Tuesday, May 31, 2022

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Comfort Reads

What makes a comfort read? It should be a quick read, not too long, there should be no terrible things happen and it should feel like there will be a happy ending (spoiler- there will be a happy ending). Here's my list of books, several of which I've read more than once, that as I read the title, I get a happy feeling of remembrance.

For more posts, and future topics for Top Ten Tuesday, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

Blue Castle by LM Montgomery

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winnifred Watson

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

A Guide to Birds of East Africa by Nicholas Drayson

Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding

Evening Class by Maeve Binchy

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

The Penderwick: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Bookish Quotes Freebie


This week is Bookish Quotes. I'm not a reader who underlines, or takes note of interesting quotes. There is one character, however, whose quotes have stayed quite familiar to me. Partially because they are really good, and partially because I see them all the time on touristy things. But really, these are wonderfully postive quotes and could easily be a set of life mottos. Yes, our favourite red head, Anne of Green Gables has enough quotes for a complete Top Ten Tuesday. For more varied quotes, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet.”

“It is ever so much easier to be good if your clothes are fashionable.”

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

“Do you think amethysts can be the souls of good violets?”

really, Marilla, one can’t stay sad very long in such an interesting world, can one?”

“I know it is just plain red, and it breaks my heart. It will be my life long sorrow.”

“It’s delightful when your imaginations come true, isn’t it?”

“Which would you rather be if you had the choice--divinely beautiful or dazzlingly clever or angelically good?”

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”

and my all time favourite quote:

“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Bookish Characters


The topic this week is Bookish Characters (these could be readers, writers, authors, librarians, professors, etc.). I've gone through books I've read and enjoyed a lot and highly recommend! And found extra reasons to read each book. And maybe listed eleven, lol, because I liked the topic.

For more posts and future topics, visit That Artsy Reader Girl who hosts.

Unless - Carol Shields (author)
The main character, an author, is struggling as her daughter has dropped out of life and is sitting on a street corner, with a sign around her neck, 'goodness'
Bonus: feminist slant to all the naval gazing

Misery - Stephen King (author)
What happens to an author who stops writing a series, and a crazy fan is not impressed? 
Bonus: you can watch the excellent movie as well

The Magpie Murders - Anthony Horowitz (author/agent)
The manuscript has been passed in and then the author disappears. The author's agent must figure out what happened, based on the unpublished manuscript. 
Bonus: you get two books in one because you also read the manuscript.

The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon (librarian, book seller)
A young boy finds an old book and while looking for more books by the author, discovers all the author's books are being destroyed. 
Bonus: the setting is a gothic Barcelona

Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery (reader/writer)
Poor orphan Anne has always escaped into books and writing to offset her miserable life, before she comes to Green Gables
Bonus: later book, Anne of Windy Poplar, is all letters written by Anne to Gilbert

The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fforde (just all about books!)
A whole world within books, with book detectives trying to keep the endings the way they should be without rouge characters trying to change things.
Bonus: all your favourite books/characters are here, and there are sequels

The Book Thief - Markus Zuzak (reader)
A little girl sneaks into a home library and reads books. In Berlin, during the war, and she is Jewish. 
Bonus: Death is the narrator

The Giver of Stars - Jojo Moyes (mobile librarians)
Women librarians taking books on horseback to isolated farms
Bonus: try Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey for the same version of story, but in a future America

Eight Perfect Murders - Peter Swanson (bookseller)
A bookseller who wrote a list of the most unsolvable murders from literature gets caught up in a murder investigation when someone begins using his list to actually kill
Bonus: You get a list of 8 great murder mysteries to read afterward

The Sentence - Louise Erdrich (bookstore worker)
I wanted a book I've read recently on the list and this one was good, and topical, set in Minnesota during 2020 so expect Covid lockdowns and George Floyd murder. Much of the book is set in a bookstore where the main character is being haunted by a dead patron.
Bonus: books list at the back, of books the main character referenced

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

TOP TEN TUESDAY: One-Word Reviews for the Last Ten Books I Read


Top Ten Tuesday this week is One-Word Reviews for the last ten books I've read. This is a great idea, and one I should incorporate every month to give a quick recap of the books I've read. For more topics and posts see That Artsy Reader Girl.

The Raven's Tale - Cat Winters 🎧  - gothic

The Paris Apartment - Lucy Foley 🎧 - secrets

Small Things Like These - Clare Keegan 🎧 - Itish, gor

Lucifer's Harvest - Mel Starr - medieval

What Strange Paradise - Omar El Akkad  🎧 - refugees

Magpie Lane - Lucy Atkins (ebook) - negligence

Taste: My Life Through Food - Stanley Tucci 🎧- yummmm!

Out of Line Short Story Collection : This Telling - Cheryl Strayed; Halfway to Free - Emma Donaghue; Shine, Pamela! Shine - Kate Atkinson (ebook)  - pregnancy

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev - Dawnie Walton  -  🎧 - seventies

Small Pleasures - Clare Chambers  - 🎧 - delightful

Sunday, May 1, 2022



Lucifer's Harvest by Mel Starr
1300s Oxford, England
#9 The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, surgeon

This medieval series would be great for people who have read Brother Cadfael and have run out of books. Set in the 1300s of England near Oxford, Hugh has studied as a surgeon, and is now the bailiff for a local lord, charged with investigating crimes that occur under his region. Time passes in the series, so we see Hugh court, marry, have children. It's plague times, so there is lots of death, and lots of medieval deaths due to, well, anything. Life is tough.
This wasn't my favourite in the series as Lord Gilbert has packed up the men in his employ to head to France to support Prince Edward in his fight in Aquatine, and Hugh has to go along to look after injuries. So it's all the lords and upper class men 'fighting' and getting into trouble, and no random village people or Hugh's family to watch. I'll keep reading though - I've got the next two books out from the library (because the library is closing, to move in June, so not due til July)

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton
1970s America

I guess the 1970s are now historical fiction as 1972 is now fifty years ago, sheesh! Opal and Nev reminds me a lot of Daisy Jones and the Six. Both are told as a bio-pic type story, with interviews from all the relevent characters. It took me a while to get into the book, and keep all the characteres straight which considering it was an audio with full cast, shouldn't have. But I did eventually get involved in the story, and enjoyed the look at race relations, and music history. The idea is that the editor of a magazine is looking into the concert/turned riot that killed her drummer father just before her birth. The musical duo Opal and Nev, a young black girl and a white man, played their last show at the riot. The editor looks into what exactly happened that night, and interviews all the players, and of course has her own vested interest in it all, as Opal and Nev begin plans for a reunion tour. 

Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers
1950s England

Sweet find of the month which hit my literary sweet spots - a quiet look at a 'spinster' woman in late 1950s England. Jean works at a local paper, looking after her widowed, cranky mother. Her boring life takes a turn to the interesting when she receives a letter from a woman who claims that her daughter was born of a virgin birth. Jean investigates for the paper but gets entangled in the family, befriending the mother, becoming an aunt-like friend to the ten year old daughter, and especially attached to the doting husband. Quiet but insightful, looking at balance between duty and self-interest. Delightful!

Turns out this is based on two stories that Chambers read in an old newpaper and turned into one story. I like getting to hear about the inspiration that may have been behind a story. This is also described as for fans of Kazou Ishiguro, Ann Patchett, and Tessa Hadley.