Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Unpopular, Good Books

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Top Ten Books

It’s another installment of Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the imaginative The Broke and the Bookish. This one was fun, you guys. If you would like to try, and you own a Goodreads account that you use reasonably often which provides a fairly accurate fascimile of your reading habits, you simply go to the settings on your “Read” bookshelf, and add the “num ratings” column. Once you have added this column, click it twice so that your “Read” bookshelf is being listed in order of number of ratings, from lowest number to highest number.

Here are 10 books I really enjoyed that have under 2,000 ratings:

#1 The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless

miss betsy thoughtless

The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless, written by Eliza Haywood in 1751, is a slightly rambling novel that details the fun, the trials, and the moral reckoning of a girl named Betsy Thoughtless. (Hint: Her name might be a metaphor for her character.) It includes an abusive husband who kills her pet squirrel, and a happily ever after that requires the death of two people. In short, it is a fun read if you do not mind long novels from the 18th century.

#2 Wit’s End

wit's end

Written by Karen Joy Fowler, (the author of The Jane Austen Book Club),Wit’s End is one of my favorite books. It is well written, interesting, and peopled with simultaneously relatable characters who have been through some over-the-top situations. A mystery that is compulsively readable. #readit

#3 The World Before Us

world before us

The World Before Usby Aislinn Hunter, is a haunting novel. Protagonist Jane Standen is haunted by an incident that occurred in her past, and has used her fixation with this pivotal moment in her life as inspiration to become an historian. When her professional interests result in her researching in the same area that her childhood issues occurred, Jane is forced to face what really occurred, and perhaps learn to move on. This book has more than a beautiful cover; it was a genuinely enjoyable book.

#4 Save Me the Waltz

save me the waltz

Zelda Fitzgerald’s novel Save Me the Last Waltz is one of which not many people have heard. Zelda wrote it while in a mental asylum, and supposedly her husband F. Scott was furious that she was writing a novel about their relationship while he was doing something similar with The Great Gatsby. I don’t enjoy Zelda’s writing as much as F. Scott’s, but she does still write very well. And it’s nice to see a novel from the female perspective on one of the most dysfunctional love stories of all time.

#5 June

june

Miranda Beverly-Whittemore’s June is a highly enjoyable novel. It shifts between narrators and time periods to detail the story of a family, of great friends, of great loves, and of a town. The characters, of which the great house is included, manage to be both realistic and interesting at the same time. The story is full of drama, Hollywood glamour, small town values, and beauty.

#6 My Best Friend’s Exorcism

bf's exorcism

Grady Hendrix’s My Best Friend’s Exorcism is my new favorite recommendation. An homage to the eighties and B-grade horror, it is campy good fun, and I think you should read it.

#7 Dorothy Parker Drank Here

dorothy parker drank here

Dorothy Parker Drank Here, by Ellen Meister, is an interesting novel. Dorothy Parker (yes, that Dorothy Parker) is bored. She has been hanging around the Algonquin hotel, her old haunt, continuing to drink, but all of her friends have already gone into the light. Then, the perfect companion comes to stay at the Algonquin with the intention to commit suicide.With the help of a plucky female reporter (no, not that plucky female reporter), who has intentions on the living author of her own, Dorothy is out to convince the man to kill himself and stay out of the light so that she will be less bored haunting the famous bar where she was also often seen while still alive.

#8 The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun

glasses car & gun

Sebastien Japrisot’s The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun is a mystery novel. I read this novel more than 10 years ago, and still remember the near-sighted protagonist who is desperately trying (and failing) to hide this ocular issue.

#9 On the Edge

on the edge

On The Edge (Sweet Valley High Book 40), by “Francine Pascal,” is undoubtedly the best of the SVH books. Regina Morrow is heartbroken because Bruce Patman kissed another girl (freakin’ schemin’ Amy), and because of this, she does cocaine once at a party, guys. That’s right, this rich, deaf girl completely defined herself by her rich, sexy, jerk of a boyfriend, and once that relationship was over, she almost immediately began ignoring Nancy Reagan.

And after doing cocaine? Just once? At a high school party? She dies.

Scarring children for years, this book is simultaneously poorly written and, from an adult perspective, hilarious. (So… read it as an adult.)

#10 How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life

ebb saved life

Mameve Medwed’s novel How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life is a novel about a woman who seems to be losing at life, takes a chance, and learns what she wants and that it is possible to get it. This book is a great book to read when your life is hard and might seem unbearable – hopefully, it will remind you that if you keep striving, eventually, your life might become something you genuinely enjoy.

a wrap

What do you think of my 10 unpopular picks? Have you read any of them? Do you agree with my descriptions/opinions/etc.? What are some of your favorite unpopular reads? Please let me know by leaving a comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Beach Reads

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It is the Top Ten Tuesday I was born to write a blog post about, guys:
top 10 beach reads

I am a huge fan of the beach read. The sun on my skin, the salt in the air, and becoming lost in the words of an easy read that I don’t have to remember. Although, even a beach read, if well written, will be remembered.

These are the 10 beach reads most particularly enjoyed.

#1 Princess Daisy

princess daisy

Judith Krantz’s Princess Daisy is my ultimate beach read. It primarily details the early life of Princess Marguerite Alexandrovna Valensky, affectionately known as “Princess Daisy.” Born into a life of royalty and luxury, her family has a couple of secrets that are probably darker than the average bear’s. Fleeing her family for the sake of her own safety and sense of ethics, Princess Daisy works to make a life and a living on her own, while masquerading as someone who still has the money and privileges with which she was born in the presence of people who still know her as the Princess.

Full of scandal, intrigue, and a healthy dose of sex, this beach read is a pleasurable saga to read during a leisurely week.

#2 My Best Friend’s Exorcism

exorcism

Grady Hendrix’s novel My Best Friend’s Exorcism is one of my new favorite beach reads. This novel is a must-read for anyone who has a fondness for teenage ’80s movies and horror movies. Think John Hughes meets Linda Blair and everyone is covered in split-pea soup.

I already wrote a blog post about this book, so I will abstain from going on about this book ad nauseam here. Suffice to say, I think Grady Hendrix is a genius, and that you should read this book.

#3 Britt-Marie was Here

britt-marie

Fredrik Backman’s Britt-Marie Was Here is, quite simply, a novel that you can read anywhere. It’s lovely, the characters are perfect, and you. Should. Read. It.

Or re-read it, it you’ve already read it once.

#4 Anna and the French Kiss

anna

Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss is a great escape. Join Anna Perkins, a sassy teen from Atlanta, as she is forced to go a Parisian boarding school.

eifel tower eye roll
I know… hard life, right?

I admit, this novel definitely has some privileged white-girl shit going on. But if there is a time to envelope yourself in a world of privilege and money, it is probably while you are sunbathing and reading on the beach. Also, this novel has a realistic teenage protagonist and presents one of the sweetest, most realistic love stories you will ever read.

Live in Paris for the duration of a novel, and fall in love with Etienne.

#5 The School for Good and Evil

school for good & evil

Soman Chainani’s The School for Good and Evil is an addictive, engaging read. Riffing off of the fairy tales that we know and love so well, this novel details the friendship between Agatha and Sophie as the two girls navigate their first year at the school for good and evil, which teaches fairy tale protagonists and antagonists how to navigate their way through a fairy tale.

A quick, enjoyable read that will question the way that you think about fairy tales, I highly recommend reading this novel this summer.

#6 Practical Magic

practical magic

Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic is one of those rare novels that not only includes magic as a plot element, but feels magical while you are reading it. It somehow manages to write a saga detailing the family of two sisters who are witches in a way that feels realistic, although the things happening in the novel are very unlikely to occur in reality. For a saga, the novel is not very many pages, but those pages are highly enjoyable and highly recommended.

#7 The Secret Keeper

secret keeper

Kate Morton has written a few novels, but I can only comment on The Secret KeeperLaurel Nicolson’s mother Dorothy has been hiding a dark secret, stemming from the times of WWII (spoiler alert: Dorothy was not a Nazi). This novel has fame, riches, love, and secrets. Perfect for a summer beach read.

#8 Keeping the Moon

keeping the moon

You can’t have a good beach read list without Sarah Dessen. While you can pretty much read any Sarah Dessen novel and receive my stamp of approval, Keeping the Moon is perhaps the most fitting example to list separately since it literally takes place at the beach and details a summer of transformation. A YA novel full of change, hope, and transformation, this novel can (and should) be read by everyone, and summer just happens to be a great time to remember to do so.

#9 Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story

bloodsucking fiends

Christopher Moore’s novel Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story is as funny as the title suggests. Jody and Thomas are two average Americans, until they discover and become embroiled in the vampire underworld. Escaping into the twisted, funny mind of Christopher Moore’s San Francisco is highly entertaining and recommended.

#10 Gossip Girl

gossip girl

Before it was a scathing and addictive television show, Gossip Girl #1 was a scathing and addictive book series, written by the talented Cecily von Ziegesar. This novel is pure escapism – rich kids engaging in shenanigans, all detailed by the anonymous “gossip girl” on her website. What I found intriguing while reading was not the similarities between the TV show and the novel, but what the TV show chose to distort or leave out. The characters are much more complex in the novel, which is less moralistic than the television show was (at least in the first novel, which is the only one I read).

Highly recommended if you want to spend some time with young, rich kids who never get in enough trouble.

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Those are my top 10 beach reads. What are yours? Please share in the comments below! It is always nice to have a good beach read on hand for those times you just need to escape and want something light to read.

Beach picture: By No machine-readable author provided. Seano1~commonswiki assumed (based on copyright claims). [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books I Picked Up on A Whim

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toptentuesday

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, courtesy of the imaginative The Broke and the Bookish, is:

happy

For the purposes of this post, I am going to recount the last 10 books that I picked up on a whim, rather than 10 books I picked up on a whim and really enjoyed. I am not including advanced reader copies, or books that I picked up on  a whim from an author that I know I enjoy or about whom I have heard spoken highly.

We will begin with the book I am currently reading, The Book Class, by Louis Auchincloss.

book classI picked this book up at the library. The title caught my eye, I took a brief glance at the inside front cover, and thought the novel might be a good read. So far, I am enjoying it. Narrator Christopher Gates looks at pivotal moments in the lives of the women in his mother’s book club, a group of women whom he generally admired and who had a great influence on his life. These women are rich, cultured, and intelligent. So far, I am greatly enjoying it.

Next up, is Gigi Pandian’s The Accidental Alchemist.
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accidental alchemist

Another library read, about which I have already written a blog post. In summary, it was okay. Not my favorite mystery, but not absolutely terrible.

Another recent whimsical choice was Immaculate, by Katelyn Detweiler.

immaculate

A book that I chose on a whim, because I thought it might be an interesting read. About a modern-day immaculate conception for a regular teenage girl in high school, this book is as religion-heavy as you might expect. It is not necessarily a terrible novel, but it is not very well written, I skimmed rather than read it, and not only would I not read it again, I also would not recommend it.

Another whimsical choice this year was Echo Shea’s Light a Candle For the Beast: A Beauty and the Beast Retelling: A Dark Fairy Tales Novella.

light a candle for the beast

This novella is an inexpensive e-book available on Amazon, and I did not like itBUT I was in the minority. Browsing through Goodreads reviews will show you that the majority of readers really enjoy this dark re-telling of Beauty and the Beast.

A book I purchased on a whim for my e-reader was Rachel Higginson’s The Rush (The Siren Series Book 1).

the rush

As long-time readers of my blog are aware, I tried to get a mutual reading and group discussion going for this novel via multiple blog posts (see link 1, link 2, link 3, and link 4), which was not successful, although the multiple blog posts did make it abundantly clear that I was not a fan of this book.

Another whimsical e-book read was Confiscating Charlie: A Singular Obsession Novelette, by Lucy Leroux.

Confiscating Charlie

A short erotica story about stepsiblings that seems like it’s supposed to be about a sweet, somewhat invisible, but beautiful girl taming her wild stepbrother through the power of wild sex, this story feels like one that will appeal to those who have fetishes about nearly incestual relationships in which the woman needs to be “protected.” Those fetishes are not mine, so this story did not exactly suit me, but it’s definitely not a terrible story, and if those fetishes are yours, you should give it a read.

Then, there is Season of the Witch, by Natasha Mostert.

season of the witch

This book was entertaining and slightly preachy (in a manner that I found hilarious). This book is sort of like a terrible, completely unaware soap opera that is fun to make fun of. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Another erotica recently purchased without much insight is Selena Kitt’s This Time, Baby: A Stepbrother Romance (First Time With My Stepbrother).

this time, baby

This short story had a female protagonist who was supposed to be a “sexy tease,” but whom I found to be one of the most annoying women, ever. To each his own; just don’t “flirt” with me that way if you want to get laid.

Dani Ripper’s Promise You Won’t Tell? (A Dani Ripper Novel Book 2) is a novel that I selected to read on my iPhone.

promise you won't tell

This novel had promise, but the writing did not live up to that promise. The beginning drew me in, but the plot quickly turned into something that was predictable, and reading this novella turned into a chore. Sadly, I do not recommend. Although, this novella is the second in a series, and perhaps the first novella is much better.

We will finish with How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life, by Mameve Medwed.

how elizbeth barrett browning saved

This novel is another one that I really enjoyed. This novel details a time in Abby Randolph’s life when she takes advantage of the opportunities that she stumbles across to slowly change her life into one in which she is empowered and fulfilled. I highly recommend this novel, particularly if you are in the midst of some hard times.

ta da
That’s 10!

Those are the 10 books I recently purchased on a whim. What about you? Please share your recent whimsical book purchases with me in the comments (and feel free to share a link to your Top 10 Tuesday post, if you have written one as well)!