Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Book Quotes

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

I love quotes and it doesn’t matter where they come from – books, TV, movies, song lyrics – they just stick in my brain and come out at the most random of times.  Having a Kindle really helps with this obsession since I don’t have to stop and write them down any longer – I can just highlight and save for later.  Neat, huh?  Also, you should see my Kindle Notes and Highlights.

Here are some of my favorites, and I hope I didn’t repeat any from the last time we did this topic.

“Don’t swim with the dolphins during a labor dispute. No matter how much they try to convince you otherwise” ― John Scalzi, Starter Villain

‘That’s the role of poetry, Ciri. To say what others cannot utter.’ – Andrzej Sapkowski, The Time of Contempt

“This is who I am. I can’t change. I don’t want to, really. But for once I’m gonna put this devil inside me to good use.” – S. A. Cosby, Razorblade Tears

“Guncle Rule number eight: Live your life to the fullest every single day, because every day is a gift. That’s why people die. To teach us the importance of living.” – Steven Rowley, The Guncle

I usually define fear as the thing I feel when the unexpected happens. Anxiety is when I’m doing something that I already know is stupid. – Andrew Mayne, Black Coral

A clever, thoughtless person is one of the most terrifying things there is. – Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

Intimidation was a drug. But control was an illusion. – Meg Gardiner, Into the Black Nowhere

In her mind, where the line between fact and fiction is often blurred, murder is simply a solution to a problem. – B. A. Paris, Behind Closed Doors

Perhaps a heart was indeed like a piece of dry birchwood, and could only take fire and burn brightly once—that any fire that came after would be only an ember, smaller and cooler. – Tad Williams, Shadowmarch

“I’ve seen too much of the underside of life to have much confidence in people. I don’t really believe in happy endings.” I felt him swallow. “But I’ve come to believe in you.” – Kathy Reichs, Grave Secrets

I highly recommend all of the books I’ve quoted here, especially Starter Villain by John Scalzi.  He has this amazing way of taking the ridiculous and making it make sense.  Much like Douglas Adams did.  And, on that note, one last bonus quote for the road:

“There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

There is another theory which states that this has already happened.” – Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Top Ten Tuesday: Unread Books on My Shelves I Want to Read Soon

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

I love my local libraries and they’re such a great resource for so many things.  Plus, there’s this beautiful thing called a holds list.  Trouble is, I work full-time and have a family, so I don’t always get through books as fast as I’d like sometimes.  This, in turn, leads me to play this game I like to call hold list roulette.  I keep clicking ‘deliver later’ because I’m either not in the mood for that particular book or because I’m buried in ARCs, group reads, or other things.

Too bad there’s not a payout for finally borrowing that book you’ve pushed back fifteen times.

Here’s a list of the oldest books on my holds list.

Insurgency by Jeremy W. Peters.  April 3, 2022

Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jesse Q. Sutano.  August 31, 2022

Cultish by Amanda Montell.  September 11, 2022

Up to No Gouda by Linda Reilly.  January 22, 2023

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez.  November 18, 2022

It’s One of Us by J.T. Ellison.  February 16, 2023

Thief in the Night by KJ Charles.  June 28, 2023

The Only Purple House in Town by Ann Aguirre.  July 18, 2023

Forget the Alamo by Bryan Burrough.  November 9, 2023

And There He Kept Her by Joshua Moehling.  May 10, 2023.

What’s been lingering on your TBR, just begging to be read?

Top Ten Tuesday: Covers/Titles with Things Found in Nature

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This is a very loose take on today’s theme.  But I had a blast searching my previously read books for titles that included something at least closely related to nature.

1. Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh.  Nature is also a strong theme in this novella.  I highly recommend it.

2. Dead in the Water by Dana Stabenow.  This is the third in her Kate Shugak series, set in Alaska.  These books show the harshness of the area while also showcasing how beautiful it can be, too.

3. Thicker Than Water by Megan Collins. From Amazon, “In this “twisty, propulsive thriller” from Megan Collins, two sisters-in-law are at painful odds when the man who connects them—the brother of one, the husband of the other—is accused of a brutal crime.”

4. The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson.  This is set in Iceland and, much like the Kate Shugak series, showcases how brutal the cold and ice can be.

5. Sea Castle by Andrew Mayne.  Nature comes into play a lot in this series.  Set in Florida, it’s focused on an Underwater Investigation Unit that goes into lakes, rivers, and the ocean looking for clues to solve crimes.  This is one of my favorite series.

6. Desert Star by Michael Connelly. From Amazon, “LAPD detective Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch team up to hunt the brutal killer who is Bosch’s “white whale”—a man responsible for the murder of an entire family.”

7. The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes. From Amazon, “Armed with only hazy memories, a woman who long ago witnessed her friend’s sudden, mysterious death, and has since spent her life trying to forget, sets out to track down answers. What she uncovers, deep in the woods, is hardly to be believed…”

8. The Raging Storm by Ann Cleeves.  Set in North Devon, England, the weather often plays a role in this series.  However, this most recent installment in the Two Rivers series, the storm is a character in itself.

9. The Capybaras by Alfredo Solderguit.  This is an adorable children’s picture book with lovely illustrations and silly critters.

10. Out of the Storm by B. J. Daniels. From the blurb, ” It’s been twenty years since Daniel went missing in a refinery explosion and was finally declared dead, but Kate never gave up hope, convinced he was somewhere out there, suffering from amnesia.”

What natural finds did you uncover this week?  I did notice that so many book titles contain elements of nature, but not all are driven by that natural force either.  Looking back at my list, the ones where nature – be it a storm, an animal, or an element – plays a large role were the more interesting stories.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Quick Reads/Books to Read When Time is Short

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

As much as I love to sit down with a chonker and really immerse myself in a book, there isn’t always the time for that.  Not to mention the fact that I don’t always have the attention span for it either.  So, when I’m low on time or mental focus, I grab a short book to indulge my reading need.

Manga is a favorite of mine when I need a quick read.  I can usually get through one in an hour or so.  Some of my favorites lately:

Spy x Family by Tatsuya Endo

Heartstopper by Alice Osman

Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku by Fujita.

Yes, I’ll admit it, I tend to go for the goofy manga.

There are a ton of great novellas out there as well.

Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series, that starts with Every Heart a Doorway, is a great series with fast, engaging stories.

The first four installments of Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries, starting with All Systems Red, are short, fast reads as well.  This is a series I need to catch up on soon as I love it.

Another source of quick reads are cozy mysteries.  While they’re usually a full length novel, they tend to go faster for me since the plot is light and fun.  Some of my favorite cozy series:

Witchless in Seattle, which starts with Witch Slapped, is a fun paranormal cozy series by Dakota Cassidy.

Caroline Fardig’s Java Jive series is also a fun, quick read, set in a coffee shop in Nashville, TN.  The series starts with Death Before Decaf.

Mindy Quigley has an intense, but engaging series called Deep Dish Mysteries, set in a gourmet pizzeria in Geneva Bay, WI.  The first is Six Feet Deep Dish and is a great start to an excellent series.  My only complaint is I wind up craving pizza while reading these!

And to round it out, a couple of books I recently devoured in a short time.

Out of the Fog by Clarissa Ross is an engaging gothic romance with a bit of suspense thrown in.  It was published in 1970 and the writing is to the point, making the pages fly by.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie.  This comes in at just under 300 pages or about seven hours in audio.  However, I will say that I was so taken in by this mystery – and Richard Armitage’s narration of the audiobook – that I found myself unable to stop listening.


Top Ten Tuesday: Reasons Why I’m Thankful for Books

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Happy early Thanksgiving to everyone in the US!  And even if you aren’t American, it never hurts to be thankful for all the wonderful things in your life, right?

This week’s topic is: Reasons Why I’m Thankful for Books.

Books have long been a big part of my life and I’m sure most of you can relate.  Some of the reasons why I’m thankful to have a wide assortment of books in my life.

  1. They keep me entertained.
  2. They help me learn more about subjects I didn’t know much about before.
  3. They help me understand the world around me and the people that inhabit it.
  4. They bring me peace from the stress and anxiety of day-to-day life.
  5. They give me a reason to cuddle with my cats. Not that I need one, but still.
  6. They give me a way to spend time with someone while they’re doing something I don’t necessarily enjoy. Example: my husband was a huge gamer. I’d read while he played his video games, and it was a way to spend time together.
  7. They help me connect with my kids. I can read about subjects they’re interested in or books they’ve read.
  8. Audiobooks help me get through boring chores like folding laundry.
  9. Cookbooks help me explore the world through food as well as switch up my menu plans.
  10. They help me expand my horizons by inviting me to new worlds or by taking a new look at a familiar one.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Character Relationships

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

I love a good relationship in a novel, especially in a series.  It’s often what draws me back to an unfinished series.  They don’t have to be romantic relationships, either.  Sometimes, the best bonds are between friends.

  1. Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller (Harry Bosch/The Lincoln Lawyer) by Michael Connelly.

Harry and Mickey are half-brothers who only found each other later in life.  The thing that I love about their relationship is that Harry is an LAPD detective and Mickey is a defense lawyer, aka mortal enemies.  However, they learn to appreciate each other and form a strong, brotherly bond, often full of sharp barbs and fun banter.

  1. Geralt of Rivia and Julian Alfred Pankratz, Viscount de Lettenhove, aka Jaskier the Bard (The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski).

Their relationship is often a rough one, but even when they want to throw each other into the dragon’s den, they’re still there for each other.  I could include Yennefer of Vengerberg in this as well because she has a similar relationship with Jaskier.

  1. Sam and Amelia Rockwell (Rockwell Return Files by Jason Anspach).

From the very beginning, they have a great relationship.  She adores him, but keeps him in his place.  He loves her, and dotes on her, while respecting her.  This is huge considering the series is set in the 1950’s.

  1. Sloan McPherson and Scott Hughes (Underwater Investigation Unit by Andrew Mayne).

Sloan has a tendency to be a bit reckless and impulsive.  Scott, on the other hand, is former military and a dad, bringing a sense of balance to their partnership.  However, Scott can be a bit crazy, too, when the circumstances warrant it.  Which is probably why he and Sloan work so well together.

  1. Tempe Brennan and Andrew Ryan (Temperance Brennan by Kathy Reichs).

Tempe spends half the year working in Montreal for the police department identifying remains found.  This often leads to her working with her on and off again boyfriend, Detective Andrew Ryan.  Even when they’re not in a relationship, they work well together and always look after each other.  Plus, Ryan tends to be a smart aleck which I love.

  1. Lindsay Boxer and Rich Conklin (Women’s Murder Club by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro).

I could go on for pages about Lindsay’s relationship with Claire, Yuki, and Cindy.  But I think her partnership and friendship with longtime partner Rich goes unnoticed.  They are great together, often coming close to anticipating the other’s ideas and needs.  And, in the end, each would give everything for the other.

  1. Crowley & Aziraphale (Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman)

These two are something else.  Anytime an angel and a demon make friends, I’m all in.  An unlikely friendship turns to partners in crime of sorts and all sorts of chaos follows in their wake.

  1. Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams).

What more can you want out of a friend – who is also an alien, by the way – than to have them guide you through the universe, steal a spaceship, and take you to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe?  I mean, count me in.  Just keep the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters to yourself.  I have to work in the morning.

  1. Stephanie Plum and Lula (Stephanie Plum by Janet Evanovich).

Even after twenty-nine books, I’m still here for all the chaos that follows Steph and Lula.  Pass the TastyKakes and let the girls run wild because it’s sure to be an adventure.

  1. Mickey Haller and his entire crew (The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly).

Mickey is a great character and is honestly my favorite in the Bosch Universe.  He gets along with pretty much everyone.  An excellent example of this is him hiring his second ex-wife, Lorna, to be his office manager and her new boyfriend/husband as his investigator.  He and Cisco sometimes bump heads, but they always get to the bottom of the case.

What are some of your favorite relationships?


Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Audiobook Narrators

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This week’s topic is about audiobook narrators.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve really started to love audiobooks.  And with that comes a certain predisposition to narrators.  For me, the narrator has to have a clear, concise voice and enough animation to make the story interesting.  For me, it doesn’t mean they have to have voices for every character.  However, they do need to engage your ear and draw you in.   Here are some of my favorite narrators as well as a few I’d love to see tackle audiobooks in the future.  Oh, and beware – there will be a bit of a theme here.

Dick Hill.  I first encountered him when listening to the Harry Bosch novels by Michael Connelly.  Since he narrates the earlier books in the series, he is, for me, the ‘voice’ of Bosch.

Len Cariou.  My only experience with him as well is through Harry Bosch.  He’s the narrator of the mid-series novels, the ones I’m currently working my way through.

Titus Welliver.  Now, I’m jumping the gun here a bit because I haven’t actually gotten to the books that he narrates yet.  However, since he’s played Harry Bosch in seven seasons of Bosch, plus Bosch Legacy, I think he’s going to do a knockout job of it.

Lorelei King.  She narrates the later Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich.  The woman has such a way with the voices for the characters that whatever voice I’d had in my head before has been replaced by her.  And there’s something about listening to a ridiculous book that makes it ten times funnier in my opinion.

Stephen Fry.  He narrated my favorite book ever – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – and it caused me to fall in love all over again.  There’s something amazing and wonderful about having such a posh, cultured voice narrating the bizarreness that is Douglas Adams.  11/10 would recommend.

Marin Ireland.  I discovered her quite by accident.  Someone had recommended I read a book called Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson.  I could only get it in audio from the library so I figured why not.  Another ridiculous, but heartwarming book, with a deadpan narrator that doesn’t quite fit the craziness of the plot.  But it works.  It works so darn well.  One of my favorite audiobooks ever.

Neil Gaiman.  He’s narrated several of his own novels, which is a lot of fun.  He has a pleasant voice that really draws you into the story.

Some people I think would do a great job narrating:

Cary Elwes.  I say this because I got the audio version of his memoir, As You Wish and he does a fabulous job.  Plus, he just has an amazing voice overall.

Manuel Garcia-Rulfo.  Okay, confession time: I’m obsessed.  I love him as an actor and he’s handsome to boot.  But even better is his accent, which I find to be swoon-worthy.  Since he is now playing the role of Mickey Haller – I think he’d be the perfect person to narrate The Lincoln Lawyer novels that are a part of Michael Connelly’s Bosch Universe.

Lastly, one of my favorite Peloton instructors has a book coming out later this year.  And the audiobook just won’t quite be right if Cody Rigsby himself doesn’t narrate it.

Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2022

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I’m constantly branching out and finding new authors to read.  2022 wasn’t any exception.

1. Deanna Raybourn. Her book Killers of a Certain Age was such a fun read. Plus, you’ve got to love a book about four 60-year-old female assassins, right?

2. Sangu Maandanna. I borrowed The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches from the library on a whim. Such a cute book.

3. Markus Sakey. I’d had his book Afterlife on my TBR for a couple of years. I finally gave in and read it last year and his take on what happens after we die was fantastic.

4. Helen Monks Takhar. Such a Good Mother is a great story about motherhood and all the trials that come with it. Some mothers will honestly do anything for their children.

5. Ali Hazelwood. She’s become extremely popular over the last couple of years, so I indulged in Love on the Brain. Loved the mix of humor and science.

6. Isabel Cañas. The Hacienda had been presented as horror but ended up being more gothic suspense in the end. Either way, it was a very atmospheric and creepy novel.

7. Mindy Quigley. I snatched up the ARC for Six Feet Deep Dish because I a) love cozies and b) have a thing for pizza. Turns out it was a good choice. I’m eagerly awaiting the next in this cute series.

8. Jessie Q. Sutanto. I’d seen Dial A for Aunties on so many Top Ten Tuesday posts that I had to read it for myself. Tons of fun even if I did feel like I was about to have a panic attack at times – too many close calls, aunties!

9. Misha Popp. as I said in #7, I’m a big fan of cozy mysteries, especially when they’re food themed. I picked up the ARC for Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies around the same time I grabbed Six Feet Deep Dish. Yeah, I probably was hungry at the time, why do you ask? I really enjoyed the bit of magic that Misha Popp wove into Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies. Can’t wait to see where the series goes.

10. S. A. Cosby. Razorblade Tears was probably the toughest book I read in 2022. It’s both violent, angry, and heartbreaking at the same time. But it was absolutely worth it.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set In a Place I’d Love to Visit (real places or fictional)

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Since traveling isn’t possible for me at the moment (kids, pets, COVID, the usual), I’ll stick to traveling via the books I’m reading.

Places I’d like to visit that I discovered in books:

The Continent from Andrezej Sapkowski’s The Witcher series.  I’d love to meet elves, dwarves, and of course, Jaskier!

Icewind Dale, home to Drizzt Do’Urden, Bruenor Battlehammer, and more interesting characters.

Romania.  This has been featured in many books, but Mark Edwards’ Follow You Home really reawakened the urge to visit.  Just as long as nothing insane happens to me, thanks.

This is a two-fer: Charlotte, North Carolina and Montréal, Quebec, Canada. Kathy Reich’s Temperance Brennan series has really made me want to explore both cities.

The futuristic version of the US and Canada as depicted in Sean Grigsby’s Smoke Eaters.  I mean, dragons exist in that world!

Not exactly a place, but I’d love to take a trip on The Heart of Gold – the ship from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.  I want to know what it’s like to experience the improbability drive for myself.

Dublin, Ireland.  Although, in Catherine Ryan Howard’s book 56 Days, the country is in COVID lockdown, it’s still high on my list of places to visit someday.

Burning Lake, NY, a small, but exciting little town featured in the Natalie Lockhart novels by Alice Blanchard.

North Devon as it appears in Ann Cleeves’ Two Rivers series.  Although, I’m not sure I’d survive the cold!

Bellamy Bay, the bustling little coastal town in Esme Addison’s Enchanted Bay series.  A town where mermaid magic is alive and thriving?  Count me in.

What are some places you’d like to visit, either in real life or through the pages of a good book?

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Quote Freebie

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This week’s topic is a book quote freebie.  Which is perfect since I seem to collect book quotes.  I have no real theme for today other than these quotes either made me laugh, cry, or think about something differently.

  1. Men don’t have to pay attention the way we do. Men die because they make mistakes. Women? We die because we’re female.

This is from The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix.  It struck me for two reasons.  A) because it’s true and B) because a man put that thought onto paper.  Granted, the narrator is female, but still.

  1. Guncle Rule number eight: Live your life to the fullest every single day, because every day is a gift. That’s why people die. To teach us the importance of living.

There are so many quotes that I wanted to include from The Guncle by Steven Rowley, but most of what I saved were a bit um… inappropriate (albeit hilarious) … for this post.  This one got me though.

  1. When it comes to lying, there’s a golden rule: tell as much truth as you can. The truth is, after all, the easiest to remember. It’s the most consistent with inarguable fact.

From Bath Haus by P. J. Vernon.  This book was nuts, okay?  But that quote?  Right on the money.

  1. This is the terrible thing about a tragedy. It isn’t with you every minute. You forget it, and then you remember it again. And you see it with a stark quality: This is what is required of you now, just to get along.

From The Last Thing He Told Me by Lauren Dave.

  1. “There’s nothing wrong with being a mapmaker.” … “Of course not. And there’s nothing wrong with being a lizard either. Unless you were born to be a hawk.”

This is both inspirational and amusing at the same time.  From Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.

  1. Dress shoes but no socks? Is that a thing now? Jesus, seriously? I think that might be the fourth sign of the apocalypse.

From The Red Book by James Patterson and David Ellis.  This made me think of my daughter and how she’d react to such a sight.

  1. “Lemonade.” Oblivious to the danger, Daniel went behind the bar to find the pitcher and refill her glass. Shaking his head, he began to laugh weakly. “I am standing in a vampire’s lair, and he serves me lemonade.”

From The Turn by Kim Harrison.  I love it when a character recognizes the ridiculousness of a situation.

  1. Geralt knew that bonnet and that feather, which were famed from the Buina to the Yaruga, known in manor houses, fortresses, inns, taverns and whorehouses. Particularly whorehouses.

From Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski.  I love this because what a way to introduce a character, right?  Geralt knows it’s Dandelion (Jaskier) by the feather alone.

  1. But I was wrong—I don’t need a man to look past my size. I need someone who’ll see me and love me exactly as I am. For all its flaws, this show made me believe that that’s possible.

From One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London.

  1. He smiled. If it was not for the fact that she knew he was a vicious murderer, the expression would have been pleasant. Eric Spears was a handsome man. A charming man. A brilliant one. A cunning and deadly animal.

I’m including this because I very rarely get consumed by the bad guy.  However, from the very first book in Debra Webb’s Faces of Evil series, I was half in love with the psycho Eric Spears.  This quote comes from the short story “My Evil Valentine” that was a prequel to the series.

Bonus quote: “Castellan,” said Geralt, “why act in haste? After all, I really could have an accident at work, irrespective of my intentions. Just in case, the wise men should be thinking about how to save me from the king’s anger and get those fifteen hundred orens, of which rumor speaks, ready.”

This is from The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski.  I laughed so dang hard when I read this.  Why?  Because Geralt is equating getting killed by a striga with a worker’s compensation claim.