Top Ten Tuesday – My Top 10 Favorite Christmas Carols


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 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is actually a Freebie.  I wracked my brain trying to come up with something book-related and Christmas-related but every idea I thought of will be covered in the next couple of Top Ten Tuesday posts, so I decided to stick with a Christmas theme but venture off into the land of music.  One of the things I love most about Christmas is the music.  Almost every carol I hear brings back childhood holiday memories and hearing the music just always makes me smile.  Just like with my taste in books, my taste in music is pretty eclectic.  I love all of the old classic Christmas tunes, but I’m also a pretty big fan of some of the more modern versions of songs.  I thought it would be fun today to share some of my favorite carols with you.  The ones I’ve picked are specifically my favorite versions of the carols as well since I know they have all been covered by plenty of different artists.


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My Top 10 Favorite Christmas Carols


1. SANTA CLAUS IS COMIN’ TO TOWN (Bruce Springsteen)




2. MERRY CHRISTMAS, BABY  (Bruce Springsteen)



I’m sure those first two picks come as no surprise to those who know me and how much of a huge Springsteen fan I am, lol.



3.  WINTER WONDERLAND (Tony Bennett)







Andy Williams is the first name that comes to mind when anyone mentions Christmas music to me.

His Christmas albums are actually the first holiday songs I can ever remember listening to as a child.



5. AVE MARIA (Andy Williams)



This is the only song on my list that makes me cry every time I hear it.  It brings back wonderful memories of baking Christmas cookies with my grandmother.  This was her favorite song and she would always sing it while we baked.  When she passed away, my family had it playing at her memorial service and so it conjures up so many feelings every time I hear it now.






There are so many beautiful renditions of this song (Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, The Pretenders, etc.), but this rendition from Lou Rawls has always been my favorite.



7. SLEIGH RIDE (Ella Fitzgerald)












10. CAROL OF THE BELLS (Mormon Tabernacle Choir)




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Question:  What are some of your favorite Christmas carols?  Do we share any favorites?

Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Wintry Reads That Would Be Perfect to Read in Front of a Roaring Fire


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 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is Cozy/Wintry Reads.  I tweaked the topic just a bit because a few of my wintry reads are not especially cozy.  Cozy or not though, they still have an atmospheric quality to them that immediately makes me want to grab them and curl up in front of a warm fire to read.


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10 Wintry Reads That Would Be Perfect to Read in Front of a Roaring Fire



THE SNOW CHILD  by Eowyn Ivey


Goodreads Synopsis:    Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart–he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone–but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.





Goodreads Synopsis:  They open a door and enter a world

NARNIA…the land beyond the wardrobe, the secret country known only to Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy…the place where the adventure begins. Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor’s mysterious old house. At first, no one believes her when she tells of her adventures in the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund and then Peter and Susan discover the Magic and meet Aslan, the Great Lion, for themselves. In the blink of an eye, their lives are changed forever.





*The entire Winternight trilogy is actually perfect for reading by the fire.  This is the first book in the series.

Goodreads Synopsis:  At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind–she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed–this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.



LITTLE WOMEN  by Louisa May Alcott


Goodreads Synopsis:  Grown-up Meg, tomboyish Jo, timid Beth, and precocious Amy. The four March sisters couldn’t be more different. But with their father away at war, and their mother working to support the family, they have to rely on one another. Whether they’re putting on a play, forming a secret society, or celebrating Christmas, there’s one thing they can’t help wondering: Will Father return home safely?



THE GREAT ALONE  by Kristin Hannah


Goodreads Synopsis:  Alaska, 1974.  Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.  For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if it means following him into the unknown

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska―a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.



MR. DICKENS AND HIS CAROL  by Samantha Silva


Goodreads Synopsis:  Shakespeare in Love meets A Christmas Carol in this transporting debut novel set during the whirlwind period in which Dickens wrote his beloved classic, as he embarks on a Scrooge-like journey of his own.

For Charles Dickens, each Christmas has been better than the last. His novels are literary blockbusters, and he is famous on the streets of London, where avid fans sneak up on him to snip off pieces of his hair. He and his wife have five happy children, a sixth on the way, and a home filled with every comfort they could imagine. But when Dickens’ newest book is a flop, the glorious life he has built for himself threatens to collapse around him. His publishers offer an ultimatum: either he writes a Christmas book in a month, or they will call in his debts, and he could lose everything. Grudgingly, he accepts, but with relatives hounding him for loans, his wife and children planning an excessively lavish holiday party, and jealous critics going in for the kill, he is hardly feeling the Christmas spirit.

Increasingly frazzled and filled with self-doubt, Dickens seeks solace and inspiration in London itself, his great palace of thinking. And on one of his long walks, in a once-beloved square, he meets a young woman in a purple cloak, who might be just the muse he needs. Eleanor Lovejoy and her young son, Timothy, propel Dickens on a Scrooge-like journey through his Christmases past and present—but with time running out, will he find the perfect new story to save him?

In prose laced with humor, sumptuous Victorian detail, and charming winks to A Christmas Carol, Samantha Silva breathes new life into an adored classic. Perfect for fans of Dickens, for readers of immersive historical fiction, and for anyone looking for a dose of Christmas cheer, Mr. Dickens and His Carol is destined to become a perennial holiday favorite.


A CHRISTMAS CAROL  by Charles Dickens


Goodreads Synopsis:  A Christmas Carol is a novella by English author Charles Dickens. It was first published by Chapman & Hall on 19 December 1843. Carol tells the story of a bitter old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation resulting from a supernatural visit by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come. The novella met with instant success and critical acclaim. The book was written and published in early Victorian era Britain, a period when there was strong nostalgia for old Christmas traditions together with the introduction of new customs, such as Christmas trees and greeting cards. Dickens’ sources for the tale appear to be many and varied, but are, principally, the humiliating experiences of his childhood, his sympathy for the poor, and various Christmas stories and fairy tales





Goodreads Synopsis:  In the snowy Highlands of Scotland, Suzanne McBride is dreaming of the perfect cozy Christmas. Her three adopted daughters are coming home for the holidays and she can’t wait to see them. But tensions are running high…

Workaholic Hannah knows she can’t avoid spending the holidays with her family two years in a row. But it’s not the weight of their expectations that’s panicking her—it’s the life-changing secret she’s hiding. Stay-at-home mom Beth is having a personal crisis. All she wants for Christmas is time to decide if she’s ready to return to work—seeing everyone was supposed to help her stress levels, not increase them! Posy isn’t sure she’s living her best life, but with her parents depending on her, making a change seems risky. But not as risky as falling for gorgeous new neighbor Luke…

As Suzanne’s dreams of the perfect McBride Christmas unravel, she must rely on the magic of the season to bring her daughters together. But will this new togetherness teach the sisters that their close-knit bond is strong enough to withstand anything—including a family Christmas?


WINTER STREET  by Elin Hilderbrand


*The WINTER series by Hilderbrand is a wonderful wintry read. Winter Street is the first book in the series.

Goodreads Synopsis:  In bestseller Elin Hilderbrand’s first Christmas novel, a family gathers on Nantucket for a holiday filled with surprises.

Kelley Quinn is the owner of Nantucket’s Winter Street Inn and the proud father of four, all of them grown and living in varying states of disarray. Patrick, the eldest, is a hedge fund manager with a guilty conscience. Kevin, a bartender, is secretly sleeping with a French housekeeper named Isabelle. Ava, a school teacher, is finally dating the perfect guy but can’t get him to commit. And Bart, the youngest and only child of Kelley’s second marriage to Mitzi, has recently shocked everyone by joining the Marines.

As Christmas approaches, Kelley is looking forward to getting the family together for some quality time at the inn. But when he walks in on Mitzi kissing Santa Claus (or the guy who’s playing Santa at the inn’s annual party), utter chaos descends. With the three older children each reeling in their own dramas and Bart unreachable in Afghanistan, it might be up to Kelley’s ex-wife, nightly news anchor Margaret Quinn, to save Christmas at the Winter Street Inn.

Before the mulled cider is gone, the delightfully dysfunctional Quinn family will survive a love triangle, an unplanned pregnancy, a federal crime, a small house fire, many shots of whiskey, and endless rounds of Christmas caroling, in this heart-warming novel about coming home for the holidays.




Goodreads Synopsis:  A Christmas delight, ’Twas the Knife Before Christmas will charm the stockings off readers of Joanne Fluke and Leslie Meier.

It’s out of the cupcake tin, into the fire for Holly White’s best friend, Caroline. Can Holly clear Caroline’s name in time to go caroling?

When a body turns up in the dumpster behind Caroline’s Cupcakes, Holly White is horrified to learn her best friend Caroline is the main suspect. Everyone in town, including Mistletoe, Maine’s sheriff, saw Caroline fighting with the victim on the night of his death. Worse, Caroline’s fingerprints are all over the murder weapon, a custom-designed marble rolling pin.

Now, just ten days before Christmas, Holly’s up to her jingle bells in holiday shenanigans and in desperate need of a miracle. Juggling extra shifts at her family’s Christmas tree farm and making enough gingerbread jewelry to satisfy the crowd is already more than she can handle—and now she has to find time to clear her best friend of murder. Add in her budding relationship with the sheriff, and run-ins with an ex-fiancé looking to make amends, and Holly’s ready to fly south until springtime.

But her Sherpa-lined mittens come off when Caroline is taken into custody. Can Holly wrap up the case in time for Christmas…even after she gains the true killer’s attention? Find out in ‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas, Jacqueline Frost’s second pine-scented Christmas Tree Farm mystery.


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Question:  What are some of your favorite wintry reads?

Top Ten Tuesday – My Top 10 Favorite Siblings in Literature


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 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is Platonic Relationships In Books (friendships, parent/child, siblings, family, etc.).  After spending Thanksgiving at my mom’s and spending some quality time with my younger sister, I came home feeling very thankful that I have such a great relationship with her.  There’s nothing quite like that bond between siblings.  For that reason, I decided to use this week’s topic to share some of my favorite sibling relationships in books that I’ve read.  Whether it’s their witty banter, the sibling rivalry, or just good old-fashioned overprotective siblings, these literary siblings really captured my heart when I read their stories.


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My Top 10 Favorite Siblings in Literature


THE WEASLEYS (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)

I don’t think any list of siblings would be complete without this crew.


THE STARKS (A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin)

Is it possible to even call yourself a Game of Thrones fan if you don’t love the Stark siblings, especially Arya, Sansa, and Jon?


LARA JEAN, MARGOT, and KITTY (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han)

As much as I enjoyed all of the romantic possibilities in this story, what I loved most was the close relationship between Lara Jean and her sisters.


MONTY AND FELICITY (The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee)

It’s all about the witty banter between these two!


KELL and RHYS (Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab)

Talk about your sibling bonds – these two are literally tethered to each other by an actual bond.


SCOUT AND JEM (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee)

I think this was my first ever favorite siblings.  Didn’t everyone want a brother like Jem and/or a sister like Scout?


THE MARCH SISTERS (Little Women by Louisa May Alcott)



GRACE, MAYA, & JOAQUIN (Far from the Tree by Robin Benway)

That sibling bond is strong even though they were all adopted and don’t meet each other until they’re teenagers.


JESSIE and THEO (Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum)

This relationship really grew on me, especially since they were step siblings and since Theo acted like such a jerk at first.  He really grew on me as he warmed up to Jessie though.


THE BENNETT SISTERS (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)

I’m a big fan of the closeness between Lizzie, the protagonist, and her older sister, especially the idea that Lizzie was the overprotective one.


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Who are some of your favorite siblings from literature?

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Authors I’d Love to Invite Over for Thanksgiving Dinner


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 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is a Thanksgiving freebie so I decided to go with 10 Authors I’d Love to Invite Over for Thanksgiving Dinner.  I just think this would be such an entertaining group to hang out with and eat, drink, and be merry.  Not only would it be fun to chat with each of them while we chow down on our Thanksgiving feast, but it would also be a hoot to watch them interact with each other.  Unless my usual holiday meal, I don’t think any topics of conversation would be off limits.  This is also a good mix of my favorites, as well as some of my mom and sister’s favorites so I think it would be a fabulous evening for us all.


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10 Authors I’d Love to Invite Over for Thanksgiving Dinner













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What authors would you love to invite over for Thanksgiving dinner?



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 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is Bookish Items/Merchandise I’d Like to Own.  These kinds of topics are always fun because there’s so much great bookish merchandise out there, especially now that we have fabulous websites like Etsy to visit and shop.  The possibilities are practically endless, which makes the most challenging part of this week’s topic narrowing down to only ten bookish items that I’d love to own.  I could easily do a 100 things list, lol.


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1. Book Nerd Buttons


I’ve become kind of obsessed with buttons lately and love to pin them to my purse and my totes.  My obsession started with political buttons but has of course progressed to buttons of the bookish variety.  I saw this cute set on Etsy and have been resisting the urge to purchase them for myself even though I’d love to have them.


Click to purchase at



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2. Bibliophile Hoodie


I’ve been eyeing this cute hoodie for a while now, and it’s especially tempting now that it’s starting to get really chilly outside.


Click to purchase on



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3. I Read Past My Bedtime Tote Bag


I just bought a couple of new totes for myself when I visited The Strand bookstore in NYC a couple of weeks ago, but totes are just one of those things you can never have too many of, so I’m always on the lookout for cute ones to add to my collection.


Click to purchase on


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4. There Once Was a Girl T-Shirt


Yes to all the ways we can pledge our loves for books and reading, especially if they come in the form of stylish tees.  With just a quick glance around etsy, society6, and several other shops, I saw at least a dozen book-themed shirts that I would totally wear. This one was probably my favorite though.


Click to purchase at


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5. Please Go Away I’m Reading Mugs


Since I drink a lot of coffee and tea, I think that mugs are another one of those items that I could never own too many of.  These caught my eye not just because they’re bookish but also because I like the shape and design.


Click to purchase on


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This is one of those items that I keep saying I need in my life but can’t seem to make myself actually buy.  I’m not sure why that is, but here are two cute ones that I’ve had my eye on.


Click to buy from



Click to buy from



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7. Bibliophile Bookends


How cool are these?!


Click to purchase from


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8. Literary Pins


In addition to buttons, I’m also loving enamel pins.  This Pride and Prejudice caught my eye, again, when I was at The Strand.  (I swear, I could live at that store!)


Click to purchase from


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9. F*ck Off I’m Reading Socks


These cracked me up as soon as I saw them, and yes, I need a pair in my life, lol.


Click to purchase from

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Or honestly, anything and everything from this Etsy shop. I’ve never seen so many lovely bookish things in one spot before.



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Question:  Do you love bookish merchandise?  What kinds of bookish items would you love to own?

Top Ten Tuesday – Backlist Hall of Shame: 10 Books I’ve Said I’m Dying to Read for Years (but still haven’t)


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 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is Backlist Books I Want to Read.  I tweaked the topic a bit because I want to talk about those books that I’m embarrassed are still on my backlist because I’ve been saying for years now that I want to read all of them.  I’ve lost track of how many backlist/TBR reading challenges I’ve put these titles on and yet somehow I still haven’t read them.  Hell, most of you who have been following me since my earliest blogging days are probably shaking your heads and laughing that these books are still on my TBR, and I’m laughing/cringing right alongside you, lol.

The shame is real this time though and I’m determined to start putting a dent in this list because I really do want to read them all.  Even if I only read one a month or so, my goal is that these ten books will finally be off my TBR by the end of 2019.  For those who have read these, which one do you think I should start with?  I’m leaning towards Tell Me Three Things or Lily and the Octopus, mainly because they’re standalones.



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10 Books I’ve Said I’m Dying to Read for Years (but still haven’t)





AND I DARKEN by Kiersten White

HUNTED by Meagan Spooner

REBEL OF THE SANDS by Alwyn Hamilton

THE CROWN’S GAME by Evelyn Skye

THREE DARK CROWNS by Kendare Blake

THRONE OF GLASS by Sarah J. Maas

INK AND BONE by Rachel Caine


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What are some books from your backlist that you’ve been saying for years that you’re dying to read?

Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Creepy & Atmospheric Reads to Get You in the Mood for Halloween


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 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is Halloween/Creepy Freebie.  This topic was a bit challenging for me since I don’t typically read scary books.  Yes, I know. I’m a chicken, lol.  Even though I don’t read horror, I do, however, enjoy books that are a little creepy and a lot atmospheric.  Those just make for perfect fall/Halloween reads for me.


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10 Creepy & Atmospheric Reads to Get You in the Mood for Halloween



THE WICKED DEEP by Shea Ernshaw 

So Atmospheric!


Goodreads Synopsis:  Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.




Positively eerie!


Goodreads Synopsis:  irst, there were ten—a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal—and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion. 



THIS SAVAGE SONG by Victoria Schwab

Who knew music could be so beautiful yet so deadly?


Goodreads Synopsis:  There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwaba young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.



1984 by George Orwell

Big Brother is watching you. Enough said.


Goodreads Synopsis:  Among the seminal texts of the 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a rare work that grows more haunting as its futuristic purgatory becomes more real. Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell’s nightmare vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff’s attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell’s prescience of modern life–the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language–and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, it ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written.



THE TELL-TALE HEART by Edgar Allan Poe

All of his stories are deliciously creepy, but this one is my favorite.


Goodreads Synopsks:  A murderer is convinced that the loud beating of his victim’s heart will give him away to the police.



THE HAZEL WOOD by Melissa Albert

If the main story isn’t creepy enough for you,

the Tales from the Hinterland embedded within the story are some of the eeriest I’ve read in recent years.


Goodreads Synopsis:  Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.




Magical Realism at its most atmospheric.


Goodreads Synopsis:  Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.



JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte

Gothic spookiness and a mad woman in the attic. What more could you want?


Goodreads Synopsis:  Fiery love, shocking twists of fate, and tragic mysteries put a lonely governess in jeopardy in JANE EYRE

Orphaned as a child, Jane has felt an outcast her whole young life. Her courage is tested once again when she arrives at Thornfield Hall, where she has been hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester to care for his ward Adèle. Jane finds herself drawn to his troubled yet kind spirit. She falls in love. Hard.

But there is a terrifying secret inside the gloomy, forbidding Thornfield Hall. Is Rochester hiding from Jane? Will Jane be left heartbroken and exiled once again?



THE LANTERN’S EMBER by Colleen Houck

(So much Halloween goodness here. If this doesn’t get you in the mood for Halloween, nothing will.)


Goodreads Synopsis:  Welcome to a world where nightmarish creatures reign supreme.

Five hundred years ago, Jack made a deal with the devil. It’s difficult for him to remember much about his mortal days. So, he focuses on fulfilling his sentence as a Lantern—one of the watchmen who guard the portals to the Otherworld, a realm crawling with every nightmarish creature imaginable. Jack has spent centuries jumping from town to town, ensuring that nary a mortal—or not-so-mortal—soul slips past him. That is, until he meets beautiful Ember O’Dare.

Seventeen, stubborn, and a natural-born witch, Ember feels a strong pull to the Otherworld. Undeterred by Jack’s warnings, she crosses into the forbidden plane with the help of a mysterious and debonair vampire—and the chase through a dazzling, dangerous world is on. Jack must do everything in his power to get Ember back where she belongs before both the earthly and unearthly worlds descend into chaos.



THE WOMAN IN WHITE by Wilkie Collins

An atmospheric Gothic mystery with some scary bits along the way.


Goodreads Synopsis:  ‘In one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop… There, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth, stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white’

The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright’s eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter becomes embroiled in the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his ‘charming’ friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons, and poison. Pursuing questions of identity and insanity along the paths and corridors of English country houses and the madhouse, The Woman in White is the first and most influential of the Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with psychological realism.


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Question:  What are some of your favorite creepy/atmospheric reads?

Top Ten Tuesday: My Bookstore Bucket List -10 Bookstores I’ve Always Wanted to Visit

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 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is Bookstores/Libraries I’ve Always Wanted to Visit.  I could only think of one library, the New York Public Library, so I decided to go with bookstores.  I’ve pretty much never met a bookstore that I didn’t want to wander through, but the bookshops below are what I would call my Bookstore Bucket List.  I’d really love to visit all of these some day.


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10 Bookstores I’ve Always Wanted to Visit





Isn’t this the cutest shop?  I really blew this one too because I was in Paris

just a couple of years ago and forgot all about this gem.  Oh well, it’s an excuse to go back some day, right?


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I actually have visited The Strand before but it was a rushed shopping excursion, so I’d love to go back.

Why?  18 MILES OF BOOKS! Oh and lots of fabulous author events.


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Another fail on my part because I’ve been to L.A. twice and didn’t know this bookstore existed until after my trips.

They sell new and used books and they also sell vinyl records. And how amazing is that book arch?!


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This one is actually pretty doable since I live in Virginia, but what appeals to me about this bookstore is that it has a great mix of literary and political events. Alan Greenspan, for example, is speaking there on October 16th and Tahereh Mafi has an event there the next evening.  Plus, you just never know who you might run into while you’re browsing. You might turn the corner one day and find one of the Obamas shopping for a new read.


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So much failing on my part because, again, I have traveled to Venice, Italy but because we were only there for a day, bookstore visiting was just not in the cards.  If I ever make it back to this incredible city, I will make time to visit this shop.  The store’s name means “Book Store of High Water” and, accordingly, they store many of their books in bathtubs, boats, and other waterproof basins.


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How beautiful is that? This is a bookstore where I could actually see myself wandering around

and gawking at the beautiful building rather than browsing the book offerings.


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I don’t even know exactly where in California this bookstore is, but it advertises itself as the largest outdoor bookstore in the world.

The idea of an outdoor bookstore intrigues me so I’d definitely be interested in visiting if my California travels happened to take me anywhere near it.


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This is another shop where I just think the architecture is so cool.  Barter Books is also supposed to be one of the

largest secondhand bookshops in Britain so I bet a bookworm could score some pretty great deals here.


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Three Lives & Co. is a neighborhood bookstore located in Greenwich Village.

It has been around since 1968 and I just love how wonderfully old fashioned it looks.

If I ever visited, I could see myself not wanting to leave.


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This is one I’ve been meaning to visit since Baltimore is only a couple of hours away from me, but I just haven’t quite made it yet.

It just looks like such a cute shop and I hear they have a great selection of used and rare books.


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Question:  What are some shops on your Bookstore Bucket List?


Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Big Books Gathering Dust on my Shelves Waiting for Me to Read Them


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 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is actually Top Ten Longest Books I’ve Ever Read, but I’ve already done a post like that recently and haven’t read any longer books since then, so I tweaked the topic a bit to focus on big books I own but haven’t read yet.  Today I’m sharing a list of 10 Big Books Gathering Dust on my Shelves Waiting for Me to Read Them.  Some of these, like IQ84, have been sitting on my shelves for years and I just keep bypassing them for shorter and less daunting reads.  Others, like the Maas books, are newer additions that I’m excited to get to, but still tend to side eye and skip over in favor of shorter reads.

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10 Big Books Gathering Dust on my Shelves

Waiting for Me to Read Them


IQ84 by Haruki Murakami  (1,157 pages)

A DANCE WITH DRAGONS by George R. R. Martin  (1,051 pages)

THE BEAR AND THE DRAGON by Tom Clancy  (1,028 pages)

A LITTLE LIFE by Hanya Yanagihara  (814 pages)

EMPIRE OF STORMS by Sarah J. Maas  (693 pages)

THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL by Philppa Gregory  (661 pages)

QUEEN OF SHADOWS by Sarah J. Maas  (645 pages)

THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco  (535 pages)

MUSE OF NIGHTMARES by Laini Taylor  (514 pages)

THUNDERHEAD by Neal Shusterman  (504 pages)

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What are some big books sitting on your shelves waiting to be read?

Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Authors I’d Love to Meet

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 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is Authors I’d Love to Meet.  I remember doing a similar topic last year, but the great thing about being addicted to books is that I’m always discovering more authors that I’d love to meet.  I’m always interested in meeting authors that I think I could not only chat with about their books, but that (assuming I didn’t just sit there and flail speechlessly because I’m meeting my favorites), I could also have real conversations with about what’s going on in the world socially, politically, etc. and how real world events shape what they’re writing about at any given moment.  For those who are interested, here’s my list of authors from last year:  Top Top Authors I’m Dying to Meet.

And below are ten more authors that I think would be equally fascinating to meet someday…


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10 Authors I’d Love to Meet



Alice Hoffman is the author of Practical Magic, The Rules of Magic, Faithful, and many more, and she has been a favorite of mine for years. Her prose is so lyrical, yet so natural and effortless at the same time.  I’d love to talk to her about where she gets her inspiration from for the magical stories she writes.


“Books may well be the only true magic.”


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LIane Moriarty is the author of the best selling Big Little Lies, which has also been made into a very popular TV series on HBO.  I’d love to chat with her about her success.  Did she ever imagine that she would basically become a household name when she was writing Big Little Lies?


“The good thing about writing a novel is that you’re creating an imaginary world and can take a break when you need to.”


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Leigh Bardugo is the author of two of my favorites series, the Grisha trilogy and the Six of Crows duology.  I’d love to talk to her about how she came up with the whole idea of the Grishaverse, as well as her writing process.


“I think the first trick to writing a feminist work is to write plenty of women.  That way you get to write characters, instead of worrying about paradigms.”


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I just adore Michelle Obama.  She’s so intelligent and an all around class act, and I’m beyond excited that her book is coming out soon.  I’d love to meet her not just because of her status as a former First Lady, but just because I think she would be so fascinating to talk to about pretty much any topic.


“Failure is an important part of your growth and developing resilience.  Don’t be afraid to fail.”


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I think it would be somewhat intimidating to meet George R. R. Martin, but I’d still love to, mainly because I’d love to ask him about his process and if he ever has regrets about killing off some of his characters.

“I have a huge emotional attachment to characters I’ve created, especially the viewpoint characters.”


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Tomi Adeyemi is the author of the immensely popular Children of Blood and Bone novel.  I’d love to meet her and talk about what comes next for the characters I fell in love with in the first book of this series.


“I want a little black girl to pick up my book one day and see herself as the star.  I want her to know that she’s beautiful and she matters, and she can have a crazy magical adventure even if an ignorant part of the world tells her she can never be Hermione Granger.”


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I’d love to meet Becky to thank her for writing wonderful books filled with some of the most relatable characters I’ve ever come across.  I can’t wait to read her upcoming collaboration with Adam Silvera.


“People really are like houses with vast rooms and tiny windows and maybe it’s a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.” (Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda)


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Katherine Arden is the author of one of my favorite series, The Winternight Trilogy.  I’d love to talk to her about her inspiration for this series and to see if she would give me a sneak peek of the final book, which I’m dying to get my hands on but it doesn’t come out until January 2019.


“Every time you take one path, you must live with the memory of the other: of a life left unchosen. Decide as seems best, one course or the other; each way will have its bitter with its sweet.” (The Girl in the Tower)


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Credit: Dan Courter


I’d love to meet Dan Brown, mainly just to see how many more ideas he has for Robert Langdon books or if he’ll be introducing a new series anytime soon.


“I’m fascinated by power, especially veiled power.  Shadow power. The National Security Agency. The National Reconnaissance Office. Opus Dei.  The idea that everything happens for reasons we’re not quite seeing.”


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I’d love to meet Rick Riordan to thank him for writing books that have made my son love reading.


“Being a hero doesn’t mean you are invincible.  It means you are brave enough to stand up and do what’s right.”


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Question:  So there’s my 10.  What authors are you dying to meet?  Would any of mine make your list?