Thursday Reading Links #44

Flowers and tea!

Happy February! Here is what I’ve been reading during my commute this week (plus a throwback blog post).

Yoga poses you should do everyday. If someone else has better ideas for daily yoga poses, please let me know. 2020 is the year of good health! Let’s do this!

The Lutetia Hotel in Paris.

Re-reading Persepolis in 2020 and What to Read Next.

What to do in Paris in February. No, I’m not going. Just daydreaming.

Some really great romance novel recommendations.

A US Veteran in California is over 100 years old. All he wants is for you to send him a Valentine’s Day Card. I sent him one and if you want to do so too, here is the mailing address.

9 Independent Bookshops in London. Do you have any favorite bookshops anywhere?

Notes of a Chronic Rereader.

Let’s all read more fiction.

xoxo, Jane

Thursday Reading Links #43

five assorted balloons

I am surprised how fast January flew by. They say that January feels like the longest month of the year, but I blinked and now it’s gone.

What are you doing this weekend? I’ll be cleaning the house and reading a book. As you can see, I am a very exciting person. Ha!

Katerina Sakellaropoulou becomes Greece’s first woman president. !! So exiting and about time.

Who was the Iron Butterfly?

Who was St. Valentine?

2020 Historical Fiction We Can’t Wait to Read.

Kelly Faircloth writes about the “petty politics of who gets to be Her Royal Highness.”

How Three Bestselling Authors Boost Book Sales by Writing Collaboratively.

Benefits of fresh flowers at home.

Camera Faces.

Why We Need Essay Collections Now More Than Ever.

xoxo, Jane

(Image via



Thursday Reading Links (on a Saturday. Again.) #41

stack of newspapers

I hope your weekend is off to a nice, relaxing start! Here is my round-up of reading links.

Interesting reading. How the baby boomers – not millennials – screwed America.

This week on the blog, Dilemmas of a Book Nerd Tag.

12 Decadent Hot Chocolates to Sip on in Paris.

100 Great Books by African American Women.

In Defense of Being a Night Owl. “I’d much rather watch Colbert than Good Morning America, and I’d take another glass of wine over squeezing in a morning workout class any day.”

The 50 Best Writing Websites of 2020.

Reading Positions. Haha. Which one are you? I’m the “Just a few more pages…” position.

How to De-Puff Your Eyes in 3 Minutes or Less. I googled this topic because my eyes are super puffy for no reason at all. My eyes look as if I’ve been crying all night, when I’ve been sleeping soundly instead. The perils of being a woman, I suppose.

Your Watch Says More About Your Status Than You Think. (WSJ, so there may be a paywall if you exceeded your free articles.)

The teenage Dutch girls who seduced and killed Nazis.

Cheers! xoxo, Jane

(Photo via


Dilemmas of a Book Nerd Tag


My Jane Austen books.

One of my favorite podcasters, Miranda Mills, started a YouTube channel all about books. A recent video of hers is titled “Dilemmas of a Book Nerd Tag” where she answers bookish questions. It was so much fun to watch and I wanted to join in. This fun tag was created by Lindsey’s Little Library.

I haven’t been tagged and I don’t plan to tag anyone, but because I do love books and talking about books, I’m going to participate. Here we go…

Dilemma #1: Book Storage – How do you store and organize your books?

I have limited space in my small house. I have two overflowing bookshelves in my study and one in the living room. Every once in a while I make room for new books by donating books I don’t want to keep. It’s not feasible for me to keep every book.

Dilemma #2: Tracking – How do you keep track of what you have read and what books you own?

I don’t normally keep track of what I’ve read, but for 2020 I’m going to keep track of the read books in my 2020 Planner. It should be easy to jot down the title of the book and the name of the author. Also, I daydream of creating a spreadsheet to keep track of the books I own. Someday I may get to that project.

Dilemma #3: Borrow – Do you lend your books out?

Absolutely not. I’d never get them back. And I learned that lesson the hard way.

Dilemma #4: Buying – How do you buy or acquire your books?

I’d say that 75% of my books are borrowed from the library. 20% are bought from bookstores during my travels. (I scope out bookstores in advance of a trip. Please tell me you do the same?) And 5% are bought from Amazon. I have it down to a science because I really do borrow most of my books.

Dilemma #5: Comments – How do you respond to the “How do you read so much” comment or similar comments?

No one has ever asked me this question, actually.

Dilemma #6: Next Book – How do you pick your next read?

It depends on my mood (or on which books come through my library hold).

Dilemma #7: Travel – How do you pick what book(s) you bring on vacation with you?

I don’t really do much reading on vacation. I’ll read on the plane, but I’m normally way too tired to read after spending a day exploring a city. And we hardly ever take beach vacations. But I do bring a paperback or two with me, just in case. Plus I have books on my reading device. The key is not to be weighted down by books because I want to come home with book purchases.

Dilemma #8: Annotate – Do you write or highlight or mark up your books in any way?

No. That really bothers me. I like to keep my books pristine. But I have a reader’s journal in case I want to write quotes or keep plot notes.

Dilemma #9: New or Backlist – Which do you prefer, new releases or backlist books?

It doesn’t matter. Depends on what I want to read.

Dilemma #10: Sequels – Do you read books as they are released or wait for an entire series to be published before reading 1 book?

I read them as they are released. For example, I’m waiting with bated breath for the next Clara Vine book by Jane Thynne.


This was fun. Thank you for reading!

You should leave your own answers below or at least direct me to your blog so I can read your answers!

xoxo, Jane

Thursday Reading Links (on a Saturday) #40


For the third year in a row I have a word of the year to help me achieve my goals, but this year’s word is a little different from the past two years.

My word is Health. I will aim to take better care of myself. I want to drink more water, go on longer walks and do yoga-ish exercises. I had a recent health scare and it’s funny how we take things for granted and then something happens to make us realize how fragile we all are. That’s why I want health to be my focus for 2020. The same goes for you, please take good care of yourself.


Why Don’t I Read All My Books?

Eight Bookish New Year’s Resolution Ideas to Improve Your Reading Life.

This is an interesting read about our carbon footprint, but I must admit I don’t feel flight shame. I live in North America. The only way for me to get to Europe (or to any of the other continents) is by airplane. Why ‘flight shame’ is making people swap planes for trains.

This article linked below is so true. I am an introvert and really prefer to be alone. I see my friends periodically and I don’t set regular get-togethers with anyone because my quality time comes first. The only exception is my husband. He can be around me as much as he wants. He is my favorite human. A woman’s greatest enemy? A lack of time to herself.

January 2020 Horoscopes and Book Recommendations.

Romania auctions dictator’s hunting car for $44,000.

My recent quarterly reading wrap-ups can be found here and here.

The Best Eye Creams of 2020. (How do we know they will be the best of 2020, though?)

Five must-read books from Japanese literature.

A List of Purchases That Changed My Life Exactly How I Imagined They Would.

Natural History Museum will showcase ‘fantastic beasts.’

xoxo, Jane

Thursday Reading Links #39

I hope you had a merry day yesterday. It’s bittersweet that another year is coming to a close and 2020 is on the horizon. Oh, in case you didn’t know, 2020 is a leap year!

Last year on the blog: The Fortnum’s Cook Book.

Image via Fortnum and Mason.

How cute is this fish and chips chocolate set?

On this day in 1805, Napoleon signed the Treaty of Pressburg.

Review of Stalin and the Fate of Europe by Norman M. Naimark.

Nine Translated French-to-English Books All About French Society.

Why Royal Guests Have Always Been a Royal Pain. This backs up what I said about aristocrats going broke after hosting Edward VII.

Now that we’ve watched every Christmas movie on Hallmark and Netflix, we can read about the real setting of Netflix’s Christmas Prince.

Speaking of A Christmas Prince, now you can read a comprehensive breakdown of the latest installment.

l’m going to make this recipe for Banana Bread but I plan to add chocolate chips.

How adorable is the Sussex e-Christmas Card?

And just a programming note, the blog will be back in early January.

Happy New Year!!

xoxo, Jane

October, November & December 2019 Wrap-Up Part I


Time for my quarterly wrap-up. It will be in two parts so I don’t bog this post down too much.

Cornered in Conard County by Rachel Lee was pretty good. It’s a book in her Conard County series and I can tell Rachel Lee does a lot of research. The premise of this story is that the heroine is in danger because of an ex who is looking to harm her. To stay safe, she buys a guard dog from the hero who trains police dogs for a living. I don’t know anything about training police dogs, but reading this story made me feel that Rachel Lee did her research. As you would expect, the heroine falls in love with the dog-training hero.

I also read An Unlikely Daddy by Rachel Lee. It was good, but I’m starting to feel like she is recycling old books into newer stories. This one reminded me a little of the second book she wrote back in 1992 called Cherokee Thunder. But as far as romance series go, Conard County is my top favorite. Then I read The Winter Soldier by Diana Palmer.


The Gown by Jennifer Robson was probably the most touching book I read during the last quarter of 2019. The story takes place in two time periods, the present and the past (post-war Britain). I can’t write about this book without getting teary-eyed. It was really touching. It focused on three women who become intertwined with each other and each leaves her mark in the world. If you like strong women, women who have to make their own way in the world (like most of us in real life) and fashion history, then this book is for you. Run, don’t walk, to the library.


Secret Prince’s Christmas Seduction by Carol Marinelli was a fun read. The story takes place during the lead-up to Christmas. It’s a Harlequin Presents and this line never disappoints. Romance, exotic locations, good-looking heroes. (Though, I have to admit, I kept picturing Trevor Noah as the hero. If you stare at the cover long enough, you’ll see it too. Tell me it’s not just me.)


Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella was just what I expected. Fun, silly and festive. Becky is back and up to her usual hijinks. In this story, she was in so much trouble that I honestly had no idea how it could all possibly end in a good way. I wrote more about it here.

Part II will be up soon, as I’m still finishing up a book. I’m looking forward to a new year and more books. I’m not looking forward to life going by so fast and to growing older, but if life has to go by fast and we must grow older, then at least we can do it with good books and good people around us. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, my friends!

xoxo, Jane


Thursday Reading Links #38


I’m really excited for some time off, for Christmas, for snuggling with my husband on the couch and watching Elf for the 100th time, for my Fortnums package that I think is arriving on Friday. I’m just excited all around.

Jane Austen Heroines Ranked by Badassery.

Francophile Books to Put under the Tree. This is fun! France + books = joy.

The bold pioneers of cinema who paved the way.

I’m laughing out loud at this podcast. They break down Hallmark-type movies. It’s funny (but I am not ashamed to admit that I love Hallmark movies). It’s really great to listen to and I have a bunch of episodes to catch up on.

One year ago on the blog: Queen Victoria’s Emerald Tiara.

How to Look Chic When It’s Cold.

Octavia Butler Books: A Guide to Her Life, Work, and Legacy.

Six Long, Absorbing Books to Get You Through Your Vacation and my most touching read of 2019 was The Gown.

I hope you have a fun and festive weekend.

xoxo, Jane

Library Haul


My recent library haul includes two borrowed books and one purchase. I borrowed Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory and started reading it almost immediately. It’s due back this weekend, so I have the rest of the week to find out how it all works out for our heroine. It’s a really sweet novel, set in England at a royal estate. The main character is in her early 50s and finds love again with the private secretary to Her Majesty, The Queen. Yes, girl!

I also borrowed Sandra Brown’s Send No Flowers because I’m going through a Sandra Brown phase and I’m not ashamed.


I also bought this cute little book for just $1.00, Royal Weddings – A Very Peculiar History. It’s really adorable and lists fun facts and funny anecdotes about royal bridal couples-to-be and royal weddings throughout history. 

I hope you’re having a wonderful festive season, full of books and good cheer!

xoxo, Jane

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!


Happy Birthday to Miss Austen.

I wish she didn’t die as young as she did, for the world could have used a few more of her sparkling, witty novels.

Here are a few facts about Jane Austen:

  1. She was a loving aunt to her nieces and nephews.
  2. She was engaged to Harris Bigg-Wither but broke off her engagement. I’d like to think it’s because she wanted to remain independent and free to pursue her writing career.
  3. Jane’s sister Cassandra told their niece Caroline (their brother James’s daughter) that Jane fell in love with a clergyman. We don’t know his name and we’ll never know what really happened.
  4. Jane Austen loved the countryside and gardens. She enjoyed public gardens and tending her own garden in Bath.
  5. Jane Austen didn’t have much interest in fashion, but she didn’t mind making her characters very fashionable and fashion-conscious.

What are some of your favorite Jane Austen facts?

xoxo, Jane

Thursday Reading Links #37 (Jane Austen edition)

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In honor of Jane Austen’s birthday next week (December 16, 1775), today’s reading links are all about the lady herself. Make a cup of tea and stay awhile.

Romance and Reality in Jane Austen’s World.

The History Chicks Episode #38 is all about Jane Austen.

Read more about Jane Austen’s writing desk.

Three Pamphlets on the Leigh-Perrot Trial: Why Austen Sent Susan to Crosby.

Tea, Jane Austen Style.

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‘It’s an escape’: the Americans who want to live like Jane Austen.

The Fashion of Jane Austen’s Novels.

This Jane Austen Letter Highlights the Horrors of 19th-Century Dentistry.

Jane Austen and the Making of the Modern Marriage.

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Bath, England

This is my Jane Austen mug. I love it!

Speaking of mugs, 8 Jane Austen Mugs You Will Fall Ardently In Love With.

20 Jane Austen Gifts for the Most Ardent Fan.

2020 Jane Austen quotes calendar.

Jane Austen’s 6 novels defy rankings. Here’s what each one does best.

Photo via The Jane Austen Centre in Bath.

The Jane Austen Centre in Bath sells this exclusive regency teacup set. I think Jane Austen would approve.

Jane Austen and social judgement.

This gorgeous clothbound book is my copy of Persuasion.

A literary Christmas.

The Real Reason Jane Austen Never Married.

And one more, a review of the Pride and Prejudice musical.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s reading links edition.

xoxo, Jane

It sifts from Leaden Sieves By Emily Dickinson

abstract art background blue sky

December’s poem is by Emily Dickinson. Emily Dickinson was so clever. She wrote an entire poem about snow without ever mentioning the word “snow.” Grab your cup of tea and enjoy reading this winter poem. (PS. (October and November poems here.)

It sifts from Leaden Sieves
By Emily Dickinson

It sifts from Leaden Sieves –
It powders all the Wood.
It fills with Alabaster Wool
The Wrinkles of the Road –
It makes an even Face
Of Mountain, and of Plain –
Unbroken Forehead from the East
Unto the East again –
It reaches to the Fence –
It wraps it Rail by Rail
Till it is lost in Fleeces –
It deals Celestial Vail
To Stump, and Stack – and Stem –
A Summer’s empty Room –
Acres of Joints, where Harvests were,
Recordless, but for them –
It Ruffles Wrists of Posts
As Ankles of a Queen –
Then stills it’s Artisans – like Ghosts –
Denying they have been –


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