Top 10 Book Titles that Ask a Question

Welcome to another TTT! This week’s topic features book titles that ask questions or have question marks in them. This was trickier than I anticipated. Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. 


  1. Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? by Agatha Christie
  2. Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope
  3. Why Shoot a Butler? by Georgette Heyer
  4. Where’s My Cow? by Terry Pratchett
  5. Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers
  6. Henrietta Who? by Catherine Aird
  7. Who Killed the Curate? by Joan Coggin
  8. Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal
  9. What Are You Wearing to Die? by Patricia Sprinkle
  10. Who Is Simon Warwick? by Patricia Moyes

Most of these are mysteries, because for a long time that was almost all I read. But they are pretty good ones! What made your list? Let me know!

The Hunting Party: A Review

EVERYONE’S INVITED – EVERYONE’S A SUSPECT

If you love those Closed Room mysteries, this one will be right up your alley. It’s about a group of close friends snowed in together during a New Year’s Eve reunion. It starts out like last year’s party, but soon things are going wrong and suddenly the gloves are off, the secrets are being spilled, and someone is dead. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, had a motive. It’s hard to root for anyone in particular when they are all kinda to SUPER unlikeable. But it was impossible to put this one down! I had to get the next book by Lucy Foley immediately and it was just as good. I think I have a new guilty pleasure. Just a warning – strong language and sexual situations are everywhere in this book, bullying and drug use. So check for trigger warnings before you dive in. But I ate it up. Just the kind of summer read I was craving. 4 stars.

Currently Reading

Hey there fellow readers! Hope your reading this week has been lots of fun. I was able to finish a couple I’ve been working on for a while, so I’m pretty happy.

Finished

A Dream so Dark by L L McKinney. This one was not quite as good as the first. I found the plot to be harder to follow and the number of characters just kept growing and getting more confusing. However, I did think the plot moved in a couple of directions that I thought were fresh and unexpected and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the next book, which isn’t supposed to be out until 2023!! That’s going to mess me up. I’ll forget everything by then. This book counts for #READPOC2021.

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig. This book was described to me as time travel. It’s not. It’s about a group of people who don’t age, or at least, age very very slowly. The story moves back and forth through time, but always during one man’s lifetime. The question it asks is, if you could life forever, what do you live for? I enjoyed it, but I’ve enjoyed everything the author has written.

That Barbara! by Wilma Thompson. I’ve had this book since I was a kid, and I decided to read it one more time before getting rid of it. I’m not sure why I liked it so much. It’s definitely problematic now. But I think I liked the way Barbara was brave when she was left to babysit and a big snow storm moved in at the farm, cutting them off from neighbors and knocking out the phone lines. Still, I wouldn’t recommend it to a modern reader. This counts as a Children’s Historical Fiction Challenge, set in the 1920s.

How the Unicorn was Born, Some Days, Julian and Macy: A Very Brave Night, The Snow Dancer, Hudson and Talullah Take Sides – all free Kindle picture books I read to boost my Good Reads challenge numbers. The Snow Dancer was the best. The others were unremarkable.

Steelheart (The Reckoners #1) by Brandon Sanderson. This was a reread, so the twists weren’t really surprising and the writing wasn’t as good as in say Skyward. But I did enjoy the worldbuilding and I liked David, the main character. I will read the next book, Mitosis #1.5 and finish the series.

Hope you have a great weekend and happy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

10 Books I Added Because of Book Tube

This week’s prompt was a little confusing, so I decided to refine it into something I could use. Here are 10 books I added, 5 I read and 5 on my TBR, because of Book Tube.

Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Smith. I thought it was amazing, full of unexpected twists. I loved the solid friendships between the girls. I heard that book 2 was a real let down though, so I may just stop here.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells (Murderbot #1) I loved this one! I finally got book 2 from the library to read this week and I can’t wait. Such a unique protagonist. If you like sci fi you have to give this series a try.

Among Others by Jo Walton. Proof that not all recommendations are going to be hits. This one was good, but not great. I thought I would love it, but something was missing. Still, I am going to give the author another try eventually.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. To be fair, EVERYONE recommended this one. And you were all right. It was amazing.

Lumberjanes: Vol. 1 Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson. I thought this was fun, but not my favorite graphic novel. Still, very cute.

Unnatural Magic by CM Waggoner. I gotta be honest – it’s mostly the cover. OK, the premise is very intriguing as well. But that cover! Come on!

The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter. I’ve heard great things about this series, so I’ve got my fingers crossed that this will be one I will enjoy. I love dragons!

The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall. In one way, it doesn’t sound like my kind of book, but then again, I like to be surprised. I’m hoping this one is a good surprise.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. (I could also add Circe here. I need to get with it.)

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. Honestly, this is reaching the point of overhype. But like I remind myself, that doesn’t mean it’s not good.

Migraine – what are you reading?

I’m sorry I’ve been behind this summer. I’ve been really working on writing and my blog has been suffering. This weekend I’m fighting a migraine and not getting anything done.

Here’s what I’ve read lately.

The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham. Highly recommended fantasy in The Dagger & the Coin series. Full of unique characters and plot points. I love the bank/economic subplot. You don’t often see that in fantasy and it’s a shame, I think. Cithrin is our wannabe banking powerhouse but she has a lot to learn. Then there’s the tyrant Geder Palliako. He’s the most mild- mannered madman you could imagine. And now he’s regent to the young king. I can’t see that going well.

Mr. Pickwick’s Guide to Marriageable Young Ladies by Jill M. Beene. A Regency romp of a romance with a titled hero and poor but virtuous heroine who gets kidnapped at one point. Lots of fun but not realistic in the slightest.

Between Decisions by WR Gingell from the urban fantasy series set in Tasmania. #8 out of 10 in the series and time to get serious. So good and I loved it all. Pet is still great and the vampire is definitely kick ass, but this one ripped my heart out and stamped in into pieces on the ground. I’m still in shock.

So how about you? What have you been reading? I’m trying to finish A Dream So Dark, but my eyes can’t focus. I wish I had it on audio. Anyhow, happy reading! Migraines suck!

Top 8 Books I Forgot I Owned

Top 10 Tuesday! Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I started unpacked more stuff in storage and it’s like the second half of everything. Except the house was full before we went back to storage; we just needed one or two more things. Oops. We got A LOT of stuff.

  1. Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel. I thought I got rid of this one. Guess not.
  2. The River of Doubt by Candice Millard. This one was my Mom’s. She really liked Teddy Roosevelt.
  3. Dorothy L. Sayers: The Complete Stories. An anthology of her short stories. I’m not even sure where this is any more! Do I still want it? Maybe not.
  4. The Red Right Hand by Joel Townsley Rogers. Might be terrifying, might be dated. Something about some newlyweds and a hitchhiker.
  5. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. I can’t remember if we read this for book club or not. Why did I keep it? I don’t know!
  6. Ice Station Zebra by Alistair MacLean. I’m not sure I do still own this one – I get it mixed up with another of his polar books set during World War II. I read one of them and it was really good and I think the other was a thriller (not about the war) and it wasn’t as good.
  7. Inspector Ghote’s First Case by HRF Keating. This one was buried under a bunch of papers. I found it when we packed and I read it then. It was good. I wish I had read it sooner.
  8. The Asylum by John Harwood. A friend sent me this to read and I have to admit it took me at least 3 years to get to it! So embarrassing.

That actually all I can come up with today. I bet I find a couple more as soon as I unpack! But I can’t unpack the rest of the boxes until I get a bookshelf! Oh, the pain! I’m sure you all know my struggle. It’s real, all right?

Dialogue Errors

I found this here: https://www.writerswrite.co.za/10-dialogue-errors-writers-should-avoid/. Check out their page – it looks really helpful. As I’m writing more, these are worth gold. Which one of these irritates you the most? I think avoiding “said” is really annoying. I had a series I was really enjoying until I realized that the author NEVER used the verb said. After that I couldn’t even focus on the story – I was too busy wondering was stupid synonym he was going to use next. Chortle, chuckle, breathed, whisper, reply, answer, agree – he just swallowed a thesaurus. Why did he think that made him a better writer? Said is a perfectly acceptable word! Anyway, have a great weekend and Happy Mother’s Day!

Book Review: A Sharpened Axe

A Sharpened Axe by Jill M. Beene

Book description:

A cursed nation. An unlikely heroine. Deadly stakes. This love could kill…

A jaded fae princess and a few words whispered in the dark…that’s all it took for the prosperous country of Leiria to fall under a curse. Disease, famine and calamity followed. Fifteen years later, Samiris is one of the Chosen, a group of young women brought to the palace to try and break the curse. But if they fail, one of them will die.

Unlike the rest of the girls, who see living in the palace with the Crown Prince as an exciting privilege, Samiris is indifferent to the social whirl and offended by the sumptuous wealth present in the capital. She just wants to go home to take care of her sick father and younger sister.

Can Samiris survive the social intrigue at court, deadly plots against the Chosen, a seemingly unloveable Crown Prince, and a stubborn adversary to break the curse?

A Sharpened Axe is a stand-alone, young adult fairy tale retelling with intrigue and romance, for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Holly Black, and Brigid Kemmerer. If you like a strong female lead, fast paced action, and slow burn romance, then you’ll love this exciting book!


My thoughts:

I admit, I was partly drawn in by that cover, partly by the title, and partly by the book description. It didn’t sound like every other fairy tale I had read. I was expecting a little bit of Red Riding Hood, but instead it’s closer to Beauty and the Beast, but then again, not in the way you would expect it at all.

Samiris is not like the other girls at court. She’s living with her father and younger sister and no other servants for a very long time. She wears breeches and hunts in the forest. She’s perfectly happy with a simple life. She has no desire to marry for love or become a belle of the ball. But once you’re Chosen, you have no say in the matter. Your life is literally on the line.

Samiris is kind of a brat at the beginning, but she does try to make friends. She’s just not at all suited for court life. She is, however, loyal and brave and smart. She goes around looking for new solutions to a very old problem. And she picks up not one, but two suitors along the way.

I loved this book. I read it in one sitting and it was very satisfying. It was a Kindle Unlimited recommendation for me and it’s funny because I read something else by the author and it was absolutely nothing like this one. Props to Jill M. Beene for trying more than one genre.


About Jill M Beene

Jill Beene is the author of the Elayna Miller series, the YA fantasy novel A Sharpened Axe, and the historical romance novel Mr. Pickwick’s Guide to Marriageable Young Ladies. She loves writing, coffee, and a good margarita. She lives in California with her husband and their slobbery English Mastiff.

Happy Weekend!

Hey folks! Ready for the weekend and a new month! I am sorry I’ve been neglecting my blog, but I’ve been busy with writing other things.

I did want to report on my Spring TBR . I made pretty dismal progress so far, but spring isn’t over. The only book I finished was The Toll-Gate by Georgette Heyer, which I talked about here. But I still have all of next month to get to the rest of the books. I’m currently obsessed with Marvel fan fiction, but I’m also reading A Dream so Dark by L L McKinney and it’s a killer so far. If you haven’t started this series, what are you waiting for?

Besides reading, we’re planning to cook out and go out for ice cream. The weather is great. I’m still recovering from surgery, but feeling much better. I’m just in the “can’t lift anything heavy, can’t do anything strenuous” stage of recovery. Oh, but I got a facial yesterday and I feel so pampered! My face feels great!

See you next week!

I’m back!

Wassup! I’m back! It’s been a rough week. But I’m recovering nicely at last and I’m back to tell you what I read while I rested. Because what else am I gonna do, right? Some of these were read in the days leading up to the surgery when we were in quarantine. We were smart enough to stop by the library first, but then not smart enough to actually READ said books when we had nothing to do. I mean, I read a couple, but then I didn’t fancy most of the books I had actually checked out. Disappointing.

Library (winners to losers)

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei – YA Graphic Novel – Powerful – 5 stars

The Program (Tim Rackley #2) by Gregg Hurwitz, reread – thriller – Trigger Warnings – 4 stars

Cold Copper (Age of Steam #3) by Devon Monk – YA Steampunk – Just left me hanging – 2 stars

Turns out the last book in this series never got published, because the series got dropped. So if you want to read it, I’d just read book 1, Tin Swift, which was amazing, and stop there.

Audiobook

House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones – children’s/YA fantasy – 4 stars

I love this author. I was so sad when she passed, but she left a great body of work behind. Here’s a fun book with lots of magic and a cat and absolutely NO ROMANCE.

More Books

The Toll-Gate by Georgette Heyer. Reread. Needed a happy read after some disappointing ones (see below). This one delivered for sure. 5 stars!

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. One of her very best. Great to read it again. I read it for a challenge category – a book made into a movie or TV show. Look for the one with David Suchet. Highly recommended. 5 stars

Sister of the Chosen One by Colleen Oakes & Erin Armknecht. YA Speculative Fiction. This was free from Kindle Unlimited and honestly, that’s why I got it, but it was just so dang good! 4.5 stars. Slow start, I thought, mostly because I didn’t like the characters in the beginning. But give it time and it gets terrific!

Tournament of Ruses, (Ruses #2) by Kate Stradling. Very nice follow up to a debut that needed it. 4.25 stars.

Rock, Paper, Scissors: Game Theory in Everyday Life by Len Fisher. Very readable and so enlightening. 4 stars. Recommended.

Lungdon (Book #3) by Edward Carey. Boo. After all the work I did to get a freaking copy of this book, it really let me down. Biggest disappointment of the year so far. It’s not the worst book of the year, but after loving books 1 & 2, I expected so much more. This was just sloppy and disorganized. New characters were just dropped in with no explanation and old characters disappeared with only a sentence. I was in suspense the whole book, but the resolution was absolutely not worth the wait. And what was that ending? I’m just so irritated. If it had been an Audible book, I would get my credit back, but it was just a Kindle download. I really have to take back my recommendation for the whole series now. But maybe the author will write something better next time.


And in other news, I am up to walking, but no lifting, and my cholesterol is down, my weight is down, but sadly, my a1c (diabetes) is up. But I’m still pretty happy with the general trend and I’m going to work on it.