Top Ten Tuesday: Bookstore Bucket List

For that Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

October 16: Bookstores/Libraries I’ve Always Wanted to Visit

I’m only counting the ones I’ve never been to! Someday I want to go on a worldwide tour of bookshops. Maybe I should set up a GoFundMe…



  1. Shakespeare and Company (Paris, France)


2. Mr. B’s Emporium (Bath, UK)


3. City Lights Books (San Francisco, CA)


4. Honesty Bookshop (Hay on Wye, Wales)


5. Libreria Acqua Alta (Venice, Italy)


6. Livraria Lello (Porto, Portugal)


7. Librarie Avant-Garde (Nanjing, China)


8. El Ateneo (Buenos Aires, Argentina)


9. The Bookworm (Beijing, China)


10. Persephone Books (London, UK)


Have you been to any of these? Did I miss any that I need to add to my itinerary on my fantasy tour?


Research When You’re Writing Fantasy

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Photo by Pixabay on

A few months ago I  was talking to someone about writing. He asked what genre I wrote and I said “Fantasy.” He said “That’s nice. At least you don’t have to worry about research.” Well, that would be false. All writers are different of course, and I can’t speak for anyone else, but I definitely do research as a fantasy writer.

When I first started writing Beautiful, I was just throwing my imaginings on the page, and I hadn’t really done much research or preparation. But when I realized that I was writing a variant of Beauty and the Beast, I started to do some research. Specifically, I started with Google.  I think I literally looked up “beauty and the beast story variations” found some interesting articles. Some sites I found particularly helpful were Pook Press, Jenni of Shalott and SurLaLune Fairy Tales. I read up on some animal bridegroom tales from other cultures.  I wanted to see what themes emerged in common among these stories and where they differed. I also read a lot of existing retellings. I discuss some favorites and some observations in this post. I also read a lot of contemporary discussions on the story, including popular claims that it’s about Stockholm Syndrome (here’s my rebuttal if you’re interested) and I decided that I wanted to write something in which there weren’t any real captives. I also watched a lot of film versions of the story. For about a year I lived I Beauty and the Beast themed life, and I reflected a bit about the story and why it appealed to me. I wasn’t sure how much of this would end up making it into my book, but it was interesting food for thought.

bonfire photo

Photo by Jens Mahnke on

Another layer of research came as I was revising. I wanted the book to be set in a sort of generic “past” rather than a specific time and place.  But I still needed to look up things that the characters do. For example, in one scene, Finn, a wealthy, privileged character who has always had servants to do things for him, is on his own in the wilderness.  He must build a fire. In the first draft I brushed over this, because I was more interest in getting everything down. But as I revised I had to get more specific.  As far as I’m concerned, building a fire involves striking a match, so that took research. In another scene, the heroine, Eimear, is stung by a jellyfish. Fortunately, that’s never happened to me, so I needed to do research to find out what that looks and feels like, and how it’s treated. Google was again, helpful here. I have no idea how writers did research in the pre-Google days!


Another element of research come in as I was building my fantasy world. The courts are based on a classification system derived from Scottish folklore. But within those environments I included other classifications from William Butler Yeats and Katherine Marie Briggs. I also included creatures from different folkloric traditions. One book that I used a lot was The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures, which is a general A-Z guide to creatures from different traditions and systems of mythology. Once I found things I wanted to include I took to the internet again for more research.

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The finished product. Buy it! Read it! Review it!

My research process for my second novel has been similar-ish with one major difference. The first time around there was a lot of “how to” research involving publishing, and a lot of trial and error. I’m hoping that this time around will involve a little less error!

Top Ten Tuesday: Longest Books


For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday

October 9: Longest Books I’ve Ever Read

In most cases, these are based on the edition that I read/own.

51v43macoil-_ac_us218_1. Clarissa by Samuel Richardson (1534 pages)- I read this one in college. I enjoyed the class where I read this, and I don’t remember it being quite this long, but we read a different edition, so it’s possible it was slightly adapted.




51autt1ny5l-_ac_us218_2. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (1488 pages)- In my high school French class we read an adaptation of this (like, a major adaptation. The book we read had about 120 pages. It was really more of a synopsis written in French!) and I read the whole brick (er… book) in college. I definitely think it’s a beautiful book but I could have done with less exploration of the sewer system in 19th century Paris.


51j4urrkj3l-_ac_us218_3. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (1296 pages)- This was another college read. My professor called Tolstoy a “great writer who could have used a great editor.” I think that sums up my stance on it!




51qrndx-oxl-_ac_us218_4. Shogun by James Clavell (1152 pages) I read this in high school and really enjoyed it. It was an interesting depiction of a European encountering an entirely different kind of life in feudal Japan. From what I understand now, this had some issues with historical accuracy, but it was still enjoyable.



51aradik9al-_ac_us218_5. Sarum by Edward Rutherford (1059 pages) I remember reading this book as a teenager. I liked parts of it and disliked other parts. I know it was about Stonehenge (and England in general) and it told different stories set there over different time periods. But I couldn’t tell you anything about any of those stories.



519tffz6szl-_ac_us218_6. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke  (1024 pages) I definitely wanted to like this book more than I did. I loved the idea of a fictional “study” of magic in 19th century England. I liked the story of the rivalry between two magicians. But ultimately, this felt like a chore to read.



419c5syx7xl-_ac_us218_7. The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon (1008 pages) The Outlander series is made up of long books, but the fifth is definitely the longest. Or maybe it felt longer because it wasn’t as fast moving as some of the other books in the series. A lot of character development happens here, but it’s primarily a transitional book. It serves to bring the characters relationships to where they need to be for book six.


51polcsfrl-_ac_us218_8. Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor (986 pages) I remember a few scenes from this book vividly but a lot of it I remember as a sort of montage. I read it in college, I think. Amber was a compelling character and the book definitely left me wondering what would become of her in the future.



51vxh2jgv8l-_ac_us218_9. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (960 pages) I think of Scarlett O’Hara as sort of Amber’s (see above) literary sister. Both are determined, glamorous, selfish, and scandalous. Both books also tell long stories that ultimately leave the reader in a place where we’re still wondering what will happen next to the characters. I suppose it’s a feat to write a book that’s nearly 1000 pages long, and leave readers wanting more!


51an8oy5w4l-_ac_us218_10. Hawaii by James Michener (937 pages) This book tells the story of several families over the course of Hawaii’s history. I remember some of the later portions but the earlier ones don’t come to mind at all. It’s been a long time since I read this though.





I’ve Been…

woman writing on a notebook beside teacup and tablet computer

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on

  • Adding some extras to the “Books” section on my website. Right now it’s just a couple of character letters written by Eimear and Finn, the protagonists of Beautiful.  I’ve also been working on some letters for my next book. I’m hoping to have some news about that soon!
  • Trying to sell books. Figuring out the publicity and marketing angle of publishing is tricky for me because it’s not something I’m comfortable with. Part of it is the fact that I’m not an aggressive salesperson in general. Part of it is the fact that I’m still working on building confidence as a writer. I think/hope that as that happens, the sales side of things will get easier.
  • Working on book #2. It’s set in the same universe as Beautiful but it’s a stand alone. In it, I combine Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen with some Japanese mythology, as well as some of the Celtic folklore in Beautiful. I’m almost done with my first draft and I’m aiming to have it ready to publish by Summer 2019.
  • woman jogging on grey pavement beside lawn

    Photo by Luka Siemionov on

  • Loving the Charity Miles App. Basically, it’s an app that logs your movement (walking, running, biking, etc) and each mile you move, helps to earn money for your chosen charity. The money comes from corporate sponsors who are repurposing their media budgets for social good. The app gives them premium advertising so they see a high return on their investment. You can choose from over forty charities that help children, veterans, animals, the environment, education, and scientific research, and you can change your charity at any time. In the past week, I’ve logged about thirty miles for She’s the First, an organization that fights gender inequality around the world through education. Next week I’ll walk/run for a different charity. Basically, it’s a chance to improve your own health as well as help others, and I encourage anyone and everyone to try it.
  • Livid and saddened by the situation in the US.  I don’t want to talk about it too much in this post, but this past week has been really overwhelming at times. I’ve been reflecting a lot on the state of the nation and how we can heal. Maybe I’ll post about that at some point soon. For now, I can only hope that this spurs everyone who has had similar feelings to vote next month.

Ink Blotted Beka Blog Tour Interview

INk blotted beka

One of the nice things about being part of the indie writing/blogging scene is finding out about all the amazing work being done by artists of all kinds. Case in point, Beka, who does character portraits and just started a business.

Beka hails from the Great White North (aka Canada), where she reads, dreams, and doodles away. She loves bringing characters from the written page to the visual eye, and dabbles in pencil and coloured pencil and the occasional watercolor. Her dream is to one day get into digital art and save some trees.

You can check out her work on Instagram and Facebook, and commission a work of art. It’s great for writings to be able to literally see their characters in this way. She’s doing a giveaway of a free character portrait here. Beka was kind enough to chat with me a bit about her work:

  1. What made you embrace character portraits as your focus?


Over the years, my love of drawing people specifically really grew. I’m not a fan of backgrounds–I rather detest them, actually, though I will do my best when called to. I have other artist friends whose backgrounds are phenomenal. But I enjoy character portraits–expressions, clothing styles, etc. They are fun for me, and I’ve loved seeing how authors react to my interpretations.


  1. Do you have any specific goals for your business?


Not at the moment, no. I’ve struggled in the past couple of years with confidence; part of my decision to open this business was to give myself some sense of validation. So I would like to strengthen my artistic skills, get better at what I do, meet new author/artist friends, and perhaps make a bit of money along the way 😉


  1. What influences your choices to draw a character in a certain way?


I try my hardest to fit to details found in the book, but sometimes I like to be a bit wild based on my interpretation of a character. For example, in my portrait of Isabella from WR Gingell’s MASQUE, I gave Isabella red nails, because I imagined she’s the sort of character who might joke that it was the blood of her enemies. I like to take my fan “head canon” sometimes and weave it into the actual description of a character from a book. This is partly for my own enjoyment, partly to see if an author picks up on my own little inside joke. XD Because I’m weird.

WR Gingell Fan Art 3 - Isabella

Isabella character portrait from WR Gringell’s Masque

  1. Is this harder or easier to do if a book doesn’t have a vivid physical description?


Much harder! I’ll usually message an author, if I know them personally, to give me an idea of the character’s ethnic background, physical characteristics, etc. if I’m working on drawing their characters.

Please check out Beka’s work and support an emerging artist! What character would you like to see a portrait of?

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I’ve Met


For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

This week I decided to do a little twist. Instead of

October 2: Authors I’d Love to Meet

I’ll be doing Authors I’ve Met. I’m leaving off most of the ones who I just got an autograph from at a book signing, and sticking with the ones with whom I interacted in some way, even briefly.

Gail Carson Levine

Gail Carson Levine with my student teaching class

1. Gail Carson Levine- As a student teacher, my fifth-grade students read Gail Carson Levine’s novel Dave At Night. We were paired with a nonprofit that connected authors with classes reading their books Ms. Levine came to our class twice. She read the students work and took their questions. She also gave them a class set of her books and the kids all loved her. They wanted to read everything she’s ever written!


Me and Kate Forsyth hanging out






2. Kate Forsyth– The connection was a bit random. I had a good friend in Australia who initially recommended Kate Forsyth’s books to me. When she had a US tour, I didn’t see any appearances near me, so I asked about it on twitter. She replied saying that she’d had an appearance near me, but it was canceled. She’d still be in town though so if I knew of some sort of literary event where she’d be welcome, she’d be happy to come. I asked her to come to my writing group and she did. Actually, we’d all planned to meet at a coffee house that I was not aware turned into a bar at 6pm! So we went to a nearby diner and she answered our questions about writing and publishing. She was lovely and encouraging and she signed my copies of Bitter Greens and The Wild GirlThe Wild Girl.


A scan of the article about Joyce Carol Oates that my classmate and I collaborated on








3. Joyce Carol Oates– My freshman year of college, Joyce Carol Oates came to speak to one of the classes about her book Faithless. The theater department also did a staged production of a play that she’d written called Dr. Magic. The morning she was supposed to come, someone from the student newspaper asked if anyone in our class was interested in joining her and Ms. Oates in an interview. I quickly said, “yes, please!” We only had a couple of minutes to speak to her, and I was so nervous that I completely lost the ability to say anything remotely intelligent!







4. Bradford Morrow– In college, I took a class called Innovative Contemporary Fiction. Well, there was sort of a loose definition of  “contemporary” since books from the 1960’s and 70’s were on the syllabus. But Bradford Morrow, author of a number of books including The Prague Sonata and The Forgers was the professor. For me, he is best remembered as the man who “introduced” me to Angela Carter. I put the word in quotes because really he introduced me to her work. The actual Angela Carter was long dead by the time I took the class.






5. Peter Sourian– My freshman year of college I took a class called Cultural Reportage with Peter Sourian, author of Miri, At the French Embassy in Sofia, and Three Windows on Summer among others. The class focus on essays and artistic criticism. My senior year I finally got up the nerve to apply for a fiction workshop with him, and I got in! He was really funny, endearingly cranky and totally irreverent. Sadly he passed away about a year ago at the age of 84.






6. Libba Bray– Many years ago, I stumbled across, Libba Bray’s gothic, feminist, YA fantasy A Great and Terrible Beauty and thought “finally,  a YA author who gets me!” I’ve devoured her work since then, from the conclusion of the “Gemma Doyle” trilogy to the bizarre brilliance of Going Bovine and the madly satirical Beauty Queens.  A few years ago, I saw that she was giving a reading at a literary bar not too far from me, so I headed over. She read from her work in progress and I spoke to her for a few minutes afterward.  She was pretty much exactly as I imagined she would be: silly, self-deprecating and brilliant.


7. Mary Jane Clark– In high school, I was selected as the “Enthusiastic Reader” for my class. No one was very shocked. The Enthusiastic Readers in each class came together for a lunch and a talk with an author. That author was in this case, Mary Jane Clark. Who is often confused with Mary Higgins Clark, a fellow mystery writer, and Mary Jane’s ex-mother-in-law. She talked a lot about the process of writing a book, and let us know that you don’t have to be “organized” to do it. For me, that was a revelation, because while I’m very organized in some ways, in other ways, not so much! We all got a free copy of her debut novel Do You Want to Know A Secret, and she raffled off some copies of her later books. I won a copy of Do You Promise Not to Tell.


8. Jennifer Weiner- After work, one day, a few years ago, I stopped in the library on my way home. There was a crowd and I discovered that author, Jennifer Weiner was giving a talk and a reading. I’d enjoyed several of her books (In Her Shoes, Good  In Bed, Little Earthquakes) so I took a seat and listened. At one point she told a story about her daughter’s pre-school teacher sending home her daughter’s dirty underwear after an “accident” and she wondered why the teacher thought that she’d want it when she was just going to throw it out. People laughed and she moved on. After the talk, I went up to her and told her that I was a teacher and in a similar situation, I’d been told I had to return the underwear. She kind of chuckled and thanked me for the explanation and on my way home, all I could think of was what possessed me to say that of all things!


9. Russell Banks– In the Innovative Contemporary Fiction class mentioned above, Russell Banks was a guest who came to discuss his novel, The Sweet Hereafter. He spoke a bit about the film adaptation, but what I found most interested was that the book was inspired by the story of the Pied Piper. The novel, about a town where a school bus crash kills everyone on board, is a contemporary vision of Hamelin, a town that has also lost its children.

UK - 2007 Edinburgh International Book Festival51fo7tiwxcl-_sx354_bo1204203200_

10. Edmund White– White came to talk to my Innovative Contemporary Fiction class as well.  He’s written novels, plays, and nonfiction, and is recognized as being one of the founders of the LGBTQ literary movement. We read his novel, Fanny, in the class. The novel was about the relationship between two nineteenth-century female writers. Interestingly, he said that some of the best research that he did was reading “trashy” nineteenth-century novels. The classics, the ones we read and study, are classics because they’re still relevant. They deal with the human condition, and psychology, thoughts, and feelings are as meaningful today as they were 200 years ago. But “trashy” novels that deal with things like fashion, trends,  etc can give you information about the slang of a period, or what people wore or how it smelled. I thought that was interesting.

Persephone Readathon #2: Saplings


I finished Saplings by Noel Streatfeild, my book for Jessie@DwellinPossibility‘s Persephone Readathon #2. I definitely recommend it.

My Thoughts

The Wilshires are a happy, wealthy British family. When WWII begins, Alex, the father, anticipates the Blitz and sends his four children out of London. The two youngest go to their grandparents in the country, while the older two attend boarding school. Alex’s wife, Lena, is emotionally needy and refuses to leave her husband, who must remain in London for work. So begins six years of upheaval for the Wiltshire children. Practical necessities and emergencies mean that they are moved from one school to another, from their grandparents to the home of various aunts and uncles, to their parents home and back again. Things get worse after Alex is killed by a bomb. Lena isn’t able to provide a steady foundation on which the family can regroup, so they falter in their own ways.

Despite all this volatility, the Wiltshires are lucky. We have all heard horror stories of children ending far, far worse during WWII. The Wiltshires have the financial resources to ensure that there is always a roof over their heads. They have an extended family of deeply flawed people, but also people who genuinely care about their welfare. The unasked, and unanswered question is, without these resources, what would become of these children? And are all of these resources enough to protect them?


As a teacher, I’ve seen that one of the most important things that children need is stability and consistency. Without these things, they feel uncertain and insecure. They might become anxious or begin to act out in different ways. We see all of that with the Wiltshire children. The oldest, Laurel, doesn’t particularly shine in any one area, which makes her self-conscious. She wants to be someone’s priority as she enters adolescence. Tony idolizes his father, and in his absence, he becomes withdrawn and sullen. Kim takes after his mother in his desire to be admired and is often unable to see beyond his own needs and desires. Tuesday, the youngest, is continuously anxious and unsure of herself and her surroundings.

Interestingly this book was written in 1945 when the field of child psychology was still in its infancy. Psychologists were just starting to identify the fact that childhood is a  series of distinct developmental stages that each have its own needs. When these needs aren’t met children’s well being suffers just as much as it would if their physical needs were ignored. At the same time, children have a natural resilience. This is true of the Wiltshire children, who draw strength and support from various sources throughout the book.

I’m familiar with this information from several years of working with children as well as several graduate level courses in developmental psychology. The content of those courses came from sixty years of post-WWII research and study on the part of child psychologists. Noel Streatfield had access to none of it when she wrote this book, because it hadn’t been done yet. She had an intuitive understanding of the needs and feelings of children and the consequences when these needs aren’t met and acknowledged. That allowed her to write this perceptive book with psychological accuracy. The last half-century of research has proven her correct.

A Few Persephone Challenges:

Quote This: Share a quote from your current read.

Two stand out:

Alex did not answer. Every fibre of the Colonel must be protesting. Odd how, in a world where such unnameable horrors were commonplace, a simple thing like taking his home from an old man could still wring your heart.


Heaps of children grew up without much attention and turned out alright in the end … Heaps did, but were they the Laurels, Tonys and Tuesdays?  She herself had grown up all right with very little attention, and little of it wise. All right but bruised. The Wiltshires were having a harder upbringing than she had. If only bruising was all they got out of it. What if they grew mis-shapen?

In Six Words: Describe your current Persephone read in 6 words.

psychological, nuanced, painful, humorous, bittersweet, perceptive

Contemporary Pairing: Pair a contemporary book with a Persephone title

Potentially interesting pairings that are also about growing up amidst conflict and loss.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini- About childhood in war-torn Afganistan

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins- About growing up in a violent dystopian future

Top Ten Tuesday: Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday

September 25: Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read

There are a lot of books by favorites by authors that I still haven’t read, because when I love an author I’m usually able to read their books faster than they can write them (go figure!) So I can end up saving books to hold me over until the author’s next release. That said, these are the titles that come to mind:

51qnu73oy4l-_ac_us218_1. The Haunting of Maddy Claire by Simone St. James- I discovered Simone St. James last spring and I quickly devoured her other 5 titles; all gothic mystery romances. Most are historical. This looks like it’s in that vein but I’m trying to hold off on reading it! If I do cave in and go for it, October seems like a good time to read it.


336472091 2. Beauty in Thorns by Kate Forsyth– I love Kate Forsyth’s fairy tale inspired historical fiction like Bitter Greens, The Wild Girl, and The Beast’s Garden. This Sleeping Beauty inspired story is set among the Pre-Raphaelite circle of artists and poets. I haven’t read it for several reasons. First is because it’s not available in the US at the moment, but I have an Aussie friend who can hook me up if I really want. My other reason is just to have something to read in a desperate moment before her next book comes out.

51hl6oq7e4l-_ac_us218_3. Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier– I love Juliet Marillier’s historical fantasy novels. This is the third in her Blackthorn and Grim trilogy. I want to see how everything is resolved. However, Marillier’s next book isn’t due until summer 2019 so I feel like I should hold off until close to then.

51sfno9ygsl-_ac_us218_4. Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahearn– There are actually a couple of Ahearn titles that I still haven’t read. I chose to go with this one because of those it’s got the highest rating. But I also need to read The Year I Met You and The Marble Collector.

51do33s3al-_ac_us218_5. The Night Watch by Sarah Waters– I still have to read The Paying Guests also, but I have a copy of this sitting on my shelf, so I should probably read this one first.

51i5s4yjhyl-_ac_us218_6. The Punishment She Deserves by Elizabeth George–  This is the latest Lynley and Havers novel. I’ve felt like the last few have been sort of convoluted. I’ll see how this goes and decided to continue with the series or not.


7.  River Road by Carol Goodman– I really enjoy Carol Goodman’s literary mysteries. I still haven’t read this one, or her latest, The Other Mother.

51o1uxkkkl-_ac_us218_8. A Question of Trust by Penny Vincenzi– I think that this is one of the few Vincenzi novels that I haven’t read yet, but it’s hard to say for sure because her books are often released with different titles and covers in the US and the UK.

51gfnebrhsl-_ac_us218_9. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie– There are actually a few other Adichie books that I haven’t read yet either, but once again, in this case, a copy of Purple Hibiscus is sitting patiently on my shelf…


Persephone Readathon #2: Saplings by Novel Streatfield


My read for Jessie@ DwellinPossibility‘s Persephone Readathon #2 is Saplings by Noel Streatfield. I loved Noel Streatfield’s “Shoes” books as a kid (Ballet Shoes, Dancing Shoes, Theatre Shoes,  etc).  Interestingly, Saplings starts off as an inversion of the scenario that begins Streatfield’s most famous children’s book, Ballet Shoes. That book features several orphans come together to form a family unit that benefits economically from their talents. Saplings, on the other hand, begins with a happy upper-middle-class family on vacation at the seaside circa 1939. But while the setting and the characters appear idyllic, cracks soon begin to show. Mom is beautiful but narcissistic. She sees her children as “charming decorations.” She enjoys them when they reflect well on her, but she leaves that actual work of childrearing to her husband, the nanny and the governess. Still, as long as they receive love and affection, as well as rules and structure from adults in their lives, the children are happy. Dad is a loving family man who is proud of his four children. But it soon becomes clear that he’s planned this holiday because he has a strong sense of foreboding. He knows England will soon be at war with Germany and if/when that happens these family beach vacations will be a thing of the past. He plans for the safest and least disruptive ways to handle that eventuality. Though they begin as a happy family unit, we see the seeds of that disintegration early on.


Cover painting: WVS Clothing Exchange by Evelyn Gibbs, 1943
© Imperial War Museum

Throughout the readathon there are optional challenges which you can read about here:

Photogenic Persephones: Share a photo of your Persephone collection and/or your readathon TBR stack.

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Beautiful Endpapers: Show us a photo of your current book’s endpapers/your favorite Persephone endpapers/or design your own endpapers.


A 1938 fabric by Marion Dorn was chosen for Saplings. It is called ‘Aircraft’ and shows pairs of stylised pigeons in flight on a background of natural linen. It contains the imagery of aircraft being readied for war yet of birds freely in flight.

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall 2018 TBR


For ThatArtsyReaderGirl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

September 18: Books On My Fall 2018 TBR


1. Unsheltered by Barbara Kingslover (October 16) I loved Kingslover’s The Poisonwood Bible and Prodigal Summer. This new novel features dual timelines (a favorite device for me) and it sounds promising.


2. The Labyrinth of Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (September 18) I loved Zafon’s introduction to the Cemetary of Forgotten books in The Shadow of the Wind. The follow-ups (The Angel’s Game and The Prisoner of Heaven) weren’t as good but were still compelling. This is supposed to be the conclusion that ties together the themes of the series. I hope that it lives up to the first book, but I may need to reread them all to refresh my memory!

91mr5h6-xil-_ac_us218_3. Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (September 18) The fourth novel in Galbraith’s (AKA JK Rowling) Comoran Strike series is really highly anticipated (by me at least!) because the last one left off on a sort of cliffhanger regarding the personal relationships of the two primary characters.

51e4ptxpx8l-_ac_us218_4. The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton (October 9) Kate Morton is a favorite of mine based on several of her past novels (The Forgotten Garden, The Distant HoursThe Secret Keeper). I’ve heard good things about this one, so I’m looking forward to it.

51i6ln7tmul-_ac_us218_5. The Library Book by Susan Orlean (October 16) I loved The Orchid Thief and I love libraries. This book delves into the 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Public Library (one of the most devastating library fires in American history) and in the process explore the idea of libraries and the crucial role that they play in society.

514bydpfbhl-_ac_us218_6. When We Caught Fire by Anne Godberson (October 2) Anne Godberson’s Luxe series was a major guilty pleasure for me. I also enjoyed her Bright Young Things trilogy. I’m looking forward to this standalone novel set around Chicago’s Great Fire of 1871.


7. The Winters by Lisa Gabriele (October 16) I was a bit skeptical about this retelling of Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca (one of my favorite novels) but revisiting a classic with a fresh eye can sometimes pay off. You could actually argue that DuMaurier did that same thing with Jane Eyre in Rebecca! So really I owe it to this book to give it a chance.

51ecxjihxpl-_ac_us218_8. Daughters of the Lake by Wendy Webb (November 1) I’ve never read anything by Webb before, but I’ve seen her work recommended for fans of Kate Morton, Susanna Kearsley, and Simone St. James. In other words, me! Reviewers also call her “Queen of the Northern Gothic,” which also sounds promising.

51pku74twl-_ac_us218_9. The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox (October 2) This one seems like a perfect October read featuring the Salem Witch Trials, ghosts, and a Gothic setting.

513xypka1bl-_ac_us218_10. Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield (December 4) I loved Diane Setterfield’s first novel, The Thirteenth Tale. I was less fond of her follow up Bellman and Black, but the early reviews for this one are positive so I’m hopeful!