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Top Ten Tuesday: Titles That Made Me Want to Read the Book

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

I don’t generally have a strong opinion about book covers. There are many different cover styles that can catch my attention, and I still pick up covers that don’t necessarily appeal to me all that much to see what their blurbs have to say.

Stack of books leaning up against a wall. They’re between a window and a potted plant. Titles, however, are another story. A witty or unusual title will dramatically increase the probability of me picking up a particular book. I have been known to take books home that I might not have otherwise glanced at twice because of how much I adored their titles.

Therefore, this list is dedicated to fantastic titles from many different genres. I’ve read some of them and haven’t had the chance to pick up other ones.

1. When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? by George Carlin

2. Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

3. Zombies Vs. Unicorns by Holly Black

4.The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1) by Catherynne M. Valente

5. Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan

6. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett

7. The Celery Stalks at Midnight (Bunnicula, #3) by James Howe

8. Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies: A Guide to Language for Fun and Spite by June Casagrande

9. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

10. Dance Lessons for Zombies by Peter Hiett

Second Chances: A Review of The Ghost of Beth’s Mother

The Ghost of Beth's Mother by Twylla Johnson book cover. Image on cover shows ghostly female apparition with a silk sheet blowing against her body. Title: The Ghost of Beth’s Mother

Author: Twylla Johnson

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: February 20, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Historical

Length: 12 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3 Stars


Beth was a homely little misfit girl who lived at the Maudlin Mary Magdeline Orphanage. She claimed her mother, who had passed away a year before, was constantly with her. A wealthy widow named Mrs. Stone decided to adopt her. Does Mrs. Stone get more than she bargained for? Is Beth and her mother a package deal?


Content warning: car accident, adoption, and references to the death of a parent. I will not be discussing these things in my review.

Every child deserves a loving home.

It’s rare for me to read a ghost story that genuinely makes me shudder, but this one accomplished that. I really enjoyed Ms. Johnson’s take on why spirits decide to haunt the living, what they’re capable of, and what happens if the living don’t take the wishes of the dead seriously. She put such a creative spin on these topics, and I’m saying that as someone who has read this genre regularly for many years.

There was very little character development in this tale. While the main characters were all briefly described to the audience, I didn’t get to know them well and never really saw many indications of them growing and changing as a result of their experiences. That’s obviously not easy to do in only a dozen pages, but I would have happily gone with a higher rating if the author had put as much work into this as she did with the unique plot itself.

The final scene was nicely written. It tied up all of the most important conflicts of the plot, but it also left plenty of space for the reader to imagine what might happen to Beth and the widow who adopted her next. My hope is that the author will someday write a sequel to it. If that doesn’t happen, I’ll also be perfectly content to return to this world through rereads and quietly thinking about these characters’ possible futures.

If you’ve been missing truly scary paranormal fiction, The Ghost of Beth’s Mother may be right up your alley.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Media That Could Be About Me

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

A tree and some dark clouds reflected in a perfectly still body of water. There are also some stones on the beach in the foreground of the shot. Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

Did anyone else find this week’s prompt a bit challenging?

I live a peaceful life that honestly wouldn’t fit in well with dramatic, high-action stories.

Here are a few films and books about quiet, introverted, bookish people that remind me of myself.

Notting Hill fim poster. It shows a large photo of Julia Roberts with Hugh Grant walking next to it.

William Thacker from the romantic comedy Notting Hill

Why: The main character owns a bookstore and is bashful about publicity. I enjoyed working in a bookstore years ago and also try to avoid the spotlight.


Walden by Henry David Thoreau book cover. Image on cover is a black-and-white photo of a stream flowing thorugh a forest.

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Why: I love spending time in nature, whether that is by taking a brisk walk/hike, bird watching, or sitting quietly and observing what is around me. Like Thoreau, I also like going back home and enjoying my share of creature comforts at the end of the day.


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith book cover. Imge on cover is a drawing of a large tree by a wooden house.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Why: Francie and I both grew up in working class families that highly valued formal and informal education. Having extra money does makes it easier to raise children, but you can still give a kid a wonderful life on a tight budget if you focus on what’s important.


Brooklyn Nine-Nine film poster. It shows the eight main characters walking on the brooklyn bridge.
Rosa is third from the right in this poster.


Detective Rosa Diaz from the sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine 

Why: Rosa and I are both private people who steer clear of office gossip and politics. We’d much rather get the work done as quickly and accurately as we can.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Want With Me While Stranded on a Deserted Island

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Arial shot of waves gently lapping against a large sandy beach. Someone has scratched the world aloha into the sand. I’m taking a fairly practical approach to this week’s topic because we don’t know what kind of deserted island this is!

Are all of the necessities of life somehow provided there?

Will our cellphones, tablets, laptops, and other electronic devices work if we remember to pack solar recharging units for them? Let’s assume WiFi won’t be a problem either.

Is the temperature moderate enough to keep you fairly comfortable throughout the day and night?

Are there many dangerous animals, plants, or other features of the island?

If we were travelling together, I’d be the sort of person who had some spare sunscreen, shelf-stable food, medication, and first aid supplies to share if anyone needed them.

What can I say?

I enjoy life and vacations more if I’m prepared for the unexpected. Some of these answers are honestly pretty self-explanatory, but I will go into detail about the rest.

1. Outdoor Medical Emergency Handbook: First Aid for Travelers, Backpackers and Adventurers by Spike Briggs, Campbell Mackenzie


2. Complete Guide to Fresh and Saltwater Fishing: Conventional Tackle. Fly Fishing. Spinning. Ice Fishing. Lures. Flies. Natural Baits. Knots. Filleting. Cooking. Game Fish Species. Boating by Vin T. Sparano



3. Edible Plants of the Hawaiian Islands and Tropical Regions by Tyler Harris

This wouldn’t cover every island or biome out there, of course, but at least it would give an idea of what to look for when seeking out edible wild plants in tropical climates which I’m quite unfamiliar with.



4. How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler by Ryan North

I suspect this would be mostly good for entertainment, but it might have some good advice for building things I needed on the island, too.


5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

There’s nothing about islands or survival in this story. I chose it because I enjoy rereading it every few years and it’s long enough not to get through too quickly.


Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir book cover. Image on cover shows an astronaut floating through space while tethered to their ship. There is a large sun or planet in the background.


6. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (My review)

I adored this daring adventure and rescue tale. It seems perfect to revisit it while on a deserted island.


7. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I DNF this book a few months ago. Maybe this would be the perfect time to try it again? So many people have loved it.


8. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson

9. The Collected Poems by Langston Hughes

10. Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver by Mary Oliver

My final three selections are all poets I really loved back when I was more into this genre. Sometimes I’d read their poetry when I didn’t have the attention span to read a full-length novel.

It seemed like a good idea to include short, easy options in this list. This is especially true since all three of these poets excel at writing things that can feel more meaningful when read out loud.