Top Ten Tuesday- Books That Made Me Laugh

23 Feb

Top Ten Tuesday, if you didn’t know, is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today’s theme is “Books That Made Me Laugh Out Loud.” Most of the books I selected are more recent reads, just because they were the easiest to remember if they made me laugh… However, I did pick out a couple that I read a few years ago, because I particularly remembered the humor. In no particular order:

My Lady's Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel
  1. My Lady’s Choosing by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris: This was a “choose your own adventure” Regency romance and it was absolutely hilarious.
Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger (Wayside School #3)

2. Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger by Louis Sachar: This whole series is hilarious, but this one was particularly memorable for me. I actually read it in grade school, but I just loved it so much that I reread it many times.

Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters, #2)

3. Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert: I just read this a few days ago so it is fresh in my mind. It brought all the feels. But since this week is about funny, the elevator scene and the table scene in particular made me LOL.

The Worst Best Man

4. The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa: The cake tasting scene.

Kiss My Cupcake

5. Kiss My Cupcake by Helena Hunting: The bachelorette party scene.

The House in the Cerulean Sea

6. The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune: Okay, so this one was more heartwarming than funny but there were many funny moments as well. (Most scenes of Linus getting flustered. I don’t want to say the specific one that made me laugh the most because it may be spoiler-y)

The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2)

7. The Bride Test by Helen Hoang: This is another one where I don’t know how to describe the specific scene without potentially giving away spoilers! I guess I will call it the “Wow-wee!” scene, lol…

Confessions of a Shopaholic (Shopaholic, #1)

8. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella: This whole book was full of funny and also exasperating moments (I don’t know if I’ve ever encountered another main character that made me shake my head so much but still didn’t hate her), but the job interview scene probably made me laugh more than anything else on this list!

The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made

9. The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell: This is a nonfiction memoir about the making of the cult classic film, The Room (one of my favorite “so bad it’s good” movies). If you have seen that movie and thought it was bizarre, read the book. The truth was stranger than fiction….

Love & Friendship: In Which Jane Austen's Lady Susan Vernon Is Entirely Vindicated

10. Love and Friendship by Whit Stillman: This was a companion book to his movie of the same name (an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Lady Susan). Unfortunately, the book was way too short, but it was so, so funny.

Top Ten Tuesday- Mardi Gras Edition

16 Feb

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is books with purple, yellow, and/or green covers, for Mardi Gras. I have chosen to feature books on my TBR.

Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters, #2)

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Frankly in Love

Frankly in Love by David Yoon

Loathe at First Sight

Loathe at First Sight by Suzanne Park

Ayesha at Last

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen, #2)

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

Ask Again, Yes

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Evvie Drake Starts Over

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

The Dating Plan

The Dating Plan by Sara Desai

How to Fail at Flirting

How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams

Geekerella (Once Upon a Con, #1)

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

The Romance Book Tag

15 Feb

I first saw this tag at Abyssal Librarian. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day and my wanting to get involved with blogging again, I thought this would be a good start. Of course by the time I am posting, Valentine’s Day is over, but what does that matter? I only discovered my love of romance novels within the last couple years. I actually used to actively avoid it. There were always exceptions. For example, I loved many historical novels with romance, fantasies with romance, etc. But just straight up romance novels were generally a no go. Now, I love them!! Here go the questions (links to the Goodreads page for all the books are included if you want to check them out):

  1. The first romance you remember reading: This is actually a tough one to answer, because I guess it depends on what you would consider strictly a romance novel. In grade school, one of my first beloved book series was The Babysitter’s Club. Several of those books featured romances, but I don’t think I would “count” them for this prompt. If you count the classics, I am pretty sure Pride and Prejudice was the first. For fantasy, I believe it was Ella Enchanted. For paranormal, it was a book called Demon in my View, which I read as a teen. It featured a human girl falling in love with a vampire. I didn’t care for it…so needless to say, when Twilight came around, I wasn’t a fan! For historical romances, I was a huge Georgette Heyer fan. I believe her first book that I read was The Corinthian. However, when I tried other historical romances by more modern authors, I didn’t like them. For contemporary romance, the first book I gave a try was a YA book called Perfect Chemistry, which I didn’t like. So I stayed away from that subgenre for a looong time too! However, when I first read a couple of contemporary novels that featured romance in them, I decided to finally dip my toes into the actual contemporary romance novel genre. The first one that I read and loved was The Hating Game, and that started it all.
The Hating Game by Sally  Thorne

2. The last romance you read: This was much easier to answer! It was The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa.

The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

3. The romance you’re most likely to recommend to a newbie: The Hating Game was a great starter for me, so why not that one? Also, the second contemporary romcom was Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating.

Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

4. An underrated romance you wish more people would read: I tend to read more mainstream, popular romances (at least I have thus far) so there aren’t that many I can list here. However, one that I really enjoyed last year was I Temporarily Do. It has only 2,461 ratings on Goodreads. It was a sweet friends to lovers, marriage of convenience story.

I Temporarily Do by Ellie Cahill

5. An overrated romance you wish people would stop talking about: I actually really don’t have any! Most of the popular romances I have read, I have also loved. There may be some out there that I haven’t read yet, but that doesn’t help me for this question. Maybe Twilight? No one was talking about it for a long time, but now with the new book out, I hear about it all the time. It doesn’t really bother me that much, though. To each their own, after all.

Twilight (Twilight, #1)

6. An auto-buy author: Definitely Christina Lauren. And now that I have read both of her books, I would add Helen Hoang to the list as well. There aren’t that many authors that I have read more than one book from, though (since I’m new to the genre).

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

 7. An author you used to love that you’ve since abandoned: Again, since I am so new to this genre, there isn’t any one I can say for this one! Hopefully there will be no one.

8. Your favourite trope: Two of my favorites are hate to love/enemies or rivals to lovers, and friends to lovers. I love it even more when books feature a combination of the two, and the characters go from enemies to friends to lovers. I also enjoy fake relationship, marriage of convenience, and forced proximity. (so that’s probably most, if not all, of the popular romance tropes…)

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

9. Best book with your favourite trope: I couldn’t pick just one, so I am going with Beach Read and Get a Life, Chloe Brown. Both feature a bit of enemies to friends to lovers.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

10. A book you didn’t like even though it had your favourite trope: I’ve been lucky enough to love most of the romances that I have read, but one big disappointment was Waiting for Tom Hanks. The banter was not funny, charming, or romantic. The love interest was teasing the heroine as a form of flirting, but she thought he was serious and thus would often respond with very rude comments. He was clueless and thought she was flirting back. It was veeery awkward.

Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

11. Your most hated trope: Love triangles!!! I generally see this trope in other genres and not straight up romances, though. I also think it’s definitely not as popular now as it used to be 10 or so years ago.

12. A book you like even though it has a trope you hate: The Lady Helen series by Alison Goodman.

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

13. Your problematic favourite: Okay, this depends on what you consider problematic. Maybe Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. Some people see the romance in it as problematic or stalker-y. The premise is definitely questionable, and I was skeptical about it myself while I was reading. But I thought it totally worked, and I actually shipped the couple by the end.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

14. A book everyone else loved that had you scratching your head: Maybe Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series? I read them over 10 years ago on the recommendation of a friend, and I was not a fan. They are hugely popular now due to the Netflix series, which I thought was okay. The problematic scene in the first book kind of sourced my opinion of all of them. I unfortunately unhauled the books long ago, otherwise I was considering attempting a reread with a more open mind. But I’m not going to re-buy them.

The Duke and I (Bridgertons, #1)

15. Your favourite “Romancelandia” person to follow on Twitter: I actually don’t use Twitter, so no one!

16. A place or person you go to for recommendations or reviews: I’ve always used Goodreads, but last year I got into watching Booktube videos again as well.

17. A book that has a character that reminds you of yourself: Back to The Hating Game again! Lucy constantly talked about being “five foot nothing” and the difficulties that came with being short, and I could totally empathize. Since I already featured that picture, how about Well Met Emily in that one is a little bit taller (5’2″, if I recall correctly), but close enough. She also was dealing with some insecurities due to a past relationship. I still deal with some insecurities caused by past relationships (not romantic ones, though).

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

 18. A romance cover you love: I must admit, I am totally trash for the cutesy illustrations that are all the rage on romance covers these days. I never get sick of them, at least not yet. But since I’ve included enough pictures of books with similar covers, however, here is a different one. The Wedding Date features a graphic pattern and colors that I also love. Unfortunately, it looks like the covers were redesigned for the sequels. They’re still cute, but I liked this one the best.

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

 19. A book you’ve reread more than twice: I actually don’t really reread, hardly ever! I just have so many books on my TBR that I don’t have time to reread. Exceptions to this are all of Jane Austen’s books, which I try to reread every few years.

Pride and Prejudice

20. Best romance audiobook: I don’t listen to audiobooks! I’ve considered giving it a try, but usually I found the voice(s) to be too distracting (from samples I have listened to). Maybe someday.

21. Best romance/rom-com movie: I still don’t watch many romance movies, unless they are book adaptations or period dramas. contemporary rom-coms? I haven’t really liked the ones I’ve seen very much. I do love most Jane Austen adaptations, though!

22. Favourite heroine: I love Anne Elliot, Elizabeth Bennet, and Elinor Dashwood (all by Jane Austen, of course).

23. Favourite hero: I loved Gus from Beach Read (grumpy hero). For more classics, I have always liked Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey.

Northanger Abbey

24. Your all-time favourite romance: It’s so hard to pick just one! But I will say Persuasion by Jane Austen.


Top Ten Thursday- Favorite Couples of 2020 to Now

11 Feb

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is a “Love Freebie”. Yes, I am a couple days late to the party. But Thursday still starts with T, so it’s okay…

I have chosen as my freebie to highlight my favorite fictional couples from books I read last year, and thus far this year. Some of these were actual romance novels, but not all of them. They are in no particular order.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
  1. Juliet and Dawsey from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society– I just loved everything about this book. Every single character really came to life. Even though the romance wasn’t the main focus, I think it was focused on just enough.
Beach Read by Emily Henry

2. January and Gus from Beach Read– This book combined two of my favorite romance tropes, and featured enemies to friends to lovers. It also was a second chance romance in a way, and grumpy hero/sunshine heroine. I fell a bit in love with Gus myself, and loved their interactions and conversations.

Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson

3. Lee and Jefferson from Like a River Glorious– Friends to lovers, which was so so well done.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

4. Stella and Michael from The Kiss Quotient– Sort of a reverse Pretty Woman. Stella, who is on the autism spectrum, hires an escort to teach her to be better at sex. Of course they fall in love. I just love how Helen Hoang writes romances they are so adorable and steamy, cute and sweet, and just on the verge of being too cheesy but not.

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

5. Esme and Khai from The Bride Test– The sequel to The Kiss Quotient, in this one the hero has autism and the heroine is essentially a mail order bride his mom has brought over from Vietnam.

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

6. Emily and Simon from Well Met– Hate to love at a Renaissance Faire. Simon got on my nerves a couple times, but I somehow couldn’t help falling for him too…

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

7. Chloe and Red from Get a Life, Chloe Brown– This one also features a bit of enemies to friends to lovers, and I just loved their relationship and how sweet Red was.

The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary

8. Tiffy and Leon from The Flatshare– The setup for this book was a bit unbelievable, and certainly different. I was definitely skeptical as to how it would be pulled off, since the characters don’t actually meet in person for a good portion of the book. But it totally worked!

Radiance by Grace Draven

9. Brishen and Idilko from Radiance– This is a fantasy romance that features a couple in an arranged marriage who are actually from two different species! Idilko is human and Brishen is a Kai. They both found each other ugly at the beginning. This should have been hate to love, but they actually started out as friends and mutually respected each other.

Kiss My Cupcake by Helena Hunting

10. Blaire and Ronan from Kiss My Cupcake– This pair was enemies/rivals to friends to lovers. Very cute and almost literally sweet (I loved the descriptions of the yummy cupcakes, what can I say…)

2020 End of the Year Book Survey

1 Jan

Okay, so I had a goal in 2020 that I was going to kick this blog back into high gear and go all out, update regularly, etc. And I think I posted maybe 2 or 3 times…Writing just doesn’t come naturally to me, I think. Still, it’s progress! I also wanted to start making Youtube videos again, but after trying and failing many times, I wasn’t able to access my channel. I managed to log into the right account, but there was an error message and it has no record of the channel. Very bizarre. It would have been nice to start out with at least the 100 something subscribers I still had from when I used to make videos, but if I manage to take the plunge in 2021 I have accepted that it would be starting from scratch. We’ll see!!!

So, 2020 was, if nothing else, a great reading year for me. I read more in terms of both quantity and quality compared to the last few years for sure. There were still a few duds, but most of the books I didn’t care for were more on the “meh” or just underwhelming side, as opposed to terrible. And there were a lot of books that I really, really loved. I read a lot of new authors, as well as kept up with old favorites. I read a variety of genres, which I plan to continue to do in 2021. I used to be a lot pickier about the genres I read, but starting the last two years or so I started venturing out of my comfort zone more and more, and it’s been for the most part, a very positive experience. Three years ago, 90% of the books I read tended to be mysteries and YA fantasies. The few times I read outside of those genres was for historical fiction or classics only. I didn’t tend to read much in the way of contemporary at all. I also stayed away from romance, unless it was a classic like Georgette Heyer. I am now a total romance convert! In 2021, I want to read more literary fiction (I read only 2 this year), more nonfiction, specifically memoirs (this year I only read 1 self-help book and 1 cookbook). And I am also planning to tentatively dip my toes into horror. Thus far, that’s been the only genre I have avoided altogether. I don’t mind necessarily getting scared while reading (I love mysteries and thrillers) but I am not a fan of being grossed out. We’ll see how it goes!

This end of year reading survey was started by The Perpetual Page Turner. I’ve actually filled it out just for myself a few times, but this is the first time I’m actually publishing it.


Number Of Books You Read: 95 Total (2 nonfiction, 93 fiction)
Number of Re-Reads: 3
Genre You Read The Most From: N/A. Beginning in 2019, I started evenly alternating in between 3 broad genres to make sure I read a good variety (the loose categories are mystery, fantasy/sci-fi, and “other”)


1. Best Book You Read In 2020?

This was next to impossible for me to decide on, since I probably have closer to a top 30! But since I realized there were 20 books I rated 5 stars, I will narrow it down to a top 20! There is a good mix of fantasy, sci-fi, mysteries/thrillers, contemporary, historical, and romances; as well as both YA and adult. I do have a #1, but the rest are not ranked. Most of these also fit other prompts below, so I included the stats about their genres, whether they are part of a series, and if the authors are new to me or repeats.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
  1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows– Historical fiction, standalone, new to me author
  2. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell– Romance, standalone, repeat author
  3. Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson– YA historical fantasy, sequel, repeat author
  4. A Question of Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro– YA mystery, ending, repeat author
  5. Force of Nature by Jane Harper– Mystery/thriller, sequel, repeat author
  6. Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennet– YA contemporary/romance, standalone, repeat author
  7. The Sentence Is Death by Anthony Horowitz– Mystery/thriller, sequel, repeat author
  8. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman– Contemporary/women’s fiction, standalone, new to me author
  9. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren– Contemporary romance, standalone, repeat author
  10. The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny– Mystery/thriller, sequel, repeat author
  11. The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia– Fantasy (historical-ish but in a made up world), standalone, new to me author
  12. Girl at War by Sara Novic– Historical fiction, standalone, new to me author
  13. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab– Historical/portal fantasy, sequel, repeat author
  14. Unknown Male by Nicolas Obregon– Mystery/thriller, sequel, repeat author
  15. Beach Read by Emily Henry– Contemporary romance, standalone, new to me author
  16. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang– Contemporary romance, series starter, new to me author
  17. What You Wish For by Katherine Center– Contemporary women’s fiction/romance, standalone, new to me author
  18. Skyward by Brandon Sanderson– YA Science fiction, series starter, repeat author
  19. Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert– Contemporary romance, series starter, new to me author
  20. No Exit by Taylor Adams– Mystery/thriller, standalone, new to me author

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

This time I’m going to narrow it down to 11. These aren’t necessarily my worst books of the year. Some of them I still enjoyed or thought were decent, but they weren’t as amazing as I hoped/expected. There were some that I thought were worse than all of these, but because I didn’t expect much from them in the first place, they don’t count for this prompt.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown
  1. Red Rising by Pierce Brown- The book started out good, but halfway through or so once we jumped into The Hunter Games/Battle Royale-esque trials, it lost me.
  2. Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet– Overall underwhelming for a finale, and repetitive.
  3. The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley– Another disappointing conclusion when I loved the first two books in this series. There was a lot of good scenes in here, but there was also a lot that I didn’t care for. Specifically one of the POV characters’ storylines seemed like way too much unnecessary detail, that I thought may have been better suited to a separate companion novella or short story.
  4. Princess in Pink by Meg Cabot– This was a favorite series in high school and I meant to pick up where I left off for such a long time. But, oh boy, it did not stand the test of time for me.
  5. The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley– The premise was everything I look for in a mystery, but it didn’t blow me away. It wasn’t bad, but not amazing.
  6. A Woman’s War by S. Block– I absolutely loved the first book in this series, but this one was way too repetitive. Several chapters to me felt like duplicates of earlier ones!
  7. Passion on Park Avenue by Lauren Layne– A very meh romance.
  8. Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey– The couple’s interactions were cringe-worthy and awkward. The hero used teasing to flirt but the heroine thought he was serious, and was beyond rude to him in response. He must not have been too bright, as he thought she was flirting back….
  9. Swing, Brother, Swing by Ngaio Marsh– This series has been very hit or miss for me, so I tried to keep my expectations low, but it started out so promising! I really enjoyed the family that we met and was totally into their dynamics and interactions. Unfortunately once Roderick Alleyn arrived on the scene to solve the mystery, it bored me to tears.
  10. City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty– Very cool idea and I loved the world. The beginning and ending were great, but the middle just dragged for me.
  11. Rook by Sharon Cameron– Sci-fi retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel? I was all-in. But it didn’t do it for me.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

A Question of Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro

I’m going to reserve this space for good surprises, since #2 was pretty much the bad ones. Some of these are repeats from #1, which have links already included above.

  1. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell– The set-up for this romance was definitely different, and can be seen by some as problematic/stalkery. I, quite frankly, wasn’t sure, even while reading, how the author was going to be able to pull it off. But it all totally worked for me!
  2. A Question of Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro– I thought the first two books in this series were decent but didn’t love them, and had ambivalent thoughts towards Charlotte. Thankfully, I continued, because the third one was told in dual POVs and I highly enjoyed it. And this last one? It was narrated entirely by Charlotte and I absolutely loved it!
  3. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin– I put off reading this book for a loong time (it came out in I believe 2011) because YA thrillers and paranormal romances tended to miss the mark for me, and this was both of those. But I thought it was really good!
  4. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman– Suffice it to say, I found the blurb for this book and especially Reese Witherspoon’s “funny” endorsement completely misleading. I thought it was going to be a light-hearted chick lit about a neuro atypical woman learning to socialize. It was actually much deeper than that, and while there was certainly quite a bit of dark humor, it was more about the character coming to terms with and dealing with past trauma.
  5. Skyward by Brandon Sanderson– I read Mistborn the year before and while I thought it was pretty good, it didn’t blow me away. So I kept my expectations low for this one. The narrative voice in this book read on the younger side of YA, which is not usually my favorite these days. The heroine was also quite the hothead in the beginning (borderline annoying). At first I thought, ‘This is pretty good.” And then it changed to, “OMG this is amazing!” I loved the characters so, so much- this book featured some of the best character growth and relationships that I have ever read.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

I definitely pimped the hell out of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I’m not sure if anyone read it based on my recommendation, but quite a few people said they planned to.

 5. Best series you started in 2020? Best Sequel? Best Series Ender of 2020?

I already listed all of these above, so now I will just try to include some others that didn’t quite make the cut up there as well.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo


  1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo– I can see how much Bardugo has grown as an author after the original Grisha trilogy.
  2. Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen
  3. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King
  4. Well Met by Jen De Luca
  5. Radiance by Grace Draven
  6. Beartown by Fredrik Backman
  7. The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
Warleggan by Winston Graham


  1. Warleggan by Winston Graham– Thus far my favorite of the Poldark saga! I didn’t enjoy the last two books quite as much as the first one, but I gobbled up this one! It was very close to rating it 5 stars, if it hadn’t been for some problematic and disturbing content which I won’t spoil.
The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May


  1. The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May– By far the best book in this series.
  2. The Promise by Chaim Potok– It still counts as an ending when there are only 2 books, right?

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2020?

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

Once again, I’m only going to list ones who were not already mentioned.

  1. Barbara Pym (Excellent Women)
  2. Mindy McGinnis (A Madness So Discreet)
  3. Stephanie Oakes (The Arsonist)
  4. Beth O’Leary (The Flatshare)

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Beartown by Frederik Backman– Even though I started reading more varieties of genres in 2019, literary fiction is one that I still have very little experience in. I’m definitely planning to read more of it in 2021.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

No Exit by Taylor  Adams

No Exit by Taylor Adams- I flew through this book in a matter of hours. A very fast-paced survival thriller.

 9. Book You Read In 2020 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Sadly, probably none of these. My TBR is so extensive that I don’t have much time to reread books unless it has been a loooong time.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2020?

I already listed my top 10 covers for at least the first part of a year in an earlier post, so I will just include a new one now.

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

11. Most memorable character of 2020?

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

M-Bot from Skyward– But I loved everybody in this book!

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2020?

This may be a cop-out, but I actually don’t really look for beautiful writing in my books. Many books that I thought had great, lyrical prose turned out to be some of my least favorite books (not for 2020 specifically, but just in general).

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2020?

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  1. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
  2. Beartown

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2020 to finally read? 

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2020?

This would be a spoiler, so I can’t actually give the quote, but it’s from the climax of Skyward. That is all.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2020?

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

SHORTEST- All Systems Red by Martha Wells- 144 pages

The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley

LONGEST- The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley- 897 pages

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley

Unfortunately, I’m going to have to go with The Last Mortal Bond. Not even because of a twist or anything like that, but for some gruesome and completely unsexy sex scenes.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson
  1. Lee and Jefferson from Like a River Glorious
  2. Juliet and Dawsey from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
  3. January and Gus from Beach Read
  4. Stella and Michael from The Kiss Quotient
  5. Emily and Simon from Well Met
  6. Chloe and Red from Get a Life, Chloe Brown
  7. Tiffy and Leon from The Flatshare

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Well Met by Jen DeLuca
  1. The friends/family in Well Met
  2. All of the friendships from Skyward.
  3. The whole community in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2020 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Gaaah, so I’ve pretty much listed all of these already, so see above.

21. Best Book You Read In 2020 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:

I really didn’t like the only book that fit this prompt, so sadly, I can’t say anything.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2020?

Beach Read by Emily Henry
  1. Gus from Beach Read
  2. Dawsey from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
  3. Duncan from What You Wish For
  4. Simon from Well Met
  5. Red from Get a Life, Chloe Brown

23. Best 2020 debut you read?

It’s sad, but I acquire books much faster than I can read them, and so I tend to give priority to those that have been sitting on my shelves for a longer time. So I read only a handful of 2020 debuts. Since most of them have already been listed above, I’m going to go with The Holdout by Graham Moore.

The Holdout by Graham Moore

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
  1. A Gathering of Shadows– Love the different Londons
  2. The City of Brass– Daevabad, but even more so, the bit of 18th century Egypt we got to see.
  3. Well Met- The Renaissance Faire

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary
  1. The Flatshare
  2. Get a Life, Chloe Brown
  3. The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
  4. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2020?

The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom
  1. The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Unknown Male by Nicolás Obregón
  1. Unknown Male- This book has only 75 total ratings on Goodreads! This series is criminally under-hyped.
  2. I Temporarily Do by Ellie Cahill- A cute and sweet, friends to lovers, new adult romance- This one has 2,390 ratings on Goodreads, but I don’t hear it talked about very much.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

I wasn’t really sure how to interpret this question, but I couldn’t think of any. Some made me teary-eyed, but they were all mostly in a good way.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2020?

The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes
  1. The Arsonist- Epistolary format which features dual storylines, in the present day and past.
  2. The Flatshare- The couple live in the same apartment, but work alternate shifts and only communicate via notes, not actually meeting in person for a good portion of the book.
  3. The Sentence Is Death- The Author writes a fictional version of himself into the story as the narrator.
  4. Attachments- The couple don’t meet for a loong time, similar to the Flatshare, except that they aren’t communicating for that time either. Rather, the hero reads the woman’s emails with another coworker.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

I loved the book, but Simon in Well Met made me really mad a few times!

There are more questions in the original survey that have to do with your year in blogging, which I am not going to do. Since my year in blogging has been so minimal, there’s not really much to say. I’m hoping 2021 will change all of that!

Top Ten Tuesday- Favorite Covers of 2020 (so far)

15 Sep

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is a Cover Freebie, so I am highlighting my favorite covers out of the books I have read so far this year. In no particular order…

A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley

1. A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym

2. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym

Girl at War by Sara Nović

3. Girl at War by Sara Novic

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

4. The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno- Garcia

Empire of Shadows by Miriam Forster

5. Empire of Shadows by Miriam Forster

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

6. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Passion on Park Avenue by Lauren Layne

7. Passion on Park Avenue by Lauren Layne

Archenemies by Marissa Meyer

8. Archenemies by Marissa Meyer

A Question of Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro

9. A Question of Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

10. Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Emma Adaptations- Changing Opinions

10 Sep

As I am still trying to gather all of my thoughts together in order to properly review the new Emma, I thought I should share my impressions of the other Emma adaptations. You may ask why I thought this necessary, as I had already written full reviews of all of them. Well, you see, the new Emma movie got me into a Jane Austen-y mood and I decided to reread the books/rewatch the movies. After all, it’s been something like 10 years since my last marathon. I haven’t been reading the books in chronological order this time, and so far I have gotten through Emma, S&S, and P&P (but only the book of the latter thus far).

My opinion on Sense and Sensibility have remained pretty much unchanged (except that I found the book a bit more on the depressing side this time, similar to my original feeling about it). I have also found that each time I reread Jane Austen, my ranking of Emma and Pride and Prejudice seems to flip. This time, I ranked P&P above Emma, last time it was reversed, and before that it was reversed, etc. But what really struck me this time was how differently I reacted to the various adaptations of Emma on this most recent viewing! I looked back at my older reviews and thought it was only fair that I shared these thoughts. I gained a new appreciation for a couple of the versions that I previously didn’t care for. And another version had just the opposite effect. There was only one that I did not change my opinion on. So, which was which? Here we go…

Emma Poster

To start with, I thoroughly enjoyed the 1972 miniseries this time. Last time, I rated it only a 5/10. I was especially surprised with how much I ended up loving Doran Godwin in the role of Emma, when she was previously my biggest “negative” about the series. I thought she really captured the book character. I already loved Mrs. Elton in this version, but this time she stood out even more. I would rank her now as my favorite Mrs. Elton. All in all, I would change my rating to an 8/10.

Emma Poster

Sadly, the next adaptation did not end on such a positive note. In fact, I could barely make it through (I left the room several times while watching). Which version was this? The Gwyneth Paltrow theatrical film. It was so disappointing! This was the first adaptation of Emma that I ever saw and I used to love it! Yes, it was the “chocolate box” version and it has its flaws, which I acknowledged, but I always had a good time watching it in the past. I was definitely not expecting to have the negative reaction that I had. I made my husband watch it with me and I genuinely thought he would enjoy it too (he typically is not a fan of “old-timey” movies). Unfortunately, I ended up siding with him on this one. The film did not stand the test of time for me- I thought it was way too cheesy. My earlier rating was an 8/10. Now I would only give it a 6/10.

Emma Poster

And on the flip side again, I developed a newfound appreciation for the ITV Emma starring Kate Beckinsale. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. I liked Jane Fairfax a lot but overall, I didn’t like a lot of the other casting (especially Mark Strong as Mr. Knightley) and I thought it was too short. This time, I found myself really enjoying it. I also really came to like Kate Beckinsale in the role of Emma. I’m still not fond of Mark Strong’s Knightley, but I didn’t even hate him nearly as much as I used to! Sadly, this version’s biggest failing in my eyes is still the too-short run time, which prevents it from achieving true greatness. Old rating- 6/10. New rating? 8/10.

Emma Poster

And, last but not least, we come to my favorite version- the 2009 BBC miniseries. After my shocking heel face turn reactions to all of the older adaptations, I was actually nervous when I pressed play on this one. Would I end up hating it this time?  My husband was definitely getting tired of Emma, and I expected that he wouldn’t be able to make  it through the whole series, considering he barely made it through the two shorter, 1996 versions. Well, most surprisingly of all, I did NOT have a drastically changed reaction to this one at all! On the contrary, I found myself savoring every minute of it, and my husband actually really liked it too! I still find Romola Garai’s mannerisms to be a bit jarring, but I actually liked her performance even more than before. I noticed that she actually did portray some of Emma’s snobbery from the book that I hadn’t recalled them including (for example, chastising Mr. Knightley for not taking his carriage like a true gentleman).  Old rating- 9/10. New rating? 9.5, just for good measure.

I don’t know what has come over me. It barely feels like the same person wrote the old reviews of the 1972 and 1996 adaptations. I guess it shows how much tastes really can change over time. I’m curious to know if anyone else has experienced such a jarringly different reaction (whether positive or negative) to something they either loved or disliked in the past?

Top Ten Tuesday- Books for My Younger Self

8 Sep

I am back with another Top Ten Tuesday, after skipping last week’s because I couldn’t think of enough to say. If you are unfamiliar with TTT, it is a weekly book meme hosted at . This week’s topic is Books for My Younger Self.

I specifically included books/series that I have read within the last 10 years, as an adult (specifically, age 23-33), that I think I would have enjoyed a lot more if I had read them as a teen. Some of these were books that I actually did like to some degree, but not as much as I believe I would have if I had been younger. This was due to various reasons, such as my changing taste in books, maturation, fatigue from certain themes/tropes, etc.

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan Empire of Shadows by Miriam Forster The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin Murder Most Unladylike by Robin  Stevens The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes Renegades by Marissa Meyer Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes The Awakening by Kelley ArmstrongPrincess in Pink by Meg Cabot
  1. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
  2. Any children’s series by Rick Riordan- I really did like some of his books, but my enjoyment and interest started to wane as the Kane Chronicles and Heroes of Olympus series wrapped up.
  3. The Bhinian Empire series by Miriam Forster
  4. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
  5. Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens
  6. The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  7. Renegades by Marissa Meyer
  8. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
  9. The Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong
  10. The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot- This one is a bit of an anamoly- I actually did begin this series as a young teen and I was obsessed with it at the time. However, I abruptly stopped reading the series after the 4th book, when I lent some of them to my friend, who ended up moving out of state and never returned the books. I ended up buying/rebuying most of the series at a used book fair years later and decided to continue it. They have definitely not had anywhere near the magic for me now, compared to 18 years ago!

Emma 2020- First (Second) Impressions- Parallels with Prior Adaptations?

20 Aug

Emma 2020

This is by no means a full review of this film, but I plan to get to that soon. This new Emma movie has inspired me to do a Jane Austen re-read and re-watch marathon (it’s been so many years since the last time!). I’m currently re-reading Emma, and once I finish, will rewatch the other adaptations and then this one again (with the commentary).

I finally saw this version for the second time a couple weeks ago (the first time did not really count as there were too many distractions). Overall, I did enjoy it, but it is sadly not my favorite Emma adaptation. The film was visually gorgeous, but I didn’t care for the music. Hands down the funniest scene, though, was the shot of Mr. Woodhouse sitting behind all of those screens in the beginning when Emma and Knightley were arguing. I laughed for a good 10 minutes after that.

What really stood out to me, though (and maybe it is just my imagination) were all of the elements that seemed to be inspired by prior versions of Emma. For example, Bill Nighy’s Mr. Woodhouse was reminiscent of the character in the 1972 miniseries- very skinny and actually quite spry and nimble (such as the scene where he jumps down the stairs in the beginning). Like the Kate Beckinsale version, the film also placed a heavy focus on the class system and just how rich these characters were- always showing all of the servants doing all of the hard work to make all of this possible. This characterization of Emma also focused on her snobby side, especially in the beginning. And the Harriet Smith character was a bit more intelligent and less silly than some other versions as well, and gets engaged to Robert Martin before she finds out Emma and Knightley are engaged. (although in this one, that was Emma’s doing so a bit different). It also was a big deal to show Emma “reconciling” with Robert in this one, as she shakes hands with him at the end of the Beckinsale version.

In addition,, the look of the film reminded me of the Gwyneth Paltrow version- with all of the light, bright, and pastel colors. Also, like the Paltrow version, I didn’t feel that the Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax storyline was handled well enough (although comparatively speaking, it was an improvement to that one). It also was quite obvious that Knightley had the hots for Emma, like Jeremy Northam was obvious in the way he looked at her (at least to me!) And, as in the Paltrow version, I thought Emma’s hairstyles were quite unflattering (although in a different way- Gwyneth’s hair always looked so tight and uncomfortable. In this one, the placement of the curly ringlets just looked silly and kind of “off” as a Regency hairstyle).

I didn’t really notice quite as many parallels with the 2009 version, but there were a couple things- the fact that Emma, Jane, and Frank had all lost parents and that their situations ended up being so different was commented on a couple times. Both of them really highlighted the aspect of Emma’s growth and development- in the 2009 version, Emma started as very immature and unladylike; in this one, the focus was on how haughty and snobby she was at first.

So, what does everybody think? Did any of you get any similar impressions? Am I just imagining it, lol? After all, I know some of this is inevitable, since they’re all based on the same book, after all. None of these were meant to be negative criticisms- just interesting. I haven’t seen any of the older versions in some years, so when I rewatch, I will have to see if I still feel the same way and/or notice fewer or more things! Let me know what you guys think.

Top Ten Tuesday- Books I’d Like to See Adapted

19 Aug

I am once again rearing my head after not posting in years. I have had the writing bug for so long, but just never seemed to have the time. I can’t promise that I will be able to post regularly, but I’m not going to let that bother me. Why not? It’s my blog so I can make the rules.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl- So many times in the last couple years have I read certain TTT topics and wanted to add my two cents, but it would always be too late. For once I have caught one on time!

Here is my list, in no particular order:

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  1.  Evelina by Fanny Burney–  Jane Austen was a fan of Burney’s books (it is believed that the title “Pride and Prejudice” was taken from a quotation in Cecilia). Most are set in the Georgian era, so slightly before Austen’s books would have been set. I have read all of them, but my favorite is the first one- Evelina. It is an epistolary novel, and by far her shortest and funniest. The other books have good plots and characters, but they are far too long and could be quite melodramatic. Still, with a talented screenwriter, any of them could be trimmed into an enjoyable miniseries. So I will give honorable mentions to Cecilia, Camillaand The Wanderer as well.
  2. Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte- A much more realistic governess tale than Charlotte’s Jane Eyre. I think fans of Jane Austen in particular, and those who like period dramas but not the typical Gothic Bronte works (Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights) would really enjoy it.
  3. Shirley by Charlotte Bronte- I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I liked the love story, but the writing made me enjoy the book less. It also included Charlotte’s usual prejudices of anything un-Anglican or un-English. However, those are also things that a talented screenwriter could smooth over.
  4. Ruth or Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell– Other Gaskell adaptations have been well-received, so why not take on one of these lesser known books?
  5. The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia- This is really a comedy of manners set in a world very similar to late 19th century France. There is a paranormal element, but it is very small, and it would really be a period drama with a minimal fantasy element. It shouldn’t require too much in the way of special effects.
  6. Anything by Georgette Heyer- That’s right, anything. I have no idea why no one has been adapting these books! Some particular favorites that I would particularly enjoy would be Regency Buck, Venetia, The Talisman Ring, Sylvester, and The Nonesuch. 
  7. Lady Helen series by Alison Goodman- Paranormal series set in Regency England. This would be amazing if done right.
  8. Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier- A Beauty and the Beast retelling set in medieval Ireland. This book was amazing, and is probably my favorite fairy tale retelling ever!
  9. Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab- A paranormal series set in Regency England. I have so far only read the first book, but the world-building (or perhaps I should say “worldS-building,” as there are multiple Londons in this series) was incredible. I would love to see it on screen.
  10. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym- A comedy of manners set in 1950s London. Austen fans would be sure to like it. I just finished reading this book for the first time and thought it was hilarious. For whatever reason, I kept picturing the characters wearing Regency style clothing, and had to keep reminding myself of the year it was actually set.
  11. No Name or The Law and the Lady by Wilkie Collins- I cheated and added an extra one! Some of Collins’s other books (The Woman in White and The Moonstone) have been done a couple of times, but these are two of my other favorites of is. Both feature a female protagonist/detective character, unlike the other two I mentioned.

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Not surprisingly, all of these would be a period drama of some sort. I swear I don’t read only classics or historical novels!