Month: September 2020

Ten Quotes for Book Lovers

Posted September 28, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 19 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! I hope your week is off to a good start. What are you excited about right now? The Animal Crossing: New Horizons Halloween update drops tonight, so that’s what I’m looking forward to right now!

This week’s topic is “Favorite Book Quotes”. I share quotes a lot on my blog, so I chose to share quotes for book lovers today. These are quotes about books and reading and how wonderful it is to be bookish. I’m excited to see which quotes you featured this week!

1. “A good book is an event in my life.” – Stendhal

2. “The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.” — Ursula K. Le Guin

3. “Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.” — Jean Rhys

4. “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.” – James Baldwin

5. “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” ― Charles W. Eliot

6. “A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.” ― Madeleine L’Engle

7. “I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.” ― Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

8. “I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

9. “Books make people quiet, yet they are so loud.” – Nnedi Okorafor, The Book of Phoenix

10. “Everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book.” ― Stéphane Mallarmé

It was so much fun looking through quotes I’ve saved and browsing a bunch online! There were so many great ones to choose from, but I tried to pick some of the ones I don’t see all over the place. Hope you enjoy!

What are some of your favorite bookish quotes?


Top Ten Books On My Fall 2020 To-Read List

Posted September 21, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 30 Comments

I LOVE FALL! I’m so, so excited that fall is here and that the weather is cooling off. I can’t wait for pumpkins and leaves and cozy hoodies and blankets. We are about to begin my absolute favorite chunk of the year. As crazy as it is to think we’re already here, I also can’t believe we’re here! In many ways, this year has felt like 7 years. It’s hard to believe that life was normal at the beginning of 2020, because I feel like we’ve been in a dystopia forever.

What kinds of books do you like to read in the fall? For me, it’s definitely Gothic/atmospheric books and eerie historical mysteries and thrillers. I love being a little creeped out, but not terrified. The books on my fall tbr fit that bill, and I’m eager to get to all of them!

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn’t right at the Sun Down, and before long she’s determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . .

From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes a novel set in glamorous 1950s Mexico.

After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find – her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James

Rebecca James unveils a chilling modern gothic novel of a family consumed by the shadows and secrets of its past in The Woman in the Mirror.

For more than two centuries, Winterbourne Hall has stood atop a bluff overseeing the English countryside of Cornwall and the sea beyond.

In 1947, Londoner Alice Miller accepts a post as governess at Winterbourne, looking after Captain Jonathan de Grey’s twin children. Falling under the de Greys’ spell, Alice believes the family will heal her own past sorrows. But then the twins’ adoration becomes deceitful and taunting. Their father, ever distant, turns spiteful and cruel. The manor itself seems to lash out. Alice finds her surroundings subtly altered, her air slightly chilled. Something malicious resents her presence, something clouding her senses and threatening her very sanity.

In present day New York, art gallery curator Rachel Wright has learned she is a descendant of the de Greys and heir to Winterbourne. Adopted as an infant, she never knew her birth parents or her lineage. At long last, Rachel will find answers to questions about her identity that have haunted her entire life. But what she finds in Cornwall is a devastating tragic legacy that has afflicted generations of de Greys. A legacy borne from greed and deceit, twisted by madness, and suffused with unrequited love and unequivocal rage.

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. A high school English teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland, she teaches a course on it every year. But when one of Clare’s colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from R. M. Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger,” left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the storylines of her favourite literature.

To make matters worse, the police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her closest confidant, her diary, the only outlet she has for her darkest suspicions and fears about the case. Then one day she notices something odd. Writing that isn’t hers, left on the page of an old diary: “Hallo, Clare. You don’t know me.”

Clare becomes more certain than ever: “The Stranger” has come to terrifying life. But can the ending be rewritten in time?

The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller

A young widow restores a dilapidated mansion with the assistance of a charming, eccentric genius, only to find the house is full of dangerous secrets in this effervescent Gilded Age debut novel

It’s 1875, and Alva Webster has perfected her stiff upper lip after three years of being pilloried in the presses of two continents over fleeing her abusive husband. Now his sudden death allows her to return to New York to make a fresh start, restoring Liefdehuis, a dilapidated Hyde Park mansion, and hopefully her reputation at the same time. However, fresh starts aren’t as easy as they seem, as Alva discovers when stories of a haunting at Liefdehuis begin to reach her. But Alva doesn’t believe in ghosts. So when the eccentric and brilliant professor, Samuel Moore, appears and informs her that he can get to the bottom of the mystery that surrounds Liefdehuis, she turns him down flat. She doesn’t need any more complications in her life―especially not a handsome, convention-flouting, scandal-raising one like Sam.

Unfortunately, though Alva is loath to admit it, Sam, a pioneer in electric lighting and a member of the nationally-adored Moore family of scientists, is the only one who can help. Together, the two delve into the tragic secrets wreathing Alva’s new home while Sam attempts to unlock Alva’s history―and her heart.

Set during the Gilded Age in New York City, The Widow of Rose House is a gorgeous debut by Diana Biller, with a darkly Victorian Gothic flair and an intrepid and resilient American heroine guaranteed to delight readers.

The Family Plot by Cherie Priest

Music City Salvage is a family operation, owned and operated by Chuck Dutton: master stripper of doomed historic properties, and expert seller of all things old and crusty. But business is lean and times are tight, so he’s thrilled when the aged and esteemed Augusta Withrow appears in his office, bearing an offer he really ought to refuse. She has a massive family estate to unload – lock, stock, and barrel. For a check and a handshake, it’s all his.

It’s a big check. It’s a firm handshake. And it’s enough of a gold mine that he assigns his daughter Dahlia to personally oversee the project.

Dahlia preps a couple of trucks, takes a small crew, and they caravan down to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the ancient Withrow house is waiting – and so is a barn, a carriage house, and a small, overgrown cemetery that Augusta Withrow left out of the paperwork.

Augusta Withrow left out a lot of things.

The property is in unusually great shape for a condemned building. It’s empty, but it isn’t abandoned. Something in the Withrow mansion is angry and lost. This is its last chance to raise hell before the house is gone forever, and there’s still plenty of room in the strange little family plot.

New from Cherie Priest, a modern master of supernatural fiction, The Family Plot is a haunted house story for the ages – atmospheric, scary, and strange, with a modern gothic sensibility that every bit as fresh as it is frightening.

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

When Elsie married handsome young heir Rupert Bainbridge, she believed she was destined for a life of luxury. But pregnant and widowed just weeks after their wedding, with her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie has only her late husband’s awkward cousin for company–or so she thinks. Inside her new home lies a locked door, beyond which is a painted wooden figure—a silent companion—that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself. The residents of the estate are terrified of the figure, but Elsie tries to shrug this off as simple superstition—that is until she notices the figure’s eyes following her.

A Victorian ghost story that evokes a most unsettling kind of fear, The Silent Companions is a tale that creeps its way through the consciousness in ways you least expect—much like the companions themselves.

The Return by Rachel Harrison

An edgy and haunting debut novel about a group of friends who reunite after one of them has returned from a mysterious two-year disappearance.

Julie is missing, and the missing don’t often return. But Elise knows Julie better than anyone, and she feels in her bones that her best friend is out there, and that one day she’ll come back. She’s right. Two years to the day that Julie went missing, she reappears with no memory of where she’s been or what happened to her.

Under the Willows by Pamela McCord

After her husband is killed by a drunk driver, Kelly Harris and her son TJ move into a sprawling Victorian house in Ohio that her husband inherited from his grandmother. Dealing with her overwhelming grief is a struggle as she adjusts to life in a small town. And, just as she’s beginning to feel more comfortable, life takes another unexpected turn.

The Alexa unit in her son’s bedroom starts to cry, and a little girl’s voice comes out of it asking for help.

At first Kelly is unnerved by the presence of the voice. After ruling out all the other likely possibilities, she begins to put the pieces together, and suspects the girl is a ghost. Unwilling to be uprooted from another home, she decides to find out what the child wants. Maybe she can help.

Kelly isn’t the only one interested in the voice. Detective Rob Porter is investigating the disappearance of a child named Marilee. As the two cross paths, Porter is taken aback when Kelly’s ghost mentions Marilee’s name. In fact, the ghost says “Marilee’s with me.”

Whether that means the child is a ghost as well is a question Rob and Kelly hope to answer.

Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas

A seductive, gothic-infused tale of literary suspense — the debut of a spectacular new voice — about a dangerously curious young undergraduate whose rebelliousness leads her to discover a shocking secret involving an exclusive circle of students . . . and the dark truth beneath her school’s promise of prestige.

You are in the house and the house is in the woods.
You are in the house and the house is in you . . .

Catherine House is a school of higher learning like no other. Hidden deep in the woods of rural Pennsylvania, this crucible of reformist liberal arts study with its experimental curriculum, wildly selective admissions policy, and formidable endowment, has produced some of the world’s best minds: prize-winning authors, artists, inventors, Supreme Court justices, presidents. For those lucky few selected, tuition, room, and board are free. But acceptance comes with a price. Students are required to give the House three years—summers included—completely removed from the outside world. Family, friends, television, music, even their clothing must be left behind. In return, the school promises its graduates a future of sublime power and prestige, and that they can become anything or anyone they desire.

Among this year’s incoming class is Ines, who expects to trade blurry nights of parties, pills, cruel friends, and dangerous men for rigorous intellectual discipline—only to discover an environment of sanctioned revelry. The school’s enigmatic director, Viktória, encourages the students to explore, to expand their minds, to find themselves and their place within the formidable black iron gates of Catherine.

For Ines, Catherine is the closest thing to a home she’s ever had, and her serious, timid roommate, Baby, soon becomes an unlikely friend. Yet the House’s strange protocols make this refuge, with its worn velvet and weathered leather, feel increasingly like a gilded prison. And when Baby’s obsessive desire for acceptance ends in tragedy, Ines begins to suspect that the school—in all its shabby splendor, hallowed history, advanced theories, and controlled decadence—might be hiding a dangerous agenda that is connected to a secretive, tightly knit group of students selected to study its most promising and mysterious curriculum.

Combining the haunting sophistication and dusky, atmospheric style of Sarah Waters with the unsettling isolation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Catherine House is a devious, deliciously steamy, and suspenseful page-turner with shocking twists and sharp edges that is sure to leave readers breathless.

Have you read or are excited o read any of these?
Do you have any recommendations for Gothic or atmospheric/spooky reads?
What’s on your Fall TBR?


Top Ten Swoony Book Covers

Posted September 14, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 22 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! This week’s topic is a book cover freebie and I decided to focus on covers with swoony scenes on them! I love romance, so this was very hard. I tried the not let them all be historical romances, but… again, that was hard. I’m excited to see what you chose to post about.

The Bride Bet by Tessa Dare

A Good Duke is Hard to Find by Christina Britton

The New Normal by Tracey Brogan

This looks like a super sweet moment.

The Highlander’s Christmas Bride by Vanessa Kelly

The Write Escape by Cherish Reid

The Irish Heiress by Kaitlin O’Reily

The Austen Playbook by Lucy Parker

An Unexpected Christmas by Shannon Richard

There’s just something about those cheek/head kisses that melt me.

Christmas with Love: An Anthology by Sarah Morgan

Royally Romanov by Teri Wilson

Paris. But also, this is so romantic.

What book cover freebie did you pick this week?
And have you read any of these? Are they good?


Top Ten Picture Books Little Me Would Have Loved

Posted September 7, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 20 Comments

Welcome to TTT! Just an FYI, I updated the list of future TTT topics through the end of the year so you can get planning!

This week’s topic is “books for my younger self”, and I have just realized that this topic is… basically the same topic we did in April. I’m so sorry! I did books I wish teen me had read back then, so it slipped my mind that the two prompts I provided are basically identical. I hope you’ve been able to spin it or pick a new topic entirely that suits you better. Can we please blame this duplication on the pandemic? I feel so dumb!

I rarely get to talk about picture books on here because I focus on romance so much, but I really love them and am excited to share a few favorites I wish had been around when I was little.

Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
This is about a kitten who thinks the moon is a bowl of milk, and it is darling.

Little Elliot, Big City (and the rest of the series) by Mike Curato
Elliot is the cutest white polka dot elephant and he loves to go on adventures with his best friend, a timid and tiny mouse. The pictures are to die for.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (and the rest of the series) by Mo Willems
This pigeon wants to do everything he can’t, and he’s the best little complainer. These books are so funny!

The Lending Zoo by Frank Asch
I loved Frank Asch books as a kid (his bear books were so fun), and this book about a zoo-brary with a missing tiger would have been well loved, I know.

Duck and Goose (and the rest of the series) by Tad Hills
This entire series is so cute and simple, but I think the illustrations are my favorite part.

Little Quack (and the rest of the series) by Lauren Thompson
Another adorable book series with the cutest illustrations! Little Quack has some of the best facial expressions.

10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle
Apparently I like ducks? 10 rubber duckies fall off a ship and travel around the world. It’s magical and adorable, and so colorful!

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
Simple and so funny. I bet my mom would have enjoyed reading this to me!

Slugs in Love by Susan Pearson
The most heartwarming little romance for kids! I love these slugs. A sentence I never though I’d say.

Where’s Walrus? by Stephen Savage
There are no words in this book, but it’s still so amazingly entertaining! A walrus escapes his zoo home and goes on an adventure. I know I would have loved to narrate this.

Which books do you wish had been available when you were younger?