bel Canto — This was my first Patchett novel, but it probably won’t be my last. A hostage situation turns into something quite different as guards and prisoners come together through the power of music.

9. Margaret Rogerson, Sorcery of Thorns — Just when I was getting sick of YA fantasy novels, this one came along and reminded me of how creative, intriguing, and fun they can be! I loved the witty banter, the slow-burn romance, and the world of the novel, in which books of magic can literally come alive.

10. Alix E. Harrow, The Ten Thousand Doors of January — Some books are written so well that you sink into them immediately and fall under their spell. This was one of those books, for me — it just felt like magic. If you don’t mind a slower-paced, more character-driven novel, you should definitely give this one a try.

Happy New Year, everyone, and may you read only wonderful books in 2020! 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Winter (reading) is coming

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It’s been a while since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday, but I always like to check in for the seasonal TBR posts! So below, in no particular order, are 10 books I’m looking forward to reading this winter.

1. J. Jefferson Farjeon, Mystery in White — What is it about Christmas that makes it the perfect season for (fictional) murder and mayhem? I’m excited to read this vintage mystery about a group of people who get snowed in on Christmas Eve with a killer.

2. Erica Ridley, The Viscount’s Christmas Temptation — I got this for free on my Nook some time ago, but I never got around to reading it! The setup sounds fun: the hero wants to cancel his Christmas party, while the heroine insists that he go through with it. I love a “managing female” in a historical romance! (It looks like this may also be published as The Viscount’s Tempting Minx, but I prefer my title!)

3. Rachel Winters, Would Like to Meet — This one has an adorable premise for rom-com fans. The heroine, Evie, works for a film agency whose star screenwriter has a bad case of writer’s block. He’s supposed to write a rom-com, so in an effort to inspire him, Evie sets out to meet a man using the meet-cute techniques of various romantic comedies. Obviously, this book is already on hold at my library!

4. Kate Milford, Greenglass House — I still love a good middle-grade novel, and this one seems to have great reviews. Plus, it’s set in winter, and it involves a mysterious old house and smugglers and possibly ghosts. Also, the cover is incredible!

5. Cecilia Grant, A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong — Honestly, just give me all the holiday-themed historical romance novellas. This one has an exuberant heroine and a stuffy, uptight hero (my favorite!) who get stranded in a carriage alone together. Gee, I wonder if they’ll fall in love!

6. Katherine Arden, The Winter of the Witch — Since I loved the first two books in the Winternight trilogy, I’m surprised I haven’t gotten around to the third and final installment yet! But winter is definitely the perfect time to immerse myself in the setting of this book, a fantastical version of medieval Russia.

7. Laura Wood, Under a Dancing Star — I’m a sucker for a Much Ado about Nothing retelling, and Emma at The Terror of Knowing gave this one a wonderful review, so I’m excited to read it! A bit nervous, too, because I loved Speak Easy, Speak Love so much when I read it at the beginning of this year. Will this one measure up?

8. Kate Clayborn, Love Lettering — I’m excited for this romantic comedy to come out on December 31. The heroine has a hand-lettering business, and the hero comes looking for her when he finds a secret she thought she’d hidden in her calligraphy patterns. As someone who can spend hours in a stationery store, I’m very intrigued!

9. Alan Rusbridger, Play It Again: An Amateur against the Impossible — Rusbridger is a former editor of the Guardian, but he’s also an amateur pianist. This book details his quest to learn Chopin’s Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, an extremely difficult piano piece, in the course of one year. As an amateur pianist myself, I’m really interested in his process, and I may even decide to follow in his footsteps! (I actually own the music already, but I’ve never read past the first couple of pages.) Maybe this will be one of my New Year’s Resolutions!

10. Lucy Parker, Headliners — Parker is an auto-buy author for me, so naturally I’m chomping at the bit to read her next London Celebrities book, due out on January 28. This one features Sabrina, Freddy’s sister from The Austen Playbook, and her professional rival. When they’re forced to work together, they’re also forced to confront their true feelings. Enemies-to-lovers is one of my favorite tropes, and again, it’s Lucy Parker . . . of course I preordered it months ago!

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I’ve listed a lot of romance and a lot of books set during winter/Christmas. What about you — have you noticed any trends in your winter reading? What books are on your list?

Top Ten Tuesday: Numbers in the title

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is an interesting one: ten of your favorite books with a number in the title. It’s always fun to find new ways to categorize books! Here are the ten books that immediately sprang to mind for me, in no particular order:

1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers — The Lord of the Rings is one of my all-time favorite books, and The Two Towers just might be my favorite volume. I find the culture of Rohan fascinating and really love all the scenes involving the Rohirrim. And even the Frodo/Sam plot, though much less eventful, is fascinating on a character level.

2. Ellis Peters, One Corpse Too Many — I adore the Cadfael series, which is about a 12th-century crime-solving monk. The setting is so well rendered, and justice is always served in the end. This book is second in the series and also my favorite, focusing on a missing treasure and the mysterious newcomer Hugh Beringar.

3. B.J. Novak, One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories — I’m not a big fan of short stories generally, but I like Novak’s voice and his TV writer’s sensibility. Most of the stories are more like comedy sketches, focusing sharply on a single (often humorous) idea. Favorite stories include “The Ghost of Mark Twain,” “The Something by John Grisham,” and “J. C. Audetat, Translator of Don Quixote.”

4. Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat — This slim book perfectly encapsulates a specific type of British silliness, which I think you either like or you don’t. Fortunately, I fall into the former category, because I found it delightful! Not to mention, it inspired one of my favorite novels, Connie Willis’s To Say Nothing of the Dog.

5. Leo Bruce, Case for Three Detectives — As a fan of Golden Age mysteries, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, which parodies three of the most beloved detectives of that era: Lord Peter Wimsey, Hercule Poirot, and Father Brown. I love all three of them, and Bruce perfectly (and hilariously) captures their specific voices.

6. Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows — This YA fantasy novel combines two of my favorite things, found families and heists. Kaz Brekker and his crack team of ne’er-do-wells are hired for a complicated job with a huge payoff, but they stand to lose a lot more than money if things go wrong. And of course, it’s not really a matter of if, but when. . . .

7. Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale — It’s been a long time since I actually read this book, but I remember loving its gothic atmosphere and its belief in the value of stories:

What succor, what consolation is there in truth, compared to a story? What good is truth, at midnight, in the dark, when the wind is roaring like a bear in the chimney? When the lightning strikes shadows on the bedroom wall and the rain taps at the window with its long fingernails? No. When fear and cold make a statue of you in your bed, don’t expect hard-boned and fleshless truth to come running to your aid. What you need are the plump comforts of a story. The soothing, rocking safety of a lie.

8. C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves — This just might be my favorite Lewis book, in which he examines the concept of love and describes four different types of love that humans experience: affection, friendship, romantic love, and the love of God. The first time I read this book, it made me think about human relationships in entirely new ways, and even on rereading it gives me a lot to think about.

9. Agatha Christie, The Seven Dials Mystery — I could have picked any number of Christie mysteries, since I’m a huge fan of hers. But I wanted to highlight this mystery because it’s a bit different from her usual work, involving political machinations and a secret society. It’s all a little bit silly, but I find the silliness endearing. Plus, there’s a very sweet romantic angle to the story!

10. Mary Stewart, Nine Coaches Waiting — This was my first Mary Stewart novel, and it remains one of my favorites. It has definite Jane Eyre vibes, with a touch more danger to the heroine (and, if I’m recalling correctly, a less problematic hero!). Her novels of romantic suspense make perfect fall reads, if anyone’s looking for something subtly atmospheric rather than terrifying.

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall into books!

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Y’all, I am so excited that it’s officially autumn! Fall is unquestionably my favorite season: I can finally turn off my air conditioning, put on a jacket, and breathe in that cool, crisp autumn air! Plus, cooler temps make it the perfect time to snuggle up on my couch with a blanket and a good book. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is 10 books on your fall TBR list, and I’m really excited about the books on my list! Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Jenn Bennett, The Lady Rogue — I saw a review for this book at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and it looks like a ton of fun! It’s described as a romp through 1930s Romania as the heroine searches for a cursed ring that belonged to Vlad the Impaler. So basically, it sounds like Indiana Jones meets Dracula, and I am here for it!

2. Alix E. Harrow, The Ten Thousand Doors of January — I think the beautiful cover is what drew me to this book, which appears to be a portal fantasy with gothic vibes. In other words, a perfect fall read!

3. Sarah M. Eden, The Lady and the Highwayman — This one is a romance between two rival authors of “penny dreadfuls” in Victorian London. The heroine writes under a pseudonym, and the hero, not knowing her true identity, asks for her help in discovering the identity of his rival. I adore the premise and can’t wait to see how it plays out.

4. Rainbow Rowell, Pumpkinheads —  As a huge Rainbow Rowell fan, I’ve been dying to read this graphic novel ever since I found out about it more than a year ago! I don’t read many graphic novels, but I’m desperately hoping for one of Rowell’s signature swoonworthy romances. And the pumpkin patch setting is perfect for fall!

5. Jessie Mihalik, Aurora Blazing — I enjoyed the first book in this sci-fi romance series, Polaris Rising, so I’m excited to read this sequel, which comes out in the US on October 1. It’s a bodyguard romance, which I find to be a fun trope.

6. Erin Morgenstern, The Starless Sea — The long-awaited follow-up to Morgenstern’s hit debut novel, The Night Circus. I had mixed feelings about The Night Circus, but I’m definitely interested to read more of Morgenstern’s work. (Also, where is my The Night Circus movie directed by Baz Luhrmann? Get on it, Hollywood!)

7. Maggie Stiefvater, Call Down the Hawk — Much as I loved the Raven Cycle, and especially the character of Ronan Lynch, I’m undecided as to whether I need another whole trilogy about him. Nevertheless, I’ve already placed a hold at my library for this book and hope that it exceeds my expectations.

8. Amanda Grange, Henry Tilney’s Diary — Of all the Austen heroes, Henry Tilney might just be the one I’d most like to date in real life. (Sure, Darcy is great, but Tilney is indisputably more fun!) I’ve had this book on my shelves for ages, and I think it’s finally time to pick it up.

9. Francis Duncan, Murder Has a Motive — For some reason, autumn always makes me crave vintage British mysteries. I previously enjoyed Duncan’s Murder for Christmas, so it’s time to check out more of his books!

10. Tessa Dare, Do You Want to Start a Scandal — Sometimes I just need some romantic Regency silliness, and the plot description of this book sounds an awful lot like Clue (except, you know, less murder-y). I’ve only read one other book by Tessa Dare, but I remember enjoying it, so I have high hopes!

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer reading list

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Now that summer is officially here, it’s time to focus on one of my favorite aspects of the season: summer reading! Let’s face it, I’m not outdoorsy at the best of times, but it’s especially true in summer’s heat and humidity. So any activity that allows me to stay indoors, sipping a cold beverage and enjoying the air conditioning, is a good thing in my book (see what I did there?). Here, in no particular order, are 10 books I’m excited to read in the next couple of months. What’s on your summer TBR?

1. J. Kathleen Cheney, The Golden City — This may be cheating a bit because I’m actually reading it now! It’s the first book in a historical fantasy series set in 1902 Portugal, and so far it’s very interesting, although a bit slow to start.

2. Ellis Peters, The Heretic’s Apprentice — It’s been a while since I’ve visited the world of Brother Cadfael!

3. Margaret Rogerson, Sorcery of Thorns — Despite the fact that I haven’t enjoyed much YA fantasy recently, the premise of this one really appeals to me. Apparently it combines magic with a slow-burn romance, and there’s a library!

4. Abby Jimenez, The Friend Zone — I think I read about this romance on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and it sounds like fun!

5. Linda Holmes, Evvie Drake Starts Over — I mentioned this one last week, and I’m super excited to read it when my library hold comes in.

6. Abbi Waxman, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill — Another new release I’m very excited for. The cover alone! *heart eyes*

7. Kristan Higgins, Life and Other Inconveniences — I’m always up for the latest Kristan Higgins release, even though I wish she’d go back to writing straight-up romance rather than “women’s fiction.”

8. Mary Stewart, The Stormy Petrel — Stewart’s books tend to follow the same formula: innocent young woman travels to foreign destination, meets one or more mysterious men, and becomes involved in a dangerous situation. But it’s a formula I really enjoy, so I don’t mind one bit!

9. John Bude, The Cornish Coast Murder — So I actually own two books by John Bude, but I’ve never read anything he’s written! I blame the lovely new British Library Crime Classic editions of vintage mysteries. Time to see if this is an author I want to keep on my shelves.

10. Patricia C. Wrede, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles — I think I read the first book in this series, Dealing with Dragons, as a kid, but I don’t remember a thing about it. But I’m a huge fan of Wrede’s, and I’ve been wanting to read the whole series for a long time. Now is my chance!

Top Ten Tuesday: New and noteworthy

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We’re almost halfway through 2019, which means it’s time to start looking ahead to the second half of the year. Below are my top ten nine upcoming releases in publication order. They range from graphic novels to romance, new-to-me authors to old favorites, but what they have in common is that I’m excited to read them all!

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1. Linda Holmes, Evvie Drake Starts Over (6/25) — Right out of the gate I’m cheating, because the book comes out on June 25, which is technically in the first half of the year. But it hasn’t come out yet, so I’m still counting it! This romance has been blurbed by the likes of Rainbow Rowell, and it’s been described as “quirky,” “warm,” and “hilarious.” Sounds like my cup of tea, for sure.

2. Abbi Waxman, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill (7/9) — This book is about an introverted heroine who works in a bookstore and is being romantically pursued by her bar trivia nemesis. Yes, this is relevant to my interests!

3. Kristan Higgins, Life and Other Inconveniences (8/6) — I’m a big Kristan Higgins fan, although I’ve been a little wary of her switch from the romance genre to straight-up women’s fiction. The synopsis of this latest novel doesn’t mention a love story at all, which is somewhat disappointing, but I’m still going to give it a try.

4. Rainbow Rowell, Pumpkinheads (8/27) — I’ve had this one on my wishlist for at least a year. I love Rainbow Rowell and am really eager for this graphic novel about two high schoolers who work in a pumpkin patch every fall. Maybe I’ll save it for a crisp autumnal day…or maybe I’ll devour it as soon as it comes out!

5. Alix E. Harrow, The Ten Thousand Doors of January (9/10) — This one just sounds really cool: it involves a neglected girl and a magical book, and it sounds like it might have a creepy gothic feel. In other words, perfect fall reading!

6. Mhairi McFarlane, Don’t You Forget about Me (9/10) — McFarlane is one of my favorite chick-lit authors, and I know I can expect humor, romance, and a charming narrative voice from all her books. This one appears to feature a second-chance romance, which isn’t my favorite trope, but I remain optimistic.

7. Jessie Mihalik, Aurora Blazing (10/1) — The sequel to Polaris Rising, which I read and enjoyed earlier this year. And based on the few glimpses we got of this couple in the first book, I’m excited to read their story! If you like a few spaceships and some intergalactic politicking in your romance novels, this series may be for you.

8. Erin Morgenstern, The Starless Sea (11/5) — So, I’m one of those strange people who didn’t absolutely love The Night Circus, but I’m still very intrigued by Morgenstern’s second novel! The marketing blurb on Amazon calls it “a timeless love story set in a secret underground world — a place of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a starless sea.” Sounds good to me!

9. Maggie Stiefvater, Call Down the Hawk (11/5) — I’m a little nervous about this book, because I really liked the Raven Cycle and thought Stiefvater concluded the story in a fitting and satisfying way. But if she’s going to continue to follow the fortunes of Ronan Lynch and his family, I’m certainly going along for the ride, at least for the time being.

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Are you also looking forward to any of these books? What other upcoming releases should I add to my to-read list?

Top Ten Tuesday: What draws me to a book

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is one of my all-time favorites: the top 10 things that make me want to read a book. Why do we love the books we love? What makes us add some books to our TBR list and not others? What plots, tropes, and topics appeal to us so strongly that, when we encounter them in a book, we feel like that book has been written just for us? These are questions I love to think about, although I’m far from having answers to them! Still, here are 10 things that always excite me about a book and compel me to learn more, in no particular order.

1. Anything related to Jane Austen — This one is obvious, but I’m always going to be drawn to Austen-related books! Whether it’s a retelling, a new biography, or a piece of literary criticism, I’m definitely going to at least learn more about it — that is, if I don’t buy it right away!

2. Epistolary novels — I love a good epistolary novel, and I think it’s because I enjoy character-driven books and don’t really care about setting. Novels in letters (or emails, texts, etc.) naturally don’t spend a lot of time on descriptions of scenery; everything is dialogue and character development.

3. Fake relationships — This is probably my very favorite romance trope, although I’m not sure I can explain why! I think it’s a great way to set up romantic tension in which the conflict is mostly internal. It all comes down to whether the characters will be brave enough to reveal their true feelings.

4. Thieves and con artists — There’s just something about protagonists who cheerfully bend or break the rules for the sake of a greater good. They’re super charming and compelling to me, even if I wouldn’t necessarily agree with them in real life.

5. Magical Regency — As a diehard Austen fan (see #1), the day I learned that there are books that combine an Austen-esque world with magic was one of the greatest days of my life!

6. Historical mysteries — I’ve been an Agatha Christie fan since I was about 12, and I love mystery novels that aren’t too gory but instead focus on the puzzle of whodunit and why. Combine that type of mystery with an interesting historical setting — especially the 19th century or the Golden Age of detective fiction — and my interest is definitely piqued.

7. Spies — Give me all the twists and turns of a plot filled with espionage, double-crosses, and people keeping secrets!

8. World War II — The past few years have seen a real boom in the number of books set during World War II, especially from the Allied perspective in Europe. While part of me wants to shun anything too trendy, a larger part of me just wants to keep ’em coming!

9. Music and musicians — As an amateur musician myself, I’m always intrigued when I learn about characters who play music, either professionally or as a hobby. It’s especially satisfying when an author describes the experience of playing (or hearing) music in a way that rings true to me.

10. Happy endings — This is a bit simplistic, since I have also really loved some books with sad endings. But in general, I read for pleasure, so I prefer endings that are emotionally satisfying: the murderer is caught, the lovers end up together, the quest is fulfilled. I do see the value in reading difficult books that make you think and engage with the hard aspects of reality; but given the choice, I’ll go for the happy ending almost every time.

In creating this list, it was fun for me to refer back to the last time this topic came up . . . turns out, my list hasn’t changed all that much! What are some of your favorite topics or tropes in books? Do you agree or disagree with anything on my list?

Top 10 Tuesday: Spring TBR

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is 10 books on our spring TBR lists. These days, I’m trying not to plan out my reading in advance; I’ve been choosing books by whim, and I’m really liking it! But here are 10 books that I’ve bought recently, have put on hold at the library, or intend to buy and read as soon as possible:

1. Jasmine Guillory, The Proposal — I didn’t fall in love with The Wedding Date like so many others did, but I enjoyed it enough that I’m intrigued for this follow-up novel featuring one of its supporting characters.

2. Soniah Kamal, Unmarriageable — A Pride and Prejudice retelling set in modern-day Pakistan = sold!

3. Elinor Lipman, Good Riddance — I haven’t read any Elinor Lipman before, and I was honestly drawn to this book because of the cute cover. But I do like a good romantic comedy, so I’m excited to try this one.

4. Sophie Kinsella, I Owe You One — I’ve found Kinsella to be hit or miss, but the synopsis of this one sounds intriguingly similar to I’ve Got Your Number, my favorite of her books to date.

5. Jessica Khoury, Last of Her Name — If a novel is marketed as some sort of Anastasia retelling, I’m obviously going to read it!

6. Zen Cho, The True Queen — I loved Sorcerer to the Crown and have been waiting for this sequel for what feels like forever!

7. Tracey Garvis Graves, The Girl He Used to Know — I was lucky enough to win an ARC of this book, which is about a second-chance romance featuring a neurodiverse heroine. The publication date is April 2.

8. Lucy Parker, The Austen Playbook — This one doesn’t come out via e-book until April 22 (or April 30, if you wait for the mass market paperback), but I NEED IT NOW OMG. I adore this series of contemporary romance novels, and this one features a grumpy hero and an Austen-related plot!

9. Jennifer E. Smith, Field Notes on Love — I’m so intrigued by the premise of this one, which is that a guy and girl who are complete strangers take a cross-country train trip together. Pub date is May 5.

10. Beth O’Leary, The Flatshare — Another adorable premise: a man and a woman share an apartment but are never there at the same time (she works during the day, he works nights and weekends). Yet they forge a relationship by leaving each other notes — how cute is that?! Sadly, the release date isn’t until May 28, so I have to wait.

Well, that’s a nice long list of romance and “fun” books! Did anyone else notice a theme (intentional or otherwise) with their picks? What are you reading this spring, and what should I be adding to my list?