Top Ten Tuesday: Genre Freebie


My Own Multiple Genre Freebie Series


Epidemic books

Since Coronavirus struck, I’ve been doing a casual series on Fridays of “epidemic” books! You can read those posts–usually one or two books a week, by clicking the links below. Enjoy!



Book One for Self-Isolating Inspiration

Book Two--Epidemic novel

Books Four and Five-– An Epidemic Novel & a Great Nonfiction Read

Theme/Genre Posts

On Thursdays, I have recently begun doing a “theme” post as well. Many book bloggers do this sort of post.


Club Books

Institutional Life Books

Farming Books


Past Theme Posts


Natural Disaster Books

Road Trip Books I and Road Trip Reads II


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Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR


This week we are listing those books we want to read in the Spring. I’m only putting up books I haven’t mentioned before. Most of those I’ve been mentioning as TBR are finally out or about to be out so I’m not re-using those.

New Releases


Due out in May, this is the author’s second royal novel. The first, Royal Nanny,told of the Nanny who rescued the future Edward VIII and the future George VI from their abusive first nanny and went on to take full charge of their epileptic youngest brother, Prince John. This book, The Queen’s Secret, deals with the late Queen Mother when she was Queen Consort to George VI. This line in the blurb worries me though: “Elizabeth holds many powerful cards, she’s also hiding damaging secrets about her past and her provenance that could prove to be her undoing.” Will to focus on her wanting the Heir but settling for marriage to the Spare? Or the tittle-tattle about supposedly being the child of her father and the cook! I hope not that ridiculousness! While Royal Nanny was “ok,” I threw back her book, American Duchess on Consuelo Vanderbilt and the Duke of Marlborough.

The Queen’s Secret by Karen Harper



I just got this one as a Kindle First Reads Pick. It’s $4.99 otherwise for Kindle and sounds good: 1951, 18-year-old girl, a summer at a resort, a handsome college boy…a “limitless future“.

The Last Bathing Beauty by Amy Sue Nathan arrives April 1st.






I’m SURE I’d read that her last novel was her LAST. NOVEL But her’s Anne Tyler back and she’s been a must-read since she began. I don’t even need the blurb.

The Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler arrives April 7th.








One Day broke my heart again and again! If this one has a fraction of the emotional wallop of One Day I’ll be thrilled. I also liked his book Us (my review is here).

Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls arrives May 5th.




I rarely bother with “popular medicine” or celebrity-endorsed health books, but I’ll at least skim this one. My grandmother was stricken with Alzheimer’s and my family and I dread the diagnosis.

The XX Brain by Lisa Mosconi came out on March 10th.




Older Books


Last September I hope to finish not too long after Reading Ireland Month finishes–I doubt I can get it done in time to meet the deadline. I’ve had Elizabeth Bowen on my TBR for forever it seems.

The Sympathizer I’m hoping I like. It’s been on my TBR since it was published and goes well with the Year of the Asian reading challenge I’m participating in this year. It’s also another Nobel Prize Winner--I love making check marks on book lists!

Invisible Women is for a not-really-book-club with two fellow librarians at work. One was left speechless but happy when she read it–it’s $2.99 for Kindle right now.

The Authenticity Project reminds me of bullet journaling–analog life.

Portrait of a Marriage by Vita Sackville-West This is the sacrificial lamb of the list! I’ve started it soooooo many times! Dearest Vita and Darling Harold might see me finish another chapter at last.



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Top Ten Tuesday: Books Using E-mail or Social Media in the Storytelling


Two weeks ago we had the topic Characters I’d Follow on Social Media. This week’s topic is supposed to be Authors Who Have a Fun Social Media Presence. My list really didn’t “sing” with fun. So, I changed the topic slightly to best books with e-mail or social media in the storytelling. As ever, my math skills are not so great. There ARE more than 10 here.


The Short Story Written in Tweets


Black Box by Jennifer Egan

Read the entire story here in the New Yorker.


Note to readers: I feel I use the same books over and over in these posts. Sorry!


The Books I’ve Read


On their trip, Michael uses social media to stay connected to friends. Noah is confounded by this in a fun way. I love this book. Akin by Emma Donoghue. My review is here.


This novel, now a t.v. series, begins with a woman receiving a mysterious, anonymous text.  Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta. My review is here.


Alex and Henry are natural social media users, though of course Henry must be very careful.  Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston.


This fun novel of dating life–such as it is, in Saudi Arabia, uses e-mail exchanges to tell the story making it an epistolary novel–one of my favorite storytelling techniques. I thoroughly enjoyed this rom-com-ish book. Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea.



Tina and Anders begin with formal letters, but eventually go to emails in their developing relationship. This book is a treasure. Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson.


This novel is not in my usual genres as it is a tad creepy. I read the blurb when it came out and it sounded eerily like something my workplace was trying. Yikes. I had to read it. Creepy is not really strong enough for the “like-” clicking fanaticism of the corporate culture portrayed. This one is unforgettable to me. The Circle by Dave Eggers.


The classic spoof of our phone-obsessed lives. Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg.


While making their Camino pilgrimage, Martin and Zoe deal with the predictable problems of cell phone and internet use along the way. Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist.

The Books Still On My TBR

And the anti-social media bestseller still on my TBR




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Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Follow On Social Media


Seeing this week’s prompt I immediately thought of Texts From Jane Eyre--the funny send-up of literary characters put into modern-day social media. I loved it. Then I started brainstorming. The Swans of Fifth Avenue came to mind immediately–Babe and her friends would be huge IG influencers today! And, imagine Truman! But, they were real, so I couldn’t include them–it wouldn’t work in my brain. It would be like Churchill Tweeting! Nope! I stuck to fictional characters. I dismissed the Brontes & Jane Austen and went modern.

My Picks


Silkeborg Museum, Denmark. I’d follow this museum since I follow several other museums such as Cincinnati’s Taft Museum of Art (a true hidden gem).                     Meet Me at the Museum


I’d be following Alex Claremont-Dia this election year to see what’s up. It goes without saying that I’d already be following the Royal Family and Prince Henry.

  Red White and Royal Blue


Imagine if this was a blog title? A blog with a youtube channel and Twitter for quotes, and IG for all kinds of great pictures.

Almost Famous Women.


Pastry chef Livvy Rawling‘s deserts! Yes, I’d be following her desert porn!

The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living


I’d like to follow someone preparing for and walking the Camino–I’d especially like an artsy type who’d post sketches on their IG, maybe some videos on their youtube channel, vivid descriptions of scenery and birds or whatever on their blog, fun over-heard quotes on their Twitter and who knows, maybe they’d do a “blister cam” each night? In real life, I have a friend attempting this soon, so who knows?

Two Steps Forward


I imagine  Martha Storm would have an amazing book review blog with lots of quirky, overlooked or nearly forgotten books that I would love!

The Library of Lost and Found.


Following the Plaza would be interesting but following the boutique Art Deco NYC Hopewell Hotel with interesting suites and fabulous caretaker-owner-manager family. This is a YA series I need to catch up with!  With my blog name, I sure hope they’d follow me back!

Suite Scarlett


I really admire fictional librarian Mary Beth Mayhew in Cherico Mississippi’s public library and the Cherry Cola Book Club that meets there. Mary Beth is young, talented and politically savvy. I’d follow her library and her book blog, Twitter and IG. I’d also follow the Twinkle Twinkle Cafe even though I can’t imagine eating a tomato aspic! Everything else she serves is delicious. I need to catch up on this series–there are three more books since I last read!

Cherry Cola Book Club.


Of course, I’d have to follow The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency! I’d probably follow  Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors and The Double Comfort Furniture Store, too! If you haven’t tried this series, get the audio! It’s so much better with all the names correctly pronounced in a perfect accent.


I’d follow mother Eve’s IG and her blog and twitter–you just know it would be better than Scary Mommy and others of that ilk. I’d love to see her portraits of people’s pet that she paints in her garden shed to keep the lights on. I’d also follow her caddish, successful husband Bill‘s IG and that of his London gallery. I love this family. I really, really wish she’d write a grown-up novel of this marriage!

The Casson Family Books


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Top Ten Tuesday: The Last Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover

This week’s topic, The Last Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover was suggested by Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse. What a good topic! I’ve tweaked it by doing some of my most recent and some of my all-time worst book hangovers.

Most Recent Book Hangovers

The Flatshare flat-out left me unable to read anything else for a few days. Not even my daily commute audiobook!

Meet Me at the Museum hit me hard, too. Exactly the type of romance I would personally want and the characters were close to MY age for a change.

Red, White, and Royal Blue-heck I didn’t think I’d even like it! I loved it. I wanted it to go on and on!

The Stationery Store was just exquisite.

Where the Crawdads Sing was an instant all-time favorite. I’m too old to waste time re-reading books, but I just might re-read this one.

My Top Two Book Hangovers


Thankfully, the blurb I read about The King’s General omitted the major spoiler that ruins the book and is present in seemingly every blurb for it now. Oh, my heart! This book still tears at my heartstrings! Honor and Richard! Yes, by today’s standards this book is a bit long, but it was worth it. I loved it even more than her Rebecca. It took a few weeks to get over this one.

I’m not the only one who had flash floods of tears over Me Before You! Louisa and Will! Like Honor and Richard, these two are a love for the ages. I cried over this one–real heart-wrenching, gulping, tears. Unlike nearly everyone, I liked the rest of this trilogy, too. No, the last two books didn’t have nearly the impact of the first, but they told a very real story and I liked them.



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Top Ten Tuesday Love Freebie: White House Love!


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is a freebie–do your own thing with the topic. With Valentine’s Day this week, it is a Love Freebie. Since President’s Day is next week,  I chose White House love!

First My All-Time Favorite White House Love Book


That I love this book in no way means I approve of the love affair! That wreaked havoc on the Roosevelt family–especially the children of FDR and Eleanor. And, technically, this affair occurred before FDR was president. Seeing that Lucy was with him when he died thought….well…. But this book! Oh, this book! It is so wonderful. The actions of the characters, the speech, all aspects of their being are in tune with the manners and mores of the time. It is so lovely and so believable.  And so selfish. Too bad they could not see all the people they were hurting. Never mind–it’s a love story and an enduring one. Lucy by Ellen Feldman


There is a nonfiction book of note on this affair as well. Franklin & Lucy by Joseph E. Persic, which I enjoyed but did not review.

The One I Wrote More About


Grover Cleveland today might get lumped in with Jeffrey Epstein for saying “I’m waiting for her to grow up” in response to a question on why he wasn’t married! Our only president to serve non-consecutive terms, Cleveland is also known for being 49 when he married his 21-year-old ward, Miss Frances Folsom. We may judge this harshly today, but in 1886 many brides were much younger than their grooms. I’m sure many a social-climbing mother would have shoved her daughter at the president with high hopes. This little book, The Bride of the White House, tells the story of the Clevelands’ wedding. I’ve written a post about the couple here: Cross-Generational Romance in the White House.


The One With Only Women–Four Books

Eleanor Roosevelt was a classic abused and abandoned child. She found it hard to show and accept love, she struggled to trust anyone fully and couldn’t always give her true self away.  She fell in love with her distant cousin Franklin, was as happy as she could let herself be in her marriage until he met Lucy Mercer [see above] and betrayed her trust forever. After the affair, Eleanor re-launched her life and that life included loving relationships with various women. Lorena Hickok, aka “Hick,” was partly responsible for creating the Eleanor we remember today. Two novels and one nonfiction book tell their story.  Susan Wittig Albert’s Loving Eleanor portrays “MY” Eleanor–how I see her. Amy Bloom’s White Houses is better known and is very well written, but “her” Eleanor clashed with mine. The nonfiction book, Eleanor and Hick, is also good though I have not reviewed it. In addition, there is a book of their letters– Empty Without You.


The Two Mrs. Wilsons



Woodrow Wilson nearly resigned the presidency when his beloved wife Ellen died during his time in the White House. He was a very romantic man! And, he was a very modern man. In a footnote in this book, we learn that he believed in birth control! Wilson’s note telling his wife to remember the packet of “rubbers” in his washstand may be the first reference to b.c. use by a president! While mourning the wife charged with bringing those items on vacation, Wilson met a local society lady, Edith Bolling and fell head-over-heels in love with her. They were seen in the presidential limousine driving around the countryside of Virginia and Maryland, often in “if the car be rocking, don’t go knocking” situations. I hope the chauffeur had gone off to pee or stretch his legs! Sadly, we know Wilson had a serious stroke near the end of his term and dear Edith took over the presidency more-or-less.  Ellen and Edith: Woodrow Wilson’s First Ladies by Kristie Miller–sadly this book is much more about Woodrow and politics than about his ladies.


The One True Presidential Pairing or OTPP


“I can romp thru cupid’s grove with great agility, but there is more to life than sexual combustibility” John Adams in the musical 1776.

The letters of John and Abigail Adams show a pairing so amazing it had to be divinely instigated. John is as in love with Abigail’s brains as he is with her body. He takes her seriously, often heeds her advice and always at least considers carefully what she advocates. Their loving union survived the many years of separation endured for the sake of the new nation as well as nearly every form of stress a marriage can endure except, apparently, infidelity.  They are BOTH founding “parents” of the nation and their letters are a national treasure. My Dearest Friend: Letters of John and Abigail Adams.


The New Novel


Much, perhaps too much, has been written about President John F. Kennedy’s philandering. Like the Trumps, the Kennedys also endured nasty comments about the intent of their marriage. JFK at 36 was arguably the nation’s most eligible bachelor when he married the 24-year-old Jacqueline Bouvier. Their world was not that of middle-class Americans–Jackie could not have been so naive as to think JFK would be faithful, but undoubtedly she must have hoped he would.  Like Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie had to endure all the pain that came with her husband’s roving–even enduring her first child’s stillbirth while he was away playing. The forthcoming novel (due out in March), And They Called it Camelot by Stephanie Marie Thornton, is one I’m anxious to read.



My Other Presidential Posts

My Favorite First Lady Biographies and Novels

Best Books on Presidents and First Families

Cross-Generational Romance in the White House



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Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My TBR I Predict Will 4-Star Reads


This week’s topic is Books On My TBR I Predict Will Be 5-Star Reads but I had to change that to FOUR-star reads. My 5-star rating is something rare. My TBR is made up of best-sellers, backlist titles, forgotten authors, history, and a few fairly esoteric topics, so forewarned is forearmed!


“Novel in verse” has me a little on edge, but if anyone can pull it off, Elizabeth Acevedo is the one. Here are my reviews of her previous books, The Poet X and With the Fire On High. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo will be released in early May 2020 and can already be pre-ordered on Amazon.



With such a beautiful cover, and covering Mussolini’s take-over of Ethiopia–a proving ground for weapons, tactics, and materials for World War II, I have very high hopes for this book.  The Shadow King: A Novel by Maaza Mengist.


Copy-cat cover alert!



Popular theme and colors.





While I’d honestly love a Boys in the Boat but with girls, this is a fictionalized account of America’s 1936 women’s Olympic track team is written by the author of The Other Alcott [on sale for Kindle here] to which I assigned four stars, so I hope it is great. Plus it has another superb cover. Fast Girls: A Novel by Elise Hooper releases in July, in time to read it before the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo–I’m anxious to read it.



You are going to start thinking I chose books solely by their beautiful covers! I’ve loved both of Chanel Cleeton’s previous books–Next Year in Havana and When We Left Cuba and thought the second better than the first so the third should be ….WOW! Or so I hope! The Last Train to Key West: A Novelby Chanel Cleeton.



One of the author’s previous novels, The Invisible Bridge, was so emotional that I wonder if I’ll cry reading this one? Flight Portfolio: A Novel.

From my old blog: The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer

I may be forever haunted by the characters in this breath-taking novel of Nazi-era Hungary. Andras and Klara, Tibor, Tamas, and all the others filled my heart as well as my imagination. While Hungary put off deporting its Jews, that didn’t mean those years were necessarily peaceful or safe. Klara and Andras love and live throughout the turmoil of the pre-war years in Paris, then in Budapest after Andras’ forced return. Their feelings mature and deepen. Their family grows emotionally learns to cling to the threads of their former life. The end of the war, the memories of the old days, the starting again of life–it’s all very poignant and real. This is a novel that crosses the bounds of consciousness into a novel of faith and soul and otherworldly life at its fullest. Another JUST READ IT. The Invisible Bridge: A Novel by Julie Orringer.



As the most famous Peace Corps Volunteer to ever serve in my PC country, Malawi, I have a natural interest in Theroux’s writing. His earlier works, Riding the Iron Rooster and The Great Railway Bazaar are two of my all-time favorite works of travel literature. These are sadly off-set by The Lower River: A Novel and the awful movie version of the Mosquito Coast-awful even with Sean Connery in it. I hope this book lives up to the two other travel books I loved. Given it will involve American politics of necessity, I’m anxious about my overall take on the book. On the Plain of Snakes by Paul Theroux


That’s it for this week! I couldn’t come up with the full ten.


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Top Ten Tuesday: The Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf


Math has never been my strong suit, so you get a few bonus titles today!

My Kindle Book Shelf


One of these has a review coming up very soon.


My Nonfiction Book Shelf


Some of these I’ve used in so many posts I feel like I’ve already read them!

I’ll be reviewing one of these in the next two weeks.




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Ten Books I Hope to Read in 2020 and Challenges in Which I Hope to Participate


2020 has me wanting, for once, to plan a little of my reading. There are two books to be revisited, a few classics I want to try, and some other interesting books I’ve stumbled across to be prioritized on my TBR this year. Because I constantly listen to audiobooks on my commute, I have become a consumer of the newest books. I would like to continue some of my backlist reading this year–whether or not I can get them on audio.


New Releases



The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson A new Erik Larson book–with Churchill?? Sign me up! Can’t wait till the end of February for this one to launch!



I’ve written about this one before, and the majority of it has been serialized in the Daily Mail, but I’m still very anxious to read it. Lady in Waiting by Anne Glenconner hits U.S. shelves in late March.



Anne De Courcy’s books are good–she’s one of the authors whose backlist I’m working on as well. Chanel’s Riviera will help with the interest in her I developed after reading the novel, Mademoiselle Chanel: A Novel by C.W. Gortner, in 2018.


I just got this with Prime for my Kindle and am anxious to get started! In a Field of Blue: A Novel by Gemma Liviero, releases in February.


Reading Challenges and Similar

Japanese Literature Challenge


Thanks to my dear friend Silvia Cachia for altering me to this challenge, which is hosted by Dolce Bellezza.


January Thru March 2020


A very dear friend adores this book and I want so much to enjoy it, but the first time I tried it I failed. My life was filled with angsty, super-busy teenagers back then. My life is much calmer now, so I’m giving it a much more enthusiastic try! The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki.



This book was an impulse buy for Kindle and has languished unread for years. I’m pretty sure I’ll love it, yet I’ve not sat down and read it.  The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide



Historical fiction is a great love of mine. This challenge then was made for me! It is hosted by Passages to the Past. I could easily end up being a “Prehistoric Reader” with 50+ books done but will keep my options open and only try for “20th Century Reader” with 2 books. [You can view the list of participation levels by clicking on the link.]


I, Claudius checks off another reading list for the year–that of the excellent Ambleside Online homeschool curriculum. I’ve read from it annually since finding it way back in about 2004. I, Claudius by Robert Graves.

Persephone Books



If you have not “met” Persephone Books yet, then please click on the link and visit their site–you are in for a treat! They keep alive the works of women authors of the twentieth century. I’ve found some wonderful reads here. So, this year I am renewing my pledge to read at least one of their books. This year’s choice is Miss Pettigrew Lives For the Day by Winifred Watson. [Yes, there was a movie made of this, but I haven’t seen it.]


Other Books



I found Year of Wonder by Clemency Burton-Hill via the fabulous Simply Luxurious Life blog, which I’ve read avidly for years. One of my great joys in life, until I became a parent, was classical music. When someone who will not be named broke my last item for playing recorded music that had decent speakers (no names here, of course) I gave up. I miss it too much. So, while I’m learning about playing recorded music in the modern age via laptops and tiny speakers and whatnot, this book should be a good companion. Year of Wonder by Clemency Burton-Hill.


When I first started my current job, I used the long commute to catch up on many great books I missed as a child because they were out-of-style in the 1970s. My mother introduced me to many, but for whatever reason, I did not encounter the works of Lucy Maud Montgomery until 2008–2009 when I listened to all of the Anne books. A pair of friends keep insisting I will love the Blue Castle. Recently, a blog reader also said it was excellent. It has resided on my Kindle since the day I received my first Kindle, so hopefully, this will be its year. The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery.


Here is a link to my previous post on my Winter 2020 TBR List



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