Top Ten Tuesday: The Four Elements


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is books with nature on the cover. I’m doing a bit of a spin on this and featuring the four elements of nature – water, fire, earth, and air. I love reading about things like the elements and planets and star signs. I also couldn’t decide which element or aspect of nature I wanted to focus on, so this way I could combine all!

Water

Fire

Earth

Air

Which element is your favourite? Have you read any of these books? Feel free to drop me a comment and link up to your TTT as well 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Standout Books of 2020

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is top ten reads of 2020. I got back into reading this year in a big way. I read many more books than I have in the past few years, thanks to quarantine (especially in spring when everything was closed). I also read some stellar books that reminded me why I’ve always loved reading, and prompted me to read more and seek out amazing finds (and to also DNF ones that aren’t speaking to me – why waste time?) Without further ado…

Writers & Lovers by Lily King – One of my favourite books of the year, and maybe of all-time. It truly captures, unlike any other book I’ve read, that period in your late 20s/early 30s, when you’re trying to figure your life out. When all your friends seem to be in long-term relationships or married or having kids while you’re still dating around. When your friends have given up on their creative aspirations while you’re still slaving away at your novel or chasing after other creative pursuits. When you’re trying to get by and things keep piling up – heartbreak, grief, health scares. It was so relatable to me for many, many reasons, and is inspiration for exactly the kind of novel I aim to write.

Gravity is the Thing by Jaclyn Moriarty – When I was a teen, I loved reading Jaclyn Moriarty’s children’s and young adult novels, like The Year of Secret Assignments and Feeling Sorry for Celia. This is her first adult novel, and it has her usual quirky charm and clever wit. It is original and magical, funny and heartbreaking all at once. One of those rare novels where you have absolutely no idea where it’s headed – and where seemingly unconnected characters and plot points combine wonderfully at the end.

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane – This book tackles some heavy topics such as mental illness and alcoholism, but it is an ultimately redemptive novel about family and forgiveness.

Lie With Me by Philippe Besson – Like a pared-down, straightforward version of Call Me By Your Name. It shot me like an arrow through the heart – I dare you not to cry at the last lines.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston – I didn’t expect to like this as much as I did, as I’m not usually a fan of romance novels, but this was genuinely delightful. Full of millennial sass, charming banter, political optimism, and an adorable enemies-to-lovers story.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett – I read this as part of a virtual company book club one of my coworkers organized, and I’m so glad I did! It was so well-written, and I could not stop turning the pages.

Swimming in the Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski – A poetic, lyrical, moving, emotional, literary debut set in Communist-era Poland. One of those books you read slowly because you don’t want it to end.

We the Animals by Justin Torres – A coming-of-age story about three rambunctious brothers, half-white and half-Puerto Rican, told in the form of short stories or snippets from their strange and tumultuous childhood.

Girl, Unframed by Deb Caletti – Deb Caletti never disappoints, and this is no exception. An important YA thriller about self-discovery, internalized misogyny and sexism, and the male gaze.

Have you read any of these books? What were your favourite reads of the year?

Top Ten Tuesday: Wintry Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is a holiday/seasonal freebie, so I’m going with a winter theme: wintry covers, snowy settings, books that evoke a cold, wintry vibe – whether literally, through the setting, or metaphorically. Bring on the untouched snowbanks and barren trees, icicles and frost, icy blues and pure whites, ice skating and freezing snow storms.

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler: Figure skating girls. Hockey playing boys. Cupcakes described in tantalizing detail. Falling in love and all the worries, fears, and butterflies that come along with it. What more could you want in a holiday read? Along with the cover, the whole novel feels encompassed in wintry vibes.

Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara: I haven’t read this yet, but that cover! That title! It sounds like a poetic contemporary novel about grief, set in the woods in the middle of winter. And it seems the title is taken from Robert Frost’s poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.

The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan: A realistic contemporary novel with similarities to Looking for Alaska – a prestigious boarding school, a clandestine romance, a senior year thesis project, and a slowly unravelling mystery/tragedy.

Once I Was Cool by Megan Stielstra: I’ve heard many great things about this collection of essays – relatable! refreshing! insightful! heartbreaking! – and can’t wait to read it. The essays themselves don’t necessarily relate to this winter theme, but the cover sure does!

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson: An emotional, lyrical, hard-hitting novel. Snow, ice, and cold are used as symbols throughout.

The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson: Vanishing girls in a small town. A lonely ghost. A winter snow storm. Despite all of this, The Vanishing Season is actually a slow-moving, introspective coming-of-age story. The setting and descriptions of the snow are so atmospheric, and emphasize the sense of loneliness and isolation.

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr: This novel takes familiar themes – teen pregnancy, adoption, overcoming grief – and spins a refreshing, compelling, emotional, and ultimately uplifting coming-of-age story. And I remember thinking the alternating viewpoints were done so well!

The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock: What a beautiful cover. That was the original reason I added it to my TBR list. The snowy Alaskan setting seems like it would make this book the perfect winter read.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman (and its sequel, Us Against You): Such a quintessential winter scene – playing hockey on an outdoor ice rink in a small town. This book and its sequel are on my TBR list, and I keep hearing rave reviews.

Have you read any of these? What are your favourite wintry reads? Leave me a comment 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Book Quotes

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is favourite book quotes. I was born ready to do this one! I have notebooks under my bed where I write down quotes that stand out to me while reading. There were so many to choose from – the only challenge was narrowing them down. I’ll have to do a follow-up post with the quotes that got cut from this first round 🙂

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Top Ten Tuesday: Beautiful Book Covers

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is a book cover freebie. They say never to judge a book by its cover… But sometimes, that’s exactly what jumps out at you and prompts you to read the back cover or the first line. Here are 10 gorgeous books I want to read, many of which are on my to-read list in large part because of their beautiful covers.

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Books Set Around the World II

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week we’re revisiting a past Top Ten Tuesday topic and redoing or updating it. I’m revisiting my past post Top Ten Books Set Outside the US and adding more books I’ve read that are set around the world! I love travelling, but sometimes outside factors affect your ability to travel – like time, finances or, you know, being in the midst of a global pandemic. Luckily we have books so that we can explore other countries and cultures from our own homes. And here’s hoping travel can safely open up soon!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Best Opening Lines

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is best opening lines. When I first saw this topic, half of the following opening lines immediately popped into my head. That’s the power of a good opening line or paragraph – it draws you in and sticks with you long after you’ve completed the novel. Some are short and punchy; some lyrical and mysterious. All intrigue the reader to dive into the story, and inspire writers to craft a kick-ass introduction.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Reads

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is a Halloween freebie. I rarely read scary stories or watch scary movies. I avoid anything horror or paranormal and I hate gore. I’m more of a realistic contemporary kind of reader, although lately I’ve been enjoying magical realism and poetry as well. I do enjoy a good suspense-filled mystery, however. As such, this list features books that are mysterious or creepy or subtly scary — perfect October reads.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Sensory Reading Memories

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Although this week’s topic is top ten villains, I’m returning to a previous topic that I missed the first time around: books with sensory reading memories. This topic is such an interesting and unique one, so I knew I had to write about it at some point. I am the type of person who can remember what I was wearing on my first day of grade nine. I know what year and with whom I watched a certain movie. I can listen to songs from high school and be instantly brought back to a certain memory. So here are a couple books that I strongly associate with certain memories!

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Throwback Thursday: My First Teen Reads

I was thinking about Throwback Thursdays and nostalgia and some of the teen books I read back in late elementary school and early high school, and then I thought, why don’t I combine those topics into a blog post? So here are some of the very first teen books I remember checking out, when I first ventured into the teen section of my local library. (I hope this doesn’t date me too much!)

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