Top Ten Tuesday: All the Single Ladies

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday

July 19: Freebie (Come up with your own topic!)

As I enter into my own spinsterhood, I’m more aware of the representation of unmarried women of a certain age in media. Some literary spinster are great. Others are…less so. One book that I would recommend on the subject is Kate Bolick’s Spinster: Making A Life of One’s Own, a book I read several years ago. But in this list I’m primarily looking at novels

Rules for this list:

  1. A romantic history doesn’t automatically keep a woman off this list, but if her happy ending involves a romantic relationship, it does. Nothing against romance! But it’s not the only plotline a woman can have.
  2. No Miss Havisham-like lunatics on here. Don’t get me wrong, Miss Havisham is a great character, but hardly anything for single ladies to aspire to!

Mildred Lanthbury in Excellent Women by Barbara Pym – Actually a lot of Pym’s work applies but when I think of Pym this is the first book that comes to mind. In it Mildred (who’s only 30, so I suppose by today’s standards she wouldn’t be considered a spinster at all) gets overly involved in her neighbors lives, with comic results.

Miss Marple books by Agatha Christie – I love her. Yes, she doesn’t have much in the way of family, so she solves crimes instead! I love that she’s not very judgmental though. She uncovers a lot of secrets in these books, but unless they involve murder, she’s pretty accepting of peoples vices and foibles.

Mrs. Rumphius by Barbara Cooney– I loved this children’s book about the title character whose mission in life is to add a bit of beauty to the world. No more, no less.

Marilla Cuthbert in Anne of Green Gables series by LM Montgomery– She didn’t look for or ask for motherhood, but she becomes a mother to a 13 year old orphan nonetheless. Despite her stern demeanor she’s kind and loving.

 The ladies of Cranford in Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell –  Miss Matty and Miss Deborah are spinsters living in rather modest circumstances in a small Victorian English town, full of many single women. They face the upheaval in spite of their resistance to it. “In the first place, Cranford is in possession of the Amazons; all the holders of houses above a certain rent are women … For keeping the trim gardens full of choice flowers without a weed to speck them; for frightening away little boys who look wistfully at the said flowers through the railings; for rushing out at the geese that occasionally venture in to the gardens if the gates are left open … for kindness (somewhat dictatorial) to the poor, and real tender good offices to each other whenever they are in distress, the ladies of Cranford are quite sufficient. ‘A man,’ as one of them observed to me once, ‘is so in the way in the house!’”

Circe by Madeline Miller- Yes the character showed up in Homer’s Odyssey before Miller got her hands on her, but Miller made her better (IMO) She spends a lot of the book isolated on the island of Aiaia but she turns her solitude into empowerment.

Miss Honey in Matilda by Roald Dahl– Yes, she’s fairly young when the book ends, so there’s no way to know if spinsterhood is her ultimate fate, but she gets a happy ending that doesn’t involve a romantic relationship in any way shape or form. We have the sense that if that never comes, she’ll be just fine.

Aunt Ada Doom in Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons- Forever traumatized by “something nasty in the woodshed” she nonetheless rules the Starkadder family with an iron fist. Her happy ending involves a trip to Paris rather than a trip down the aisle.

Edith Hope in Hotel de Lac by Anita Brookner– I went back and forth with this one since the main character, Edith, does have some romantic drama going on in her life and her ending is sort of ambiguous. But some of the choices she makes support my perception of her as a single lady.

Benny Hogan in Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy – In the film adaptation of this book, a pretty major change is made to the ending that makes it ineligible for this list. I actually like the film and think the ending works in that context. But in the novel, based on the way the characters are portrayed, I definitely think Benny makes the right choice.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Associate With Summer

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

July 12: Book Covers That Feel Like Summer (Submitted by Ellie @ Curiosity Killed the Bookworm)

For this one I decided to go with books that I associate with summer rather than just covers. For many of them, they were books that I read in the summer and with which I have strong seasonal memory associations.

Sweet Valley series by Francine Pascal- In this case the setting, sunny California, feels very summery. I read these books throughout my childhood (Kids first, then Twins, then High.) I was about ten when I read the Sweet Valley High books and they, along with other things (looking at you, Saved By the Bell) set up some very unrealistic expectations about what high school would be like!

Chain Letter 2 by Christopher Pike – I read this on a camp trip to a baseball game when I was about eleven. I was never much of a sports fan, but I think I actually found a copy of this on the bus on the way to the game. I never read the first one. I read this on the bus ride, through the game, and on the way back. It was dark by then, but I only had a few pages left so I squinted. I remember being scandalized by some of the content!

Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene – Did anyone else live for summer reading at the library? I did, and I remember one summer they were doing some remodeling/reorganizing at the library and these were being kept in what was essentially a large closet. I was really into these books at the time though, so whenever I went to the library I’d have to ask special permission to go to the closet and get these!

Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati – I worked in a library the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college, and I think I may have read more than I worked! This is a standout from that summer. I remember feeling resentful when I had to stop reading to help patrons.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling – I was working at a Barnes and Noble the summer this was released, and it was all hands on deck! I remember it was July 21, 2007 (yes, fifteen years later I remember the exact date) and we had a midnight release party at the store. It was packed with people (probably a fire hazard) and at one point I had to dress up as a witch for some kind of a potions skit. I may have blocked that part out!

The Dive From Clausen’s Pier by Ann Packer – One summer when I was in college, I got some kind of insect bite. It was itchy and annoying at first, but no big deal until it got infected. They put me on a medicine for it that didn’t work, so it started to spread. That lead to me being put in the hospital for three days so they could give me meds through an IV. I was reading this at the time, and will always associate it with summer in the ER: lots of waiting and lots of injuries!

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid – My book club picked this as our latest read because we got beachy, summery vibes from the cover. It was a fun book that would make a good beach read, but a bit of a let down for me personally after I loved Daisy Jones and the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I didn’t feel like this quite reached that quality.


Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel – I read this one the summer before I started high school. And by “read” I mean devoured in about two days. It lead to a fascination with anthropology, ancient societies and human evolution ( all of which I still find very interesting.) I read the rest of the series that summer – well all except the last which hadn’t been released yet – and found the quality to vary, but this was definitely the best of them.

The Other Side of Midnight by Sidney Sheldon – When I was about 12 or 13, my cousins and I went to Florida to spend a some time with our Grandma one summer. I picked this book up in her apartment, and I don’t think I put it back down for the rest of the trip! In retrospect, it was probably pretty rude of me to have my face buried in a book the whole time…

Beautiful by Fran Laniado – I went back and forth about putting this on the list, but I finally decided to do it! Beautiful was released on July 4, 2018. It was supposed to have a book sibling by now, but the best laid plans… But I will always associate the fourth of July with a dream come true for me.

Top Ten Tuesday: Royal-list

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

Today’s topic was

June 28: Books On My Summer 2022 To-Read List

But that’s sort of what I did last week. So I decided to go with this idea I stole from Orangutan Librarian. My attitude toward real life royalty in general is a “who needs it?” But I do enjoy a good palace soap opera on occasion!

American Royals by Kristin McGee – I can’t leave this one off the list! If George Washington had been made America’s first king instead of the first president, life in the US would probably look very different in some ways, and remarkably similar in others. At least that’s the case for the latest generation of the American royal family. I read the first two in the series and really enjoyed them. The third is out now but I haven’t read it yet.

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston – I’d heard a lot about this one, but I didn’t love it as much as some people seemed to. I did like it, it was very enjoyable and sweet! But as I was reading, the practical problems that a romance between the son of the president and the British prince would have, kept intruding. I kept thinking “how come they both have such terrible security that they can sneak around so easily?” just as one example. Eventually that interfered with my enjoyment. I think I could have bought it, if it stayed in the realm of fantasy, but when it tried to bring in reality (to some extent at least), it didn’t work as well.

The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool Will Somers by Margaret George – OK Henry is a pretty tough guy to make sympathetic! This author comes surprisingly close at times. But that’s not to say it excuses any of his actions. It presents a compelling case for how he may have seen them though. I recommend the authors other work too in this area. She’s tackled other monarchs including Helen of Troy, Mary, Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I and Cleopatra.

The Plantagent and Tutor series by Philippa Gregory – Because I can’t stick to just one! These overlap quite a bit. They start with the story of Jacquetta Woodville, mother of Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV. It continues though several generations of a twisted family tree, that holds the fate of a nation in it’s branches…

Queen of Camelot by Nancy McKenzie- This is one of my favorite Camelot stories. I found myself sympathizing with all of the characters, even when they were at odds. I thought that Guinevere and Arthur actually came off as likeable here, and therefore worthy of the loyalty they inspired! As a disclaimer though, I will say it’s been about fifteen years since I read it, so who knows how accurate my memory is?

Her Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen – Yes, the main character is only a cousin to the actual royals, but she hangs around with them enough for me to count this. Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie (Georgie) is 34th in line for the English throne in 1932. That means she’s far enough away from the action to be flat broke, but the queen often calls on her for favors. And these favors tend to accumulate a bit of a body count…

Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman – When Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales marries King John (of England) daughter, Joanna as an attempt to make peace, no one expects it to be a great romance. But love grows in unexpected places, and Joanna finds herself caught between her husband and her father. This had some bits that I remember reading and thinking “yeah, right!” only to find out in the author’s note that these were actual historical fact. Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction! Penman is another author who has covered a lot of royals. This book launches her Welsh Princes trilogy, but her Plantagenet novels are also worth a look (well, based on the two I’ve read so far…)

Katherine by Anya Seton – Katherine Sywnford wasn’t a royal, but her children were. When John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster (son of Edward III, uncle of Richard II, father of Henry IV, grandfather of Henry V), falls for the already married Katherine in the 14th century, their scandalous romance lasts for decades and produces several children who are the direct ancestors of the last 700+ years worth of royals.

Queen Margot by Alexandra Dumas – When I was about seventeen or eighteen I went through brief obsession with this book, the film adaptation, and the characters in general, as a result of “discovering” them while doing a school project. In 1572, French Catholics and Protestant Huguenots had been in a decade long struggle for the country. Charles IX is technically king, but his mother, Catherine de Medici, is the one who pulls the strings. She arranges a marriage between her daughter, Margot, and the Huguenot king of Navarre, Henri de Bourbon. But when Protestants gather in Paris to celebrate the wedding, Catherine has something else planned for them. Meanwhile, poor Margot has been married against her will, and starts a torrid affair with a Protestant solider. Things get bloody.

Top Ten Tuesday: What To Read Next Wishes

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

This week’s topic was:

June 21: Bookish Wishes (List the top 10 books you’d love to own and include a link to your wishlist so that people can grant your wish. Make sure you link your wishlist to your mailing address [here’s how to do it on Amazon] or include the email address associated with your ereader in the list description so people know how to get the book to you.)

But I’m on a book buying ban until I read some of what’s on my shelves (I’m not, however, on a book borrowing ban, so the library is fair game…) and I don’t really feel comfortable with this. So I decided to tweak it a little and make it the 10 books I hope to read next (time, life and work permitting) A lot of these are books I have, I just have to get to…

  • Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys – I read this years ago, but my book club is doing it next month, so I’m going to try to give it a reread at some point soon.
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel – I’ve had this on my TBR for years. When I was trying to think of things for my Future Classics list I did a bit of googling to get ideas, and I saw a number of lists with this on it, so I think it’s time for me to tackle it.
  • Piranesi by Susanna Clarke – I’ve been meaning to read this for a while now. I’ve heard it’s best when you’re in the mood for something very atmospheric though, which I haven’t bee lately but hope to be soon.
  • A Spell of Rowans by Byrd Nash – I’ve been meaning to read more by indie authors, but as usual, so many books, so little time! I do hope to get to this soon though, because I’ve heard good things.
  • The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier– This was a long ago gift from my Aussie book buddy. Actually she got it for me last year, and got the sequel for me this year, but I still haven’t read this one (*hangs head in shame*) I love Marillier but I keep getting sidetracked!
  • The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton – This is one of a few long (700+ pages) books that are taking up shelf space. I used to dive right into hefty tomes, but in my old age I’ve gotten more hesitant. I’ll reach for one and then think: “I’ll get to that later, this other book looks like something I’ll finish in a day or two…”

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Epilogues and Endings

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

For this one the topic was:

June 14: Books I Wish Had An Epilogue

But I went with just best epilogues and endings. Basically, there were some that I wasn’t sure were epilogues or not! Warning for SPOILERS here:

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – I think of this as “how to do an epilogue properly.” It’s set 200 years after the events of the story and is narrated by a historian who found and transcribed it. It gives us a glimpse of the world after it changes from what Offred knows. It reminds us how civilizations rise and fall.

And then There Were None by Agatha Christie – The epilogue moves this book from the “frustrating” to “satisfying” category. Basically, this is where we learn whodunnit and why.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling – People seem divided into those who like this epilogue and those who don’t. I do, because we learn in it that Harry’s son is named Albus Severus Potter. In other words his initials spell ASP. Snakes are usually significant in the Harry Potter universe and don’t usually mean good things are coming. On an entirely different note, it’s always nice to get a “where are they now.”

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon – For three books a threat loomed over the heads of these characters. A character from the future had learned something bad happens to them, and warned them. It doesn’t play out in the way we expect though. In the epilogue we learn why. It’s a reminder of how historical record often gets things wrong, and no one ever knows.

Animal Farm by George Orwell – This allegorical novel depicts an animal revolution against humans on a farm, led by pigs. As time goes on the pigs create laws that oppress the other animals, until the end, when the pigs are sitting at table talking to the humans, and it’s hard to tell which is which. Because with power we can become our enemies.

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult – This is another “love it or hate it” ending. I loved it, because it went against everything we’ve expected all along. People who dislike this ending call it a deus ex machina. Which it is, but it’s done in a thought provoking way. The film adaptation changed this to the ending that felt expected which (I thought) missed the whole point.

Atonement by Ian McEwan – It’s almost impossible to discuss this ending without major spoilers. The book finishes off with an ending that feels conclusive and then there’s “just kidding!” that totally makes sense given character and circumstances. I often feel like those kinds of endings are cop outs, but in this situation it was done right.

The Last Time They Met by Anita Shreve – This has a tie-in to another of Shreve’s books, The Weight of Water. All through this book, I thought that a character was lying about something mentioned in The Weight of Water. It turned out to be true.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – This is probably another unpopular choice. A lot of people feel like the second half of the book is a let down after the first, and movies frequently end the adaptation after the first half! But I think the second half brings everything full circle. Without it, the narrative lacks balance. I wish there was a less boring word than “symmetry” to describe what I mean!

Top Ten Tuesday: Time in the Title

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

June 7: Books With a Unit of Time In the Title (seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, eternity, etc.) (Submitted by RS @ The Idealistic Daydream)

For this one I just went with the last ten I read

Survive the Night by Riley Sager – Because I just decided that time of day counts as a unit of time.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig – ditto

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E Harrow – I’m counting “once” and “future”

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney -“Sometimes”

The Peacock Spring by Rumer Godden – Yes, seasons count too

A Wild Winter Swan by Gregory Maguire – Ditto

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman – Counting days of the week

Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce

Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews – Yes, holidays count

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker– so do “ages”

Top Ten Tuesday: Comfort Genres

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

May 31: Comfort Reads (Share which books or kinds of books you turn to when you need to escape. You can either share specific titles if you love to re-read, or you could share qualities of books you look for in a comfort read.)

I get the need for comfort! In fact I’ll be posting some more about that soon. Since I’ve done several lists of comfort books and comfort authors, I thought I’d share some genres and tropes I tend to turn to in tough times.

image from culturefly.co.uk

Mystery: I’ve written about why here a bit. I think it has to do with knowing how things will turn out. Regardless of how bad things get for the characters, by the end I’ll get answers.

image from eveningstandard.co.uk

Romance: I’ve sort of taken a while in coming to this genre (more about that here) but and as of now I still haven’t read too much in it, but especially in the last two years, I’ve discovered that the guarantee of a happy ending is very appealing comfort-wise.

image credit vpl.bibliocommons.com

“Chick-lit:” I’m not fond of that as a genre name, but I do want to consider it separate from romance. Often these have a romantic subplot, but it’s by no means obligatory. It often makes me smile though. I like that friends and family are a big part of these.

image from medium.com popsugar

Children’s books: Old favorite and new offerings. I think people tend to write more optimistic stuff for children, but that doesn’t mean that stuff doesn’t get pretty dark in some of these! People underestimate the complexity of material for kids, but I feel like there’s more explanation in it so that the characters (and the reader) can understand and make sense of the bad things that happen.

image from independent.couk

Books about books, books about/by book lovers, books about libraries and bookshops. It’s not secret that books are my safe space. I did a list of these here. Just reading about books helps with the comfort!

image credit airshipdaily.com

Books about family, friendships and community. I will say that depending on the book (and family/friendship/community) you can wind up with something pretty disturbing here. But sometimes even a book about dysfunctional relationships can comfort me with a sense of love and closeness at its core.

Image credit geekgirlauthority.com

Feel good fantasy. I tried to get more specific with this genre but it’s not easy to identify. Some worlds it’s nice to just jump into and hide in for a while.

image credit migratingmiss.com

Books you get lost in. Again I wasn’t able to be more specific than this. It’s more of a quality I find. Some books that make you forget that the real world is out there. They’re hard to come by, but that makes finding them special.

Top Ten Tuesday: Quotes From My Last 5 Star Reads

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

May 24: Book Quote Freebie (Share your favorite book quotes that fit a theme of your choosing! These could be quotes about books/reading, or quotes from books. Some examples are: quotes for book lovers, quotes that prove reading is the best thing ever, funny things characters have said, romantic declarations, pretty scenery descriptions, witty snippets of dialogue, etc.)

No common themes here other than that I gave these books 5 stars (some were rereads) and these quotes stood out to me.

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E Harrow – “In the stories, it’s generally best to do whatever the hell the talking animal tells you.”

The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid– “Stories are supposed to live longer than people, and the turul is the most ancient story of them all. Tears go running hotly down my face. Maybe killing it will save this generation of pagans, but what about the next? When the fabric of our stories thins and wears, the people will be alive, but they won’t be pagans anymore. And that, I realize, is what Virág always feared the most. Not our deaths, or even her death. She was afraid of our lives becoming our own. She was afraid of our threads snapping, of us becoming just girls, and not wolf-girls.”

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis – “I was never going to get any sleep. I was going to have Alice in Wonderland conversation after Alice in Wonderland conversation until I died of exhaustion. Here, in the restful, idyllic Victorian era.”

Tom’s Midnight Garden by Phillipa Pearce – “I meant to ask Hatty questions about the garden,’ Tom wrote to Peter, ‘but somehow I forgot.’ He always forgot. In the daytime, in the Kitsons’ flat, he thought only of the garden, and sometimes he wondered about it: where it came from, what it all meant. Then he planned cunning questions to put to Hatty, that she would have to answer fully and without fancy; but each night, when he walked into the garden, he forgot to be a detective, and instead remembered only that he was a boy and this was the garden for a boy and that Hatty was his playmate.”

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E Harrow – “Those of you who are more than casually familiar with books — those of you who spend your free afternoons in fusty bookshops, who offer furtive, kindly strokes along the spines of familiar titles — understand that page riffling is an essential element in the process of introducing oneself to a new book. It isn’t about reading the words; it’s about reading the smell, which wafts from the pages in a cloud of dust and wood pulp. It might smell expensive and well bound, or it might smell of tissue-thin paper and blurred two-colour prints, or of fifty years unread in the home of a tobacco-smoking old man. Books can smell of cheap thrills or painstaking scholarship, or literary weight or unsolved mysteries.”

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro – “Our generation still carry the old feelings. A part of us refuses to let go. The part that wants to keep believing there’s something unreachable inside each of us. Something that’s unique and won’t transfer. But there’s nothing like that, we know that now. You know that. For people our age it’s a hard one to let go.”

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton – “It was the old New York way… the way people who dreaded scandal more than disease, who placed decency above courage, and who considered that nothing was more ill-bred than “scenes”, except those who gave rise to them. ”

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl– “We are all anthologies. We are each thousands of pages long, filled with fairy tales and poetry, mysteries and tragedy, forgotten stories in the back no one will ever read.”

Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier – “Men are simpler than you imagine my sweet child. But what goes on in the twisted, tortuous minds of women would baffle anyone.”

Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller – “He is a weapon, a killer. Do not forget it. You can use a spear as a walking stick, but that will not change its nature.”

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Characters

For That Artsy Read Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

May 10: Bookish Characters (these could be readers, writers, authors, librarians, professors, etc.)

Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow – Beatrice Belladonna is definitely a bookish character. She works in a library and ends up keeping another, magical library. I sort of picture her as an owl reading a book!

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix – The book club in this book has sort of an interesting evolution. They’re founded for the purpose of reading Great Literature. But they start on true crime instead. They branch out from there to fictional crime and best sellers. By the end they read Dracula for research purposes.

Beach Read by Emily Henry – Augustus Everett writes literary fiction. January Andrews writes romance novels. When they discover they’re staying next door to each othr for the summer, they decide to swap genres.

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman – Irene is a spy for the titular Library. She finds and protects important works of fiction from different realities. She has a simple mission: retrieve a dangerous book from an alternate version of London. But the best laid plans…

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner – When Chawton, the final home to Jane Austen, is threatened just after WWII, a group of Austen fans band together to save the home and protect Austen’s legacy.

The Book of Speculation by Erica Swyler – Simon is a research librarian who gets a book from a rare book dealer that has some kind of connection to his family. As her reads the story it tells, he becomes afraid for the safety of his sister.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman – Nina prefers books to reality. She works in a bookshop, and her closest companion is her cat, Phil. She’s not convinced that real life can ever live up to fiction. I know the feeling!

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern – Zachery is a grad student who encounters a book that tells him a story from his own life. Confused as to how this happened, Zachery follows clues to an ancient, secret library far below the surface of the Earth.

Top Ten Tuesday: One (and more!) Word Reviews

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday

May 3: One-Word Reviews for the Last Ten Books I Read (submitted by Susan @ Bloggin’ ’bout Books)

I’m adding a bit more to some of these, because sometimes you need more than one word!

The Comfort Book by Matt Haig

One Word Review: Disappointing

More than one word: I didn’t dislike this. I just wanted to like it more than I did. I actually liked his lists of comfort songs and movies, and his little chapters about inspirational people a lot. But a lot of it felt repetitious.

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

One Word Review: Underwhelimg

More than one word: I enjoyed the book, but everything built toward learning what happened about a barbeque (the first half of the book is alternating lead up and aftermath) and when we finally learned what happened, it wasn’t exactly earth shattering. I mean it was for the characters, I’m sure, but not for the reader.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Henrix

One Word Review: Ick

More than one word: I actually liked this book. It was definitely gorier than I like (hence the one word review) but in spite of that, I enjoyed most of it enough to want to read more from the author.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevado

One Word Review: Fine

More than one word: I think “fine” sums it up. I was a bit disappointed because I thought Acevedo’s debut, The Poet X, was more than fine, but this was pretty good.

Dancing on Knives by Kate Forsyth

One Word Review: Slow

More than one word: I don’t mean “slow” in a bad way. I thought the pace suited the story well. I took it’s time to get where it was going, but it worked.

A Spindle Splintered by Alix E Harrow

One Word Review: Substandard

More than one word: After loving Harrow’s two full length novels, I didn’t think that this novella quite lived up to them. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as good as I felt like it could have been. I’ll still read the sequel though.

The Signalman by Charles Dickens

One Word Review: Creepy

More than one word: I’ve been trying to read some Victorian Christmas ghost stories this year, so this was one of those. I enjoyed it, in that it kind of made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up a bit (my measure of a good ghost story) It definitely felt like a short story, rather than something like A Christmas Carol which is more novella territory.

Comfort Me With Apples by Catherynne M. Valente

One Word Review: Weird

More than one word: I really liked this. I wasn’t sure what it was going into it. I couldn’t tell if it was intended to be a retelling, and one of the reviews I read said the less you know going in the better, so after reading that, I stopped looking. I’m glad I did because it let me fully appreciate what Valente was doing as this unfolded.

Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood

One Word Review: Unheroic

More than one word: I wanted to like this one more than I was able to. The biggest problem for me was the character who was supposed to fill the romantic hero role, was totally unappealing, unlikeable and unheroic.

The Dragonfly Pool by Eva Ibbotson

One Word Review: Letdown

More than one word: Anyone who reads my blog knows how much I love Eva Ibbotson. This wasn’t my favorite of her books. Not that it was bad at all! I think my expectations may have been too high based on my love for the author, but it felt like it tried to do a bit too much.