The Top Five Highest Rated Books According to GoodReads on my TBR Stack, The 2020 Edition!

Last year one of my many reading plans was to read the top five highest rated books according to GoodReads on my owned books TBR stack. Click on this link to see the original post & plans. But, not surprisingly,  I never got around to reading any of them. It was one of those years, y’all.  A couple of days ago I looked over the list from last year and compared it to the highest rated books I own as of January 14, 2020. And the list had changed quite a bit. Only two books from last year actually is on this years top five. So, due to the change of line up, it sort of encouraged me to try this plan again this year. And many of the books will fit the prompts of the various Reading Challenges I’m attempting, too. So it’s another solid reason why to attempt this personal challenge again.

Here are the guidelines I’m using for this challenge:

  • I’m using GoodReads ratings to pick the books.
  • Books must have at least 100 ratings on GoodReads.
  • Books that I own as of December 31, 2019. Books purchased after this date will not be included this year.
  • All the ratings are as of January 14, 2020 on GoodReads.
  • I will read and write a review for each book before the end of the year.

So, here is the list:

FFC92875-57D4-40A6-A8E4-3CC3B6442882Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat. This book is the highest rated book on my TBR. Average Rating:  4.53 Stars. 12,193 ratings. 1,084 reviews. I own a hard back copy of the book.


06B8C19A-7944-4662-9753-42BAC32134F1 Harry Potter & Philosophy: If Aristotle Ran Hogwarts Edited by David Baggett and Shawn E. Klein. Average Rating: 4.48 stars. 11,454 ratings. 92 reviews. I own the paperback.



16E232A3-CB6E-4C1D-8317-EEDA4A5AD4DE Hogwarts Library by J.K. Rowling. Average Ratings: 4.47. 6,330 ratings. 185 Reviews. The three titles included in this collection are Fantastic Beasts, Quidditch Through the Ages, & The Tales of Beedle the Bard. This is a hardback collection.



6D19B45C-22E5-4AB6-8EC6-153AB1807641 Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande. Average Ratings 4.45 stars. 113,295 ratings. 13,568 reviews. I own a hardback. This is one of the books on my original list. Another hardback copy.


broken angelBroken Angels by Gemma Livero. Average Ratings: 4.44 stars. 9,587 ratings. 729 reviews. I won a Kindle copy a year or two ago? I really need to read and review this one. And it is the other book that was  on my original list.


What do you think? What does your top five look like, if you use GoodReads, of course. Have you read any of the books on my list? If so what do you think of it? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Reading!


Here is a link to the original you tube video that inspired my original list in 2019:


My Best & Worst Reads of 2019


Happy New Year everyone! I know it’s been a while since I last posted on my blog, but one of my goals for this year is to post more regularly and to focus on writing more original content. With that in mind, here is my first post of the year focusing on (wait for it!) my best and worst reads of the past year.

daisy jones 3

Overall Best Book: Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. The Audio Version.



Image Worst Book: The King’s Curse by Phillipa Gregory.




Image Biggest Surprise: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia




Image Biggest Disappointment: The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic By Emily Croy Barker



Image Most Thought Provoking: The Last Innocent Hour by Margot Abbott




Image Most Over-Hyped: The Whisper Man by Alex North





Favorite Non-Fiction: The Library Book by Susan Orlean




Most Beautifully Written: The Night Tiger I by Yangsze Choo




Image Best Historical Romance: Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore





Best Contemporary Romance: The Bride Test by Helen Hoang




ImageBest Fantasy: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo





Best Re-Read: Lord of Scoundrels and The Last Hellion both by Loretta Chase



So that’s my list. What do you think? Do you disagree with my choices? What are your best and worst books of 2019? Let me know in the comments below. If you are interested in a more detailed account of my reading last year, here is a link to my GoodReads Year in Books. Happy Reading!



Happy Birthday, Harry Potter

***I originally posted this a couple of years ago to celebrate the publication date of the first novel. I’m taking a bit of break from blogging to catch up on my reading and writing goals for this blog. I’ll be back in the Fall.

Twenty years ago on June 26, 1997 Harry Potter was first published in the UK. And the reading world has not been the same.

This series of books has launched movies, merchandise, and fan fiction. Publishers are on the prowl continually looking for the “new” Harry Potter. Children have grown up with Harry and are there are  now children being introduced for the first time to his wizarding world. But not all fans of J.K. Rowling’s series were children when the series first appeared 20 years ago.

I was in my early 30’s when I first read about Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone  in 1998. I was reading an essay about children’s books since I was always on the look out at the time for good books for my kids to read. At that time both kids were close in age to Harry in that first book. Both kids were readers and I thought they might enjoy this story that had taken the UK by storm. So, the next time I went to the store I bought it for the kids. And they both loved it. Loved it! The pestered me to read it too certain I would enjoy it as much as they did. But I put it off since that summer I was taking classes at the local community college and getting ready for a cross-country move. Harry would have to wait.

By the fall of 1999, we were settled in our new home, getting ready to go back to school, and waiting for the paperback version of the second Harry Potter book to come out. I knew my kids were very excited to read more about Harry’s adventures. They pestered me to read the book too, but I was enrolled in college busy reading the required texts and hadn’t time to read for pleasure at all. So again, Harry would have to wait.

It wasn’t until the third book in the series was published that I read the books. The film version was coming out and I try to read the books before I see the movie, if at all possible. So, finally, that summer of 2001, I belatedly sat down and read Harry’s story. And I loved it. I finished the first book in a day and moved on to the second, then the third. I was hooked. Later, when the fourth book came out, we all went to the Harry Potter book release party at the local B&N. (I miss those book release parties. They were such fun.) After we bought the book, like a good mom, I gave it to one of the kids to read. In the car. On the way home. In the dark.  And “encouraged” her to stay up all night and read it. Because her brother and I needed our turn! After she finished it, the boy took his turn. But he stopped at some point to play video games. So, while he played video games, I read. I suppose I could have bought two books or books for all of us, but money was tight in those days so all three of us shared the books.

At some point J.K. Rowling slowed down a bit and needed more time to write Harry’s story. But my kids didn’t slow down. They grew up and became older than Harry. By the time the final book was published both kids were grown and gone. And they bought their own copies of Harry Potter to read.

But we three can still argue about Harry Potter when they come home. Their dad, who has not read any of the books, has seen all of the movies and can follow our discussions. Harry was such a part of their young adulthood that realizing how many years ago it all started is shocking to me. It’s shocking because the kids who read Harry Potter are now adults. My kids are adults. Harry, Hermione, and Ron are adults, too. How can that be?

Have you fond memories of reading Harry Potter for the first time? Let me know in the comments below.


Emily Brontë, Poet.

I’m re-posting this in honor of Emily Bronte’s birthday.

Coffee and Cats

It’s National Poetry Month and to celebrate it, I’m sharing one of the Brontë sisters poems each week. Most readers know that the sisters wrote novels and stories, but it may surprise many to find out they also wrote poetry. Here is Emily Brontë’s Warning and Reply.

Death and nature are themes found in Emily’s novels and poetry, it seems. Spoiler alert! This fascination with death and the grave shows up in Wuthering Heights. And the scene that focuses on it directly is something else. (Gothic indeed!)

**If you are interested in reading more of Emily Brontë’s poetry, you can find it where I did: Project Gutenburg. Here is a link to the collection of the Brontë sisters poetry.

Are you a fan of the Brontë sisters? Have you read their poetry? What do you think of this poem? Does it make you want to delve deep into…

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Jane Austen: A Few of My Favorite Things.

**I originally posted this in 2017 to mark the 199th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. I think I was confused about the date since last year–2018–is the 200th anniversary. Anyway, my favorite things haven’t  changed. 😎

This past Tuesday –July 18th– was the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death at the age of 41. And there have been “think pieces”  about her contributions to literature, and tributes to Jane all over the internet. So, of course, I want to add my own thoughts about Jane Austen to the deluge.

But rather than try to write authoritatively on Jane Austen and her contribution to literature, I’m instead listing my favorite books, movie/TV adaptations, and stuff that I’ve collected over the years.

So, here are  a few of my favorite Austen things.

Jane Austen Mug from The Unemployed Philosophers Guild. See the photo above for my actual mug. As I took the photo that mug had coffee in it. I love this mug so much. It’s covered in fabulous quotes from Austen’s novels. And drinking my coffee and reading the sharp and beloved words of Jane is always a good way to start the day.

And, from Out of Print, this lovely tote bag.  It’s just so pretty. And they have this P&P print on a t-shirt as well. 





Pride and Prejudice (Special Edition) by Colin FirthMy favorite TV adaptation of Pride & Prejudice.  There are many out there, it is true. In my opinion there is only one adaptation worth watching( this one) and only one Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth) and Lizzie Bennet (Jennifer Ehle). And I will fight you about this.




Sense & Sensibility (Special Edition)

My favorite movie adaptation is  Sense & Sensibility. I think this may have more to do with Emma Thompson and the late Alan Rickman. I re-watched this over the weekend and it is so good.






My favorite Jane Austen novel: Persuasion. It’s all about regrets. The regret that Anne feels for rejecting PersuasionCaptain Wentworth. The Musgove’s regret that Anne didn’t marry Charles. He married Anne’s sister Mary-a snob-who makes them all miserable. As a middle aged person I have many regrets too, and I think that’s why I love this novel and the way Austen explores the characters regrets. And this cover on this edition from Penguin Classiscs. Love it. (By the way, the BBC 1995 adaptation of this novel is a close runners up for favorite movie adaptation.)

Bitch In a Bonnet: Reclaiming Jane Austen From the Stiffs, the Snobs, the Simps and the Saps, Volume 1My favorite book about a Jane Austen’s novel: Bitch in a Bonnet: Reclaiming Jane Austen from the Stiffs, the Snobs, the Simps and the Saps, volume 1 by Robert Rodi. This book explores the critical eye that Jane Austen cast on the world in which she lived.




LongbournAnd my favorite Jane Austen adjacent novel is LongbournI’m not a fan of novels based on classic novels like The Wizard of Oz. (I really disliked Wicked. A lot. Its one of those books I threw across the room before I finished it.) But this particular novel is one of my favorite reads of 2014.  





And finally, here are some links to two of my favorite Jane Austen think pieces published across the internet the last week or two:

This article from The Atlantic was originally published in August 2014 and came up in my Facebook feed over the weekend. It tackles an issue that is evident from the first line of Austen’s most famous novel, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Wealth is important in Austen’s novels.

And this essay published this week on the web site Literary Hub  makes a point I’ve long argued. Mrs. Bennet maybe a foolish woman, but she isn’t wrong to worry, fuss, and plot marriages for her five daughters.

Are you a fan of Jane Austen? Do you agree with my favorites? Or do you disagree most vehemently? Let me know in the comments below.

The Friday 56: #100


It’s time for  Friday 56!  It’s a book meme hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice. Be sure to visit her blog if you would like to participate.

From Freda’s Voice The Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader  (If you have to improvise, that’s okay.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post in the Linky at Friday 56. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple!

Here is my contribution:

“Nonsense. Any man with eyes can see you’re a diamond of the first water.”

‘A diamond in the rough, perhaps,” she quipped. “And apparently, only blind men live around here.”

Ah, yes. The goal of every Regency miss is to be declared a diamond of the first water.

I won this book from #GoodReadGiveaways back in April, but it will not be released until the end of July 2019. I’ll post my review when we get a bit closer to the release date.  What do you think? Will you rush out to buy it then? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Reading.



The Friday 56, #99


It’s time for  Friday 56!  It’s a book meme hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice. Be sure to visit her blog if you would like to participate.

From Freda’s Voice The Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader  (If you have to improvise, that’s okay.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post in the Linky at Friday 56. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple!

Here is my contribution:


“Rude,” Sarah murmurs, but she doesn’t fight him when he catches her behind the knees and lifts her into his arms. Shit. Watch and learn, Ryan Gosling. This man didn’t need to wade into a lake to melt fair lady’s heart.

For clarification, I mean Sarah’s heart, not mine.

So, what do you think? Would you read this book? Have any of you read this? What do you think of it?  I know it’s a part of Reese’s Book Club, and I think she plans on making this a movie, so I imagine a lot of people have read it and like it. I read it and like it; it’s fine. I think it is very similar to Normal People by Sally Rooney and One Day by David Nicholls, but more lighthearted. And that’s fine. I guess I’m saying that it’s, you know, fine. Tell me what you think in the comments below. Do you think it’s……fine?

Happy Reading!