Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Chose to Not Finish


I do not finish books for these reasons:

  1. It’s boring me to death (or at least putting me to sleep)
  2. There are too many historical errors
  3. A character annoys me too much
  4. I run out of time on a library check-out and can’t renew
  5. Something idiotic happens
  6. The reader is just wrong for the audio book
  7. Right book, wrong moment

#2 and # 5 are important. I gave up on WILD when dear Cheryl praised herion useage. Really??? Are you THAT stupid? and I’ve given up on countless historical fiction titles for things that were just plain wrong. One Thousand White Women was among those.


When I’ve Kept Reading or Listening


Recently I chose to finish the completely improbable story of the Chilbury Ladies Choir by  Jennifer Ryan even though the historical inaccuracies were many because I wanted to understand why it got such sensational reviews. I decided it was because the editors were too young to realize the story was improbable.

I also kept listening to the Last Girls by Lee Smith even though Baby made me want to scream and throw the cd out the car window because I like Lee Smith’s writing and because the other characters had come to matter to me.


The Ones I Gave Up On Recently



White Houses I tried in print. It was “fine” it just wasn’t my vision of Eleanor OR of Hick.  I also tried Daughters of the Night Sky in print. How anyone lived after making a joke at the expense of the Red Army in a Red Army barracks was beyond me! My Dear Hamilton, unlike her earlier book, America’s First Daughter, just didn’t hold my interest.  My Grandmother…. was just plain annoying and I’ve loved everything by Fredrik Backman.  Carnegie’s Maid was too superficial. Inheriting Edith lost to only awful audio performance Cassandra Campbell has ever given.


What about you? What makes you give up on a book? Or, do you slog on to the bitter end? Leave me a comment with your answer.

Top Ten Tuesday is held each week at the blog Artsy Reader Girl. You can join in any time. Here are the rules. And here are all of this week’s posts!


Top Ten, well, 13, Tuesday: Bookish Worlds I’d Love to Live An: Writer’s Worlds


Thanks to the blog Literary Sisters for the idea for this post!

I love writing and am nearing submission with one manuscript, so it is no accident that I also enjoy reading about writers.  The burgeoning genre of historical fiction–especially biographical historical fiction has made reading about writer’s lives very enjoyable. I also enjoy traditional biographies, too. Here are some of my recent favorites in both categories–all of which bring that writer’s world to life.








Top Ten Tuesday is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Anyone can join in. Check out the rules here and read this week’s great posts here.

Note: You can find my reviews for several of these here on this blog. Others I reviewed on my old blog.

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 New Royal Books for Royal Wedding Week





Andrew Morton is the journalist to whom Diana told her side of the War of the Wales. Now he’s telling about royal bride Meghan Markle, whose stated ambition is to be the next Diana.

Meghan: A Hollywood Princess by Andrew Morton.

Note: There are way, way too many Meghan/Harry books to even try to cover them all.






Author Penny Junor is seen as Prince Charles’ apologist. This book is yet another attempt to make the Diana-worshippers and conspiracy-freaks come around to liking Camilla. I wasn’t a fan of the late Princess of Wales, but this book was just unnecessary. Haters are gonna’ hate. In short–don’t waste more breath (or paper) trying to win converts.

Duchess: Camilla Parker-Bowles and the Love Affair That Rocked The Crown by Penny Junor.





Britain and Russia had ties thru marriage. First, the sister of the Princess of Wales was married to the Russian Tzar. Then Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, Alix of Hesse, married the Tzarevich, Nicholas.  This forthcoming book (June 2018) details three visits between the royal families in the years before the Russian Revolution of 1917.

The Imperial Tea Party by Frances Welch.






This biography of Prince Charles actually came out in late March but missed my last list of Royal books somehow. Excerpts were published in a UK newspaper. It’s the one you may have heard about that claims Charles travels with his own bed and all the rest. Why no one has ever seen the bed at

the airport isn’t explained.

Rebel Prince: The Power, Passion and Defiance of Prince Charles by Tom Bower.




Eileen Parker was married to Prince Philip’s one-time buddy and Private Secretary before his behavior merited a divorce. Tell-all books are always with us, but viewers of The Crown may enjoy this one. Excerpts have been published in a British paper. This book was released in December.

Step Aside for Royalty: Treasured Memories of the Royal Household by Eileen Parker.





I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon

Royal Mess by Jenna Sutton.  Thanks to As The Book Ends for posting about this book.

Royal Treatment by Melanie Summers

The Royals by Rachel Hawkins  Thanks to Candid Cover for posting about this book.

Prince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm  Thanks to Candid Cover for posting about this book.



Want more? Here’s the link to my previous royal books post.

Top 10 Tuesday: Books With My Favorite Color On the Cover (or In the Title)


This week’s Top 10 Tuesday topic is Books With My Favorite Color On the Cover (or In the Title).  FYI: Top Ten Tuesday is held each week by That Artsy Reader Girl. You can read the rules here. If you’ve read this blog at all, you’ve probably discovered that my favorite color is RED. And, I have no ability with math, so who knows how many are on this list! They’re red!! I’ve read the red books! Yes! I love getting to say that!

So, here are my top 10 RED books!

#1 and #2 the red-covered books I’m anxious to read


How Hard Can it Be? and the prequel, (which I’ve read and loved), I Don’t Know How She Does It, both by Allison Pearson. [Yes, I know! I’ve put this book in just about every post recently! I’m excited, ok?]

How Hard Can it Be? by Allison Pearson [release date June 5]

I Don’t Know How She Does it by Allison Pearson


Puddin’ by the awesome Julie Murphy, author of Dumplin’ and Ramona Blue

‘Cause the fat girl can so get the guy!

So, so, so excited, too,  that Dumplin’ is in production to be a film with Dolly Parton doing the soundtrack!!

Puddin’ by Julie Murphy.

Ramona Blue and my review.

Dumplin’ and my review.

Some Red-Covered Books I’ve Enjoyed

Books With Red in the Title That I’ve Read

Check out my post on Copy Cat Covers: Tigers in Red Weather post

You can read here why The Red House by Mark Haddon is one of my all-time favorite vacation books!

The One with the red cover AND Scarlet (aka “red”) in the title that is on my Kindle, patiently waiting to be read.


Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan

But Wait! There’s More!!


Red is just a part of who I am. You might enjoy this post: Childhood Memories: Red Shoes.


And, then there’s that song I keep posting. The song that makes me swoon every single time I hear it. The RED song!


Why not join in next week? Here’s a link to the rules. You can read all of this week’s great Top 10 Tuesday posts here.

Top Ten Tuesday: Copy Cat Covers: Tigers in Red Weather


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is: Frequently Used Words In [Insert Genre/Age Group] Titles. I couldn’t do a thing with that one! So, I’m doing my own thing this week–which is allowed.


I really get annoyed by copy-cat cover! Like the marketing people think I’m so stupid I’ll buy the wrong book? Or, since I loved one book with that cover then I’d gladly buy a second with it? Right…… NOT!

This cover, for the best-seller, Tigers in Red Weather, is the first I noticed in this particular chain of copy-cat covers. For the record, the book did little for me:

Tigers in Red Weather: A Novel by Liza Klaussman  Kept waiting for something worthy of the hype. Nothing “wrong” with the story, just not that original or exciting either. Stupid names for characters always put me off, too, and a woman named “Nick” in the 1940s?? Oh please. [From my old blog, August 27, 2012.]

The Two Newest Books Copying the Cover

Since I couldn’t come up with anything for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, here are the other nine covers, starting wtih two brand new books. Ironically, they were both coverd in this recent Beach Reads post at Book Bub.


See the similarities? It isn’t always a complete copy–maybe just an element of the original.  In these two books one has the style of bathing suit and they both have stripes which mimick the subtle “stripes” of the stitching in hat and the spines of the parasols in the original.  FYI:  I’ll likely listen to The Husband Hour. I’m a sucker for a guy named Rory!


Here are the others:

And, yes, you’ve a good eye! One is by the same author as The Husband Hour!



Do you like the idea of copy cat covers? Leave me a comment with your thoughts!


Why not join in with Top Ten Tuesday? The rules and the weekly posts are at That Artsy Reader Girl. It’s fun!



Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books About Extraordinary Women


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is a freebie–pick your own topic. I choose extraodinary women in fiction and nonfiction.






Remarkable Creatures: A Novel by Tracy Chevalier is about two Victorian women of different “stations” in life who adore fossils. My review was on my old blog, but you can see how this novel came to mind one week in this post.

Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman is one of the few collections of short stories I’ve finished reading. You can read my full review here.

I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe is a very, very,  VERY rare woman posing as man book that held my attention and earned my respect. Read more about this and the other Civil War book I liked with a woman posing as a man in this post.

The Commoner by John Burnham Swartz is an amazing novel of the extraordinary woman who became today’s Empress of Japan. Not to be missed.




Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen. The classic memoir of a Danish noblewoman Karen Blixen [she wrote under the name Isak Dinesen] running a coffee plantation in early 20th Century Kenya. Robert Redford and Meryl Streep starred in the movie. I nearly chose The Flame Trees of Thika as they had a more challenging life, but Blixen was the more extraordinary woman.

The Sisters by Mary S. Lovell  is the incredible collective biography of Britain’s most extraordinary group of siblings. The Mitford Sisters included the a Hitler stalker (in today’s paralance) supposedly conceived in Swastika (name: Unity); a Communist who wrote prescient send-ups of the American way of birth and death (Jessica), and the extraordinary Debo, Duchess of Devonshire, sister-in-law of JFK’s late sister Kick. And those are only half of them! Then there’s Diana, the scandalous wife of British Fascist leader Oswald Mosely,  author Nancy Mitford abd Pam–the Quiet One. These are simply the most interestesting aristocrats ever. Full stop.

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonal is a dual-biography–of the author T.H. White (The Once and Future King) and his tortured homosexuality and of a young woman, the author,  entranced by falconry. You can read my full review here.

Pinstripes & Pearls: The Women of the Harvard Law Class of ’64 Who Forged an Old Girl Network and Paved the Way for Future Generations by Judith Richards Hope is exactly what the title promises: an intriguing look at the extraordinary women of the Harvard Law class of ’64. Extraordinary women indeed.  You can see more books on law school and lawyers in this post.

Life List by Olivia Gentile tells of St. Louis housewife, Phoebe Snetsinge, and her strange obsession to build the ultimate birder’s life list (birds seen in nature). Way more interesting than you may think. She was truly an extraordinary woman and not only in birding circles. You can read my full review in this post.

Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West by Dorothy Wickenden. On my old blog this was one of my Must Read Book of 2012]. When women get bored, look out. These two left their comfortable homes and calling cards behind to go out west an teach in the early 20th century. Superb book about two truly extraordinary women.


Top Ten Tuesday is held each wee at That Artsy Reader Girl. Why not join in? You can read the rules here. Check out all of this week’s posts here.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved but Will Never Re-Read


This week’s topic, Books I Loved but Will Never Re-Read, could be summed up as “every book I read from now on.” I’m (gulp) only a few yeas shy of 60 (yes 6–0). There isn’t time to re-read! I do “visit” with favorite books–re-reading favorite parts, but I can’t see re-reading an entire book anymore. When I was younger, and before the internet, I re-read a lot of books often because I lacked access to review sources to help me find new books to read. Today I’m overwhelmed with them. All the books shown here are fabulous–5 stars, but time is just short. I want to read new books now!


Would you like to take part in the next Top Ten Tuesday? Here’s a link to the rules at That Artsy Reader Girl. Click on her home link to go to this week’s posts.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Take Place In Another Country


A Year of Reading the World blog is a great resource if you’d like to read about other countries. Here at Hopewell’s Public Library of Life you can click on Reading the Globe or Reading Around the World in the tag cloud to see posts on such books.

NOTE: I excluded The United Kingdom since I read way too many books from there! Yes, that means no England, no Scotland, no Wales. Sorry.

I also excluded books on the Holocaust because that wouldn’t be appropriate (to me at least) even though they occurred in Poland or Germany, etc. Ditto the Soviet Gulag.

This list includes both fiction and nonfiction.

Two From Venice

Both the City-State and the modern Italian city



The Gondola Maker, set in the 16th century is a story–as the title implies–of a young man entering the trade of making gonolas. There is some disturbing content in here meant to shock–child rape. I put up with that only because it, sadly, was in tune with the time period of the book.

By the Grand Canal was just my type book. You can read my full review here.

Two From Trinidad




A House For Mr. Biswas is now regarded as a classic. Trying to end the domination of his wife’s family on his life, Mr. Biswas struggles manfully for independence–including the acquistion of a separate home. I read this in ’89 in the Peace Corps–it was one of those books every Peace Corps Volunteer seemed to read and not only because the selection of books in the pre-Internet, pre-Kindle days was so sparce in Malawi.

The White Woman on a Green Bicycle tells the story of a diplomats wife living in Trinidad and dealing with daily life as the islands go thru the rumblings of independence. A great take on expatriate life.

A Peace Corps Classic from Togo

village of waiting



George Packer’s memoir of his time in Togo with the U.S. Peace Corps is a soft-of classic in that genre. He tells the real story. Though now about 35 years old, it is still very relevant. Village of Waiting.







What happens AFTER the revolution? How does a child see the world? What happens when the dream comes true and the child moves to the States?  We Need New Names by Violet Bulawayo.





One From Malawi



There was Malawi before Madonna found it. This novel, set in the last days of dictator Hastings Kamuzu Banda, is real life Malawi at the time I lived there. Sugarcane With Salt by James Ng’ombe.





One other that is “sort of” set in Malawi…..



A fictionalized Madonna in a fictionalized Malawi. Ok! Yes. It does include London life. BUT, I’ve chosen it purely for the parts in the fictionalized Malawi. There. Happy? Swing Time by Zadie Smith. You can read my full review here.





Provence, France




Peter Mayle may have invented the expatriate goes aborad to stay memoir. I’m not sure. Whatever. This one is pure joy. A Year in Provence.




One From Iceland



Names For The Sea is a memoir of a season of life spent as an expatriate faculty member at an Icelandic University. You can read my full review here.






Would you like to join in the fun of Top Ten Tuesday? Here’s a link to the rules. And, you can read all of this week’s posts here on the blog Artsy Reader Girl.




Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Book Quotes



I listen to much of the fiction I “read,” so I’m not always able to get a great quote written down. Nonetheless, for several years now I’ve kept a Commonplace Book–a notebook in which I write out quotes I’ve liked. I’ve lost quotes kept on phones that have died, too. I’ve learned to put more trust in pen and paper than in storing them on my phone. Here, then, are a few quotes I’ve liked. I couldn’t begin to pick a true Top 10, so these are just any old 10. Except the first.


All Time Number 1



“My dear, I don’t give a damn.”

-Rhett Butler. GWTW. The way Margaret Mitchell wrote it–not the way Hollywood embellished it.




“It was a far better kind of love than common.”

Villette by Chralotte Bronte



“…the difficulties which render it arduous render it also glorious….”

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott



“Her normal life pleased her so well that she was half afriad to step out of its frame.”

Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther



“…she’d given him his most profound experience of the divine….”

Mr. Emerson’s Wife by Amy Belding Brown



“…too much everything, not enough anything…..”

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler




“[We] use thought to not participate in life.”

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky




“Anybody can look at you. It’s quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see.”

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green


“She had a face, a body made not for Paris runways, but for good food and books by the fire and laughter. She was contructed from and for happiness.”

The Long Way Home by Louise Penny



“…she’s been raised in a certain way and the present is all she has….”

Swing Time by Zadie Smith


You can read all of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday posts at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Would you like to participate in next week’s Top Ten Tuesday? Here’s a link to the rules.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Could Re-read Forever–Fiction List



If you’ve read here much, this week’s list will be VERY predictable! These are the novels I can read and re-read forever and ever. To new readers–yes, I know of and deplore the racism in GWTW. I do not read it to glorify anything. I read it to enjoy Rhett Butler. I like either big, sprawling books (that today would be chopped up into a series) or short, fun books.



Top Ten Tuesday is now hosted by Artsy Reader Girl. Why not join in and post your own list? The rules are here. You can read all of this weeks Top 10 Posts here.