Category: Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Books On My To-Read List That I’m Avoiding

Posted September 9, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 28 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! This week’s topic was submitted by Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea through the TTT top suggestions form, and is about the books on my to-read list that I’m avoiding reading for one reason or another. Perhaps I’m intimidated by the page length or the hype surrounding the book. Maybe it’s a book I know I should read, but am not really excited about. Or maybe it’s a book I’ve hyped up so much in my own head that I’m scared of disappointing myself. lol. Whatever the case may be, I know we can all think of a book or two that’s book on our to-read list forever and it might just stay there indefinitely. I’m excited to see which books those are for you!

1. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
My mom loved this book, and it’s a classic that I’ve heard about so much over the years. I watched the miniseries based on the book and enjoyed it (and the music), but this thing is huge and I’m really worried it’s not going to have enough going on to keep me interested.

2. The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato
I feel like I got this from Costco eons ago because I love Italy and the back of the book says this is super exciting and suspenseful, but I never pick it up! I’ve gone through my books multiple times over the last few years, and I always get to this one and think I’m for sure going to get rid of it and then I read the back of the book and I’m excited about it all over again. It’s a cycle I can’t break, so maybe I should just bite the bullet. I don’t know what I’m waiting for.

3. Into Thin Air by Cindy Miles
This is another book I keep coming across on my shelves that I consider getting rid of until I read the back. It sounds like so much fun and like something I’d really enjoy, but I guess I worry it’ll be too cheesy or hokey because of the cover.

4. Beauty by Robin McKinley
I know I haven’t read this one because of the hype. People love this book, and I love Beauty and the Beast retellings so this should be a no-brainer. But what if I don’t like it? It’s happened to me before.

5. Juliet by Anne Fortier
This thing is HUGE. But it sounds so good! I love historical mysteries and Italy and I’ve heard great things. But it’s a really big book.

6. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
This is another hyped book I bought LONG ago because it was recommended to me. I LOVE spy books and historical fiction. And it mentions the Scarlet Pimpernel, which I love. So I should love this. Maybe I’m just never in the right mood?

7. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I really, really want to read this! I love the BBC adaptation, and I’ve read multiple retellings. I love the story, so I should read the original. I even have the pretty Barnes & Noble leatherbound, so I have no reason not to read it. I think I’m scared it’ll be hard to get through and then I’ll be a fraud for loving everything about this book but the book. lol.

8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
I’ve never read this series before (only the first book), and you’d have to be living under a rock to not know the spoilers for the series so now I’m scared to continue. I don’t want to get attached to anyone!

9. My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris
Ah, the oldest unreviewed book on my Netgalley account (sheesh I’ve been reviewing forever). It sounds adorable, I’m just never in the mood. No idea why.

10. The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
Everyone loves this and what if I don’t? And what if I do!? It’s a big series to commit to!

Talk me into (or out of) reading these please!!


Five Books I Enjoyed That Are Outside My Comfort Zone

Posted September 2, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 32 Comments

This week’s TTT topic is books I enjoyed that are outside of my comfort zone. These books could be genres I’m not typically interested in, subject matter I’m not usually drawn to, etc. I don’t push myself much since I insist that reading be a fun and pleasurable experience for me, and not a growing or learning experience (at least not all the time) so I only have five picks this week.

1. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
I went in to this thinking it’s bookish and it could be fun, but I didn’t have very high hopes. It’s a memoir and I’m super selective of which ones I read, so I wasn’t entirely sure it’d be a win for me. But it ended up being very fun! I’m actually reading the sequel right now, and it’s delightful. Helene is very funny.

2. Three Mages and a Margarita by Annette Marie
This is adult urban fantasy, which I seriously never read. It wads an Audible Daily Deal one day, and my friend sent it to me because he thought I might like it. Guys, I’ve binged the entire series since. And it’s weird because there’s no romance! That’s another thing that makes it a very non-Jana book. The audio is fun, and I like the fantasy elements and the banter between characters. I’m looking forward to the release of the next book in October. It must be noted that I hate the book cover so much.

3. The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
I read this only because I heard the audio was really good. There’s pretty much no romance and I’m not usually a steampunk fan, but the audio was amazing and I ended up loving this book!

4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This one was out of my comfort zone because I hate crying. lol. As such, I tend to avoid WWII fiction. It’s also narrated by Death, which worried me. But it’s such a beautiful story.

5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
I’m not a fantasy for fantasy’s sake kind of person. I don’t love magic on its own. Either one of these story elements require romance, and there’s none in this. lol. I’m also not so much a middle grade fan right now, but I knew I had to give Harry Potter a shot. I really loved it! Now I just have to read the rest of the series.

Which books have you really enjoyed that were outside your comfort zone?


Ten Books I’ve Read That I’d Like In My Personal Library

Posted August 26, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 17 Comments

This week’s topic was submitted by Annemieke @ A Dance with Books, and I think it’s a pretty fun one! I’m talking about ten books that I’ve read and loved so much that I want a physical copy for my bookshelf. These books were either read as digital review copies, or were borrowed from the library or friends/family. And it’s actually a really hard list for me to write because I’ve already gone and bought SO many that I loved so there’s not many left! I’m eager to see which books you loved enough to donate valuable bookshelf space to!

Dating By the Book by Mary Ann Marlowe
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
I Temporarily Do by Ellie Cahill
The Gem Thief by Sian Ann Bessey
The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis-Graves
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Till Death by Jennifer Armentrout
Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare
Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
Captivate by Vanessa Garden

Which books did you love enough to want to own a coy for your bookshelves?


Top Ten Favorite Tropes

Posted August 19, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 20 Comments

Hi guys! I’m back! Remember how I was sick the last two weeks and didn’t post my lists? Well, I finally went to the doctor last Thursday and my flu had turned into bronchitis, a throat infection, a sinus infection, and an ear infection. So I’m glad I went to the doctor and found out what was wrong so that I could get better. And I’m feeling way better! I’m so relieved. I legit thought I’d be sick forever.

Ok, so this week’s topic is on my favorite tropes in books! What’s a trope? Well, it’s basically a commonly used story element that is easily recognized because it’s so common. If you’re still not sure, here are some examples of tropes. I’m excited to see some of the tropes you enjoy reading!

1. The Fauxmance

Probably my favorite trope is the fauxmance. I love it when characters have fake relationships to get themselves ahead, and then those relationships become real! Maybe a girl hires a boyfriend to go home with her for Christmas. Maybe it’s a publicity stunt. Maybe a man can only claim his inheritance if he’s married, so he talks a woman into fake marrying him. I’m here for ALL of it.

2. Friends to Lovers

I love best friends turned lovers. These could be childhood best friends that grow up and fall in love, college roommates that start out as friends and turn into more, etc. They’re so sweet, and usually have some more depth to them because the characters have a history and a solid foundation. I also enjoy watching them stress over whether or not a relationship will ruin their friendship if/when they break up.

3. Survival Situations

I love it when characters are stranded in the wilderness. Maybe they get lost while hiking, there’s a plane crash, a boat sinks, etc. If you throw in a murder… like maybe a group of people gets stranded in the mountains during a huge storm and someone kills someone and OH NO. OH YES!!

4. Snowed In

I love it when two characters (hopefully romantic interests) get snowed in at a hotel or a cabin or even on the side of the road in their car and then have to trek to safety. I also love the common storyline that goes a little something like this: a group of people are staying in an isolated hotel when a blizzard comes. There’s no power, there’s no way out, and there’s a murderer in their midst. Isolation due to weather is SO much fun!

5. Small Town Romance

I love the cute, quaint little towns where everyone knows each other but they actually like each other and aren’t gossiping and causing each other problems. These kinds of towns have 4th of July BBQs and Christmas tree lightings with hot chocolate and fall festivals. And there’s commonly a friends to lovers romance, so two tropes for the price of one!

6. International Travel

I love cruises, plane trips, train trips, international destinations… All of it. I love traveling through my books.

7. Spy/Espionage Thrillers

So exciting!

8. Heists

Gem thieves, art thieves… all of it. It’s so much fun.

9. Bookish Themes

I love it when the heroine is an author or a voracious reader or a bookshop owner. I love books set in bookshops and libraries. I love bookish references and identifying with characters who love books as much as I do.

10. Plain Jane Gets the Successful Hottie

I love reading about realistic heroines, like me, who get the super sexy and successful guy like it’s no big deal. Modern society has made us feel like the pretty (but not gorgeous/sexy), average-sized (but not thin and jiggle-free) women can’t get a super sexy man. Like, so many romance novels feature women who are thin, tight, blonde heroines with perfect skin, flowing hair, perfect clothes, perfect jobs, etc. I love seeing normal, real-sounding women (who are allowed to eat food and wear sweatpants) get the dreamboats we know we’re so capable of getting. It’s empowering!

Do we have any picks in common?
Do you have any books to recommend that have one/some of my favorite tropes?
What are your favorites?


Top Ten Tuesday Link-up – Book Characters I’d Love to Be Besties With

Posted August 12, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 15 Comments

Hello! Welcome to another TTT! Sadly, like last week, I’m sick. It’s been 14 days of being super sick, and I’m going to the doctor because this is getting ridiculous. So unfortunately it’ll just be another link-up from me. I’m hoping next week I’ll be back for real! Thanks to Michelle from Pink Polka Dot Books for such a fun topic!

Which book characters would you be best friends with?


Top Ten Tuesday Link-Up – Cover Redesigns

Posted August 5, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 13 Comments

I tend to really dislike cover re-designs. It’s not necessarily the designs themselves (although sometimes it is!), but the fact that they’re changed in the first place. lol. As a graphic designer, I just feel that it should be done right the first time and then not messed with again (unless the books are really old and need new designs for whatever reason). A book cover is a book’s brand! It’s how it’s recognized out in the world. So when it gets changed it just makes me mad. lol. BUT. There have been some I like over the years. I wish I could have done this topic, but I’ve been very sick with some flu-like thing for the last week and don’t have the energy to put together my post. I’m sorry! Hopefully I can do some posts on covers soon once I’m better.

Please tell me in the comments what you think of cover redesigns! 
Which have you liked? Which have you hated? Or do you even care? Let’s chat.
I’m sick and need contact with the outside world.


Ten Books with Beautiful Places On the Cover

Posted July 29, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 26 Comments

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a freebie post, which I love because it allows you to express your creativity! It also allows you to do more niche-y, specific topics that I don’t usually select as weekly prompts because I want to keep things broad so everyone can participate. Anyway, I can’t wait to see your list and potentially steal it (with credit, of course) for a future TTT!

I chose to feature books with beautiful places on the book cover. I’m a sucker for a great cover, but even more so if there’s a place I love, or a pretty landscape scene, or a cute shop or house on the cover that makes me want to jump in and be there immediately.

One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan
When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton
The Lady Travelers Guide to Larceny with a Dashing Stranger by Victoria Alexander
Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber
The Summer Getaway by Tilly Tennant
Sailing to Capri by Elizabeth Adler
Summer’s Lease by Carrie Elks
Ever My Love by Lynn Kurland
Finding You by Jo Watson
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

What topic did you pick this week?
Which of these covers is your favorite?


Top Ten Settings I’d Like to Visit More Through Books

Posted July 22, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 20 Comments

Sorry I’m late! I had kittens on me!

I love visiting new (or beloved) places through books, and this week’s topic allows me to share some of my favorites with you! I tend to gravitate towards books set in the following places/kinds of places, so if you have any recommendations for books you think I’d love based on my picks this week, please leave them in the comments below!

Creepy Hotels/Apartment Buildings (Like in Lock Every Door by Riley Sager)
Alaska (I love the scenery and the Northern Lights)
Ships/Yachts/Boats (Bonus points if people are visiting cool places.)
Outdoor/Wilderness (Camping, survival stories, etc.)
Secluded Resorts (Like the Snow Crystal Ski Resort in Sarah Morgan’s O’Neil Brothers series)
Venice, Italy (Really, any place in Italy.)
New York City (I SO heart New York, especially at Christmas.)
Castles (Like in Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare)
Any place with snow!! (I love cabins, fireplaces, Christmas, blizzards, etc.)
Cute, quaint, picturesque small towns (Like Kristan Higgins’s Gideon’s Cove)

Which settings do you love and would like to see more of?


Top Ten Auto-Buy Authors

Posted July 15, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 22 Comments

Happy TTT! This week’s topic was harder for me than I thought it would be, just because I read books by a LOT of authors, and many of those authors that I love (s0 far) only have 1-2 books out right now. I feel like an author has to have been around for a while and have multiple books out in order to be an auto-buy author for me. For example, I’m thinking of this one author and I love her a lot but she’s released two books in two years, with no more announced right now. I know I’ll buy it, but it’s hard to put her into this category since she is so new and has so few books. So I’m sticking with the authors I’ve been reading for YEARS and have proven how wonderful they are to me!

Tessa Dare

Christina Lauren

Tracey Garvis-Graves

Mary Higgins-Clark

Jill Shalvis

Riley Sager

Jenn Bennett

Kate Avery Ellison

Sarah J. Maas

Sarah Morgan

Which authors are auto-buy authors for you?


Ten Books with Bookish Characters I Want to Read

Posted July 8, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 18 Comments

Four years ago we did a character freebie at The Broke and the Bookish, and I chose to feature bookish characters. I love reading books about people who are bookish like I am. Today I’m going to share some books from my TBR that have bookish characters! I can’t wait to see what kind of character you chose to highlight this week.

By the Book: A Novel of Prose and Cons by Amanda Sellet
This book is about a girl who loves classic romance novels and writes a Scoundrel Survival Guide all about the type of men you should avoid based on her literary research. (This comes out next Spring.)

The Boy Next Story by Tiffany Schmidt
This is part of the Bookish Boyfriends series, and this bookish boyfriend is inspired by Little Women.

My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh
A bluestocking who would rather remain a wallflower than waste her time finding a man hires a bookish academic and transforms him into a dashing rake so she can pass him off as her suitor. I love a good fauxmance!

Writing Mr. Right by T.K. Leigh
A bestselling author of romance novels with a crappy personal life and a bad case of writer’s block joins a bunch of dating apps in the hopes of finding inspiration.

The Way You Love Me by Miranda Liasson
Gabby is an attorney, but wishes more than anything to be an author. She signs up for a writing class taught by a bestselling author who ends up being pretty sexy.

By the Book by Julia Sonneborn
A modern retelling of Persuasion by Jane Austen. “An English professor in California, she’s determined to score a position on the coveted tenure track at her college. All she’s got to do is get a book deal, snag a promotion, and boom! She’s in. But then Adam Martinez—her first love and ex-fiancé—shows up as the college’s new president.”

The Librarian by Christy Sloat
“On a dark, wintery night, alone in the library, she takes her first glance into one of the antique novels and finds herself transported to 1892 England staring into the eyes of handsome and dashing hero Jack Ridgewell.”

The Bookworm and the Beast by Charlee James
A Christmas retelling of Beauty and the Beast about an assistant for a very grumpy children’s book author.

The Romance Reader’s Guide to Life by Sharon Pywell
I just have to include this entire official synopsis. lol.

“As a young girl, Neave was often stuck in a world that didn’t know what to do with her. As her mother not unkindly told her, she was never going to grow up to be a great beauty. Her glamorous sister, Lilly, moved easily through the world, a parade of handsome men in pursuit. Her brother didn’t want a girl joining his group of friends. And their small town of Lynn, Massachusetts, didn’t have a place for a girl whose feelings often put her at war with the world — often this meant her mother, her brother, and the town librarian who wanted to keep her away from the Dangerous Books she really wanted to read.

But through an unexpected friendship, Neave finds herself with a forbidden copy of The Pirate Lover, a steamy romance, and Neave discovers a world of passion, love, and betrayal. And it is to this world that as a grown up she retreats to again and again when real life becomes too much.

Neave finds herself rereading The Pirate Lover more than she ever would have expected because as she gets older, life does not follow the romances she gobbled up as a child. When Neave and Lilly are about to realize their professional dream, Lilly suddenly disappears. Neave must put her beloved books down and take center stage, something she has been running from her entire life. And she must figure out what happened to Lilly – and if she’s next.

Who Neave turns to help her makes Sharon Pywell’s The Romance Reader’s Guide to Life one of the most original, entertaining, exciting, and chilling novels you will read this year.”

Dancing at Midnight by Julia Quinn
Another bluestocking! Thank goodness men are willing to overlook that quality in a woman and fall in love with them anyway, right? (end sarcasm)

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