Top Fifteen: Rainy-Day Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme was rainy-day reads.

The term “rainy-day read” always makes me think of a gloomy, dull Sunday where I don’t have any plans and can spend all day on the couch engrossed in a good book. Whatever the genre, a good rainy-day read sucks me into the plot and makes me loathe to leave its world—sometimes not even for food or bathroom breaks.

What makes a good rainy-day read for you? Did any of these make your list?

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
Blackout by Connie Willis
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl
The Passage by Justin Cronin

Renegades by Marissa Meyer
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine
The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

Top Ten: Books That Need a Sequel

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme was standalone books that need a sequel.

I had a really hard time with this week’s topic, y’all. The books I thought of first were either already part of a series or were so terrible that, even if I didn’t like the ending, I didn’t particularly care to read more. 😂 So, do the following books need a sequel? No, not really—but I also wouldn’t complain if they got one!

I Went to Vassar for This? by Naomi Neale
If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
Miss You by Kate Eberlen
My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren
Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
The Regional Office is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine
The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

BONUS! The following books were standalone, but now they all have sequels!!

Geekerella by Ashley Poston
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

Five Favorite: Atmospheric Thrillers

It’s taken me a full month to digest the seemingly innocuous Top Ten Tuesday prompt villains. (Please don’t ask why because I just don’t know.) Very few books I read have capital-V Villains, and I became bored scrolling through Goodreads trying to think of more than a handful or any one type. Since it’s so chilly/borderline cold in New England now AND it gets pitch black by four-thirty, I thought I’d explore creepy, chills-down-your-spine atmospheric thrillers instead — because sometimes a place itself can be the scariest thing.

Do you have your own favorite atmospheric thrillers? Let me know! To see previous topics, click here.

Review: What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine

Title: What Should Be Wild
Author: Julia Fine
Rating: ★★★★
Summary: Born with the power to kill or resurrect at her slightest touch, Maisie Cothay has spent her childhood sequestered in her family’s manor at the edge of a mysterious forest. Maisie’s father has warned her not to venture into the wood lest she vanish like her female ancestors – but one day he disappears, and Maisie must venture beyond the walls of her carefully constructed life to find him. Away from her home and the wood for the very first time, she encounters a strange world filled with wonder and deception. Yet the farther she strays, the more the wood calls her home. For only there can Maisie finally reckon with her power and come to understand the wildest parts of herself.


What Should Be Wild is a dark fantasy that explores the lies we tell one another and the ones we tell ourselves, the half-truths that tug at an idea in the back of our mind we refuse to acknowledge, but that end up calling out to us in whispers anyway. The novel – centered on an only-child and her social-anthropologist father –  is told in first-person when Maisie narrates her seventeenth summer and then in third when author Julia Fine focuses on the history of the Blakely women. (Maisie, it should be known, comes from a long line of “cursed” women who inhabit her home, Urizon, and then disappear into the thicket surrounding it.) Fine’s prose is lush with detail, as thick and tangled in places as the forest that encumbers on the estate. The care with which she sets up the novel’s backstory is evident in every chapter; the history of Maisie’s small, sheltered world is permanently etched into the stone and dirt and trees that both protect Urizon and also suffocate it.

I marveled at how timeless the book felt, as if it could have existed alongside the women whose lives it brought into being… perhaps because a part of Maisie exists with all of her ancestors, and they with her. She shares a wild vein that defines all Blakely women – which feels, at times, to physically encircle her ankle and drag her back into the forest. It’s the wildness that defies the Blakely name and its expectations, that marks each one of them as different or even dangerous, that keeps home in the bottom of their gut and dares to ask what if.

Fine’s novel is both the scary story we tell children to teach them fear and also the acceptance and acknowledgment of that fear. It’s a beautiful meditation on societal expectation, familial bond, and the bone-deep, almost physical desires we all have but maybe refuse to acknowledge, intricately woven into the mystery that spurs the plot. And, in a way, the book reminded me of what Grimm’s fairy tales could have been if they’d been more than just preserved medieval folklore. What Should Be Wild succeeds at acknowledging the wildness within its characters, but also letting us decide if that wildness is better left untamed.

What Should Be Wild makes me want to read all of the books set in spooky, scary woods! Here are some I’ve added to my list: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly, The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert, and Through the Woods by Emily Carroll.

Round-Up: My Spring 2018 TBR

The Top Ten Tuesday topic for March 20th was “books on my spring TBR,” and I pledged to read the following:

So, what did I actually read?

On the list…

Not on the list…

What I missed…

All in all, I didn’t do a terrible job – I read eight books out of a planned ten, but I only read 50% of those I actually wanted to read. (Isn’t that life??) Did any of you have a spring TBR? Did you stick to it? Let me know!

Top Ten: Books on My Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme was my top ten books currently* on my spring TBR. [*I say currently ’cause you know this is bound to change.]

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi // Giant Days, Vol. 6 by John Allison // The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas // Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen // The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

Inferno by Dan Brown // Lumberjanes, Vol. 8: Stone Cold by Shannon Watters // Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture by Roxane Gay // What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine // A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle