TTT: 10 Minimalist Book Covers

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

This week’s topic is a book cover freebie. I had to think a bit before I could come up with an angle. I decided to do 10 Minimalist Covers. These are all chosen from my TBR list.


Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo


When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi


Armada by Ernest Cline


Rain: A Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett


Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion by Alan BurdickI


Chicago Poems by Carl Sandburg


Pym by Mat Johnson


The Book of Nothing: Vacuums, Voids, and the Latest Ideas about the Origins of the Universe by John D. Barrow


The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene


The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

I’m afraid these images didn’t turn out as well as I hoped, but I’m not feeling very good today. Let me know which books on my list sound good to you. Happy reading!

2020 Reading Plans

stack of books
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on

Hey fellow readers! I’ve been enjoying your posts this month. I know a lot of you make these great plans and map out your reading for the month or even the whole year! While I love seeing those lists – I learn about a lot of great books that way – that just hasn’t worked for me in the past. I kept making these elaboraye, well thought out plans and then giving up about halfway through.

Now I don’t make the same mistake. But on the other hand, at the end of last year I was a little disappointed when I looked over my 2019 reads. The numbers were great, and I’ve really mastered DNF’ing. I only finish the books I really want to read.

But what about all this books I’ve been meaning to read for years? I feel like sometimes I read a book simply because it’s the closest thing when I am looking for a new book. With all that in mind, I’m devising a new 2020 Reading Challenge.

1. Only pick up books I want to read. Of course, I might decide it’s no good and put it back down, but at least it will start out as something I’m interested in.

2. Put it down when it’s not working. I will be honest about why I’m putting it down. Maybe it’s bad timing. But if I don’t like it, we’re done. Life is too short!

3. Shop local first, then library, then online. And donate 90% of them when I’m done.

4. Read off my shelves before I buy. I’m sure I will still buy books, but as long as 1 of the books I’m reading at a time is off my shelves, that’s a pretty good guide.

5. 1 ARC at time. It’s easy to get carried away with Net Galley, but I need to stop.

6. Keep the books I’m most excited about at the top of the list. This sounds obvious, but somehow they get buried. Then when I do read them I’ve lost all that excitement.books

7. Enjoy blogging. Book memes are fun, lists are fun, sometimes reviews are fun. Not if it feels like a chore, it’s fine to take a break.

There you have it! My plans for this year. You’ll note I didn’t name a single book or writer or even genre. I’m just going to enjoy reading what I love and plan it better.

10 Plus 2 Book Club Picks!

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.

Happy Tuesday! Today’s topic was too similar to one that I’ve done recently, so instead I’m going to tell you about our 10 +2 picks for book club this year. We meet once a month, so I’ve got 12 books for you today!

January was my month, and we read Good Night, Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian. I’ve already talked about this one, so I’ll just get to the books I haven’t talked about. (But I loved it.)

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. This is another book I’ve already read. I’m in 2 books clubs and both groups picked this book. That should tell you something!

Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer. I read this about 7-8 years ago and I’m looking forward to reading it again. Great YA contemporary about family and loss.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. I’m excited as I *still* haven’t read this one. I have it on audio though!

The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell. We’re doing it next month, but I haven’t started it yet. The story centers around Charlotte Bronte, but one of her modern relatives. I hear it’s good but not great. We’ll see.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. I have one friend who loves self-help books, which I hate, but this one sounds more like psychology than self-help, so I’m keeping an open mind.

Fire of the Word by Carol Pratt Bradley. A historical fiction about the rise of the Protestant movement in England.

As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner. About a family in 1918 Philadelphia. I don’t know much about this one.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I loved this. I’m looking forward to reading it again.

The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story by Hyeonseo Lee & David John. I had this one on my TBR already, so I’m excited to get to discuss it.

Out of the Easy by Ruta Supeytas. I already DNF’d this one last year and I’m *dreading* picking it up again. I doubt I’ll finish it. I’m going to count it as a win if I get a page further than last time. Heck, maybe just one page will be enough!

So that’s what we’ve got. I think it’s a good mix of fiction and some non-fiction, a little heavy on historical fiction and there’s never enough fantasy/sci fi for me. But except for the last book, they all sound like something I will at least like, if not love. I’m curious to see if any of you have read these books. If so, let me know what you thought. Happy reading!




The Bedtime Book Tag!

woman lying on bed holding book
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

I was looking for something to talk about when I remembered this book tag I wanted to do. I stole it from Emer at A Little Book Haze who got it from Megabunny Reads. If you want to give it a go, feel free!

The Questions


Just last night I was up until after 3 with The First Lord’s Fury  by Jim Butcher on audio. Anyone else notice how dangerous audio books are? You don’t realize how late it is until you’ve stayed up way past when you need to turn off the light.

woman sleeping
Photo by Ivan Oboleninov on


I don’t know about that one, but World War Z by Max Brooks invaded my mind for days (and nights). Zombies! *shudders*


The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. How do you make vampire boring? …..snooze……


Several of the Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus books by Rick Riordan! That guy knows how to do a cliffhanger!

man holding book lying on bed
Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery on


Either Persuasion by Jane Austen or The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. Love a good historical romance!


Lots of them! Sci fi, fantasy, horror, even the classics – they all sound good on paper, you would’t want to go there!


How about Lockwood & Co by Jonathan Stroud? Ghosts are mostly found at night.

woman laying on bed while reading book
Photo by Lina Kivaka on


I read a lot of series, so there are several, but I’ll go with  Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman.


My book that I’m writing!


Ha! Good luck getting under my bed! Between the dust bunnies, shoes, and cats, I’m not worried.

silver tabby cat besides person s arm
Photo by Sornbhakkanut Boonprasop on

And that’s it! Like I said, feel free to play along. I’d love to see what answers all of you come up with. Sweet dreams!

What Are You Reading?

I’ve been really busy, but I’m checking in for a minute to tell you what I’m reading.

I just finished The Bone Ships by R J Barker. It’s 5he first on a new series. I’ll do a full review soon, but if you like fantasy with a little seafaring and fantastic creatures, this should not be missed.

I’m listening to First Lord’s Fury by Jim Butcher. It’s the last book on his Codex Alera series and it’s the big final conclusion! I like the narrator.

Finally in print I’m reading Veins of Gold by Charlie N Holmberg. It’s a Western fantasy with romance. It’s fun so far! I really like the setting.

Tomorrow I am going for a facial and the float tank. It’s gonna be awesome! See you later!

Saturday Series – Flavia De Luce

Happy Saturday! Saturday Series is a weekly (or maybe not so weekly) meme where we get to share those book series that we love and adore. The ones where you get so attached to all the characters that they have your whole heart. You may have been in from book one, anxiously waiting for every single sequel. Or maybe you joined the crowd anywhere along the way and then had to catch up. It might be a series that’s not even finished yet, and you’re just counting the days for the writer to catch up. In any case, this is the place to gush all you want! Feel free to share this and the banner with any one.

The Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley

Have you tried these books yet? If not, why not? A few years ago when book 1 came out, I didn’t know what to expect, just that it featured a young girl who solved mysteries and that it was set in post WW2 England. I love that setting, but I didn’t know if I would like the girl. Turns out it’s very hard to resist Flavia de Luce.

Not that her older sisters, Daphne and Flavia (known in the English way by dorky nicknames, Daffy & Feelie) have any trouble with it. They can be truly horrible to each other. I guess I might be resentful of a such a brilliant younger sibling too. Flavia’s particular genius is chemistry.  She has an almost professional chemistry lab in the attic, where she frequently blows things up. They also live with their father and his manservant. Here’s a book description for the first book, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

It is the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath.

For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”

At first the local police have no intention of letting a girl get involved in a murder investigation. As the series continues, they begin to loosen up a bit. Flavia makes friends and her relationship with her older sisters improves a bit. But Flavia herself remains irrepressible.

This is definitely a book series that you need to read in order. There’s a lot of character growth and plot development that occurs and you wouldn’t appreciate it if you didn’t start at the beginning. I’ve read some and listened to some, and the audio version is excellent. Either way it’s a lot of fun. You might expect it to be a bit cheesy and saccharine, but there’s enough bite to prevent it from becoming too sweet.

Alan Bradley

Author Alan Bradley lived in Canada for many years but now lives in Malta. He’s received numerous awards for the series, and as far as I can tell, plans to keep writing more stories about Flavia.

Have you tried this series? What did you think? What other mystery series do you like? Let me know in the comments.


Throwback Thursday: Men at Arms

This review appeared earlier, but I am sharing it again now.


Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett

Someone has stolen something from the assassin’s guild, but they’re not saying what. The head of the Night Watch, Captain Vimes, isn’t really too worried about it – he’s more worried about his upcoming wedding/retirement. Maybe the new recruits will find out something. If an all-scale city war between the dwarves and the trolls doesn’t break out.

I enjoyed this one. It won’t make it to my list of all-time favorites, but I did like it. The Librarian makes an appearance towards the end of the book, which was fun, but it just wasn’t quite as funny as some of the others. I will say that I loved listening to these books. It made the story come alive!

Mid-Week Where Have You Been?

Hey there fellow readers! Sorry I’ve been MIA for the past week. I’ve been OBSESSED with a new computer game. It’s called Rimworld.


Here’s what the developers say:

A sci fi colony sim driven by an intelligent AI storyteller.

RimWorld follows three survivors from a crashed space liner as they build a colony on a frontier world at the rim of known space. Inspired by the space western vibe of Firefly, the deep simulation of Dwarf Fortress, and the epic scale of Dune and Warhammer 40,000.

Manage colonists’ moods, needs, individual wounds, and illnesses. Engage in small-team tactical gunplay. Fashion structures, weapons, and apparel from metal, wood, stone, cloth, or futuristic materials. Fight pirate raiders, hostile tribes, rampaging animals, giant tunnelling insects and ancient killing machines. Tame and train cute pets, productive farm animals, and deadly attack beasts. Watch colonists develop relationships with family members, lovers, and spouses. Discover a new generated world each time you play. Build colonies in the desert, jungle, tundra, and more. Manage quirky colonists with unique backstories, traits, and skills. Learn to play easily with the help of an intelligent and unobtrusive AI tutor.

I love Dwarf Fortress. It’s so complex and addictive, you don’t even notice the lack of graphics after a while. This game has all the complexity of DF, but fun graphics as well. I’ve been staying up past 2 am every night for almost a week! My colonists are so cool. We have pet alpacas and we had a war rhino! The biggest challenge is having enough food. Winter is rough. But you can trade for supplies too. There’s even a web comic devoted to the game.

258 – Gone Feral

If you’re looking for something fun that will suck you in for a month or two, this is it!





A Bad Day for Sunshine: A Review

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. My opinions are my own.


A Bad Day for Sunshine (Sunshine Vicram #1) by Darynda Jones

Book description:

Del Sol, New Mexico is known for three things: its fry-an-egg-on-the-cement summers, its strong cups of coffee—and a nationwide manhunt? Del Sol native Sunshine Vicram has returned to town as the elected sheriff–an election her adorably meddlesome parents entered her in–and she expects her biggest crime wave to involve an elderly flasher named Doug. But a teenage girl is missing, a kidnapper is on the loose, and all of it’s reminding Sunny why she left Del Sol in the first place. Add to that trouble at her daughter’s new school and a kidnapped prized rooster named Puff Daddy, and Sunshine has her hands full.

Enter sexy almost-old-flame Levi Ravinder and a hunky US Marshall, both elevens on a scale of one to blazing inferno, and the normally savvy sheriff is quickly in over her head. Now it’s up to Sunshine to juggle a few good hunky men, a not-so-nice kidnapping miscreant, and Doug the ever-pesky flasher. And they said coming home would be drama-free.

My thoughts:

A friend convinced me to ask for this book & I’m mostly glad I did. I love mysteries & this had so many elements that I loved.  It’s a great cover! Also, I love books set in the West and I love police mysteries. Sunshine is the newly elected sheriff of a small county in New Mexico. On her first day at work a teenage girl goes missing, which brings back a lot of trauma from Sunshine’s own past.

I liked the story and the characters. I loved Sunshine and her daughter Auri together. Unfortunately, there are as some weird sexual content in there that was completely out of place. The writer also seems to be trying to build on the mystery of Sunshine’s assault years prior, but it’s kinda obvious. While I enjoyed this book, I don’t think I would continue the series. I hear the author has a long and popular paranormal series that gets pretty steamy, so if you like that kind of stuff, you might want to check that out, but this book is not paranormal.

Can’t Wait for Red Hood

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.


Sorry about the crappy image resolution, but I’m typing on my tablet. Anyway, the book is Red Hood by Alana K. Arnold.


You are alone in the woods, seen only by the unblinking yellow moon. Your hands are empty. You are nearly naked.

And the wolf is angry.

Since her grandmother became her caretaker when she was four years old, Bisou Martel has lived a quiet life in a little house in Seattle. She’s kept mostly to herself. She’s been good. But then comes the night of homecoming, when she finds herself running for her life over roots and between trees, a fury of claws and teeth behind her. A wolf attacks. Bisou fights back. A new moon rises. And with it, questions. About the blood in Bisou’s past and on her hands as she stumbles home. About broken boys and vicious wolves. About girls lost in the woods—frightened, but not alone.

Elana K. Arnold, National Book Award finalist and author of the Printz Honor book Damsel, returns with a dark, engrossing, blood-drenched tale of the familiar threats to female power—and one girl’s journey to regain it.

What do you think? Are you planning on reading this one? Let me know what upcoming books are on your radar.