Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Bookish Thoughts: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

The buzz in the street was like the humming of flies. ~ Opening of The Cuckoo's Calling


The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike #1) by Robert Galbraith
Mulholland Books, 2013
Crime Fiction; 550 pgs

It only took me three years to finally read this one. I was interested in the book before the real identity of the author came out, but my motivation to read it sooner rather than later waned as everyone else suddenly was rushing to read it. I didn't want to jump on the bandwagon of fans reading it just because it was written by J.K. Rowling. I never doubted I would like it. I'm a sucker for a good mystery. And so, three years later, I finally read The Cuckoo's Calling thanks to those of you who voted in my March TBR List poll. 

The author jumps right in with the death of a supermodel, summarizing the police investigation and the media's speculation. Was she pushed off her balcony or was it suicide? Private Investigator Cormoran Strike is asked by the victim's brother to investigate what he believes is the murder of his sister. Everyone else has, by that point, written her death off as a suicide. All evidence suggests a suicide, and Cormoran is reluctant to take the case. His bills are overdo, however, and the brother seems desperate. 

In many ways, The Cuckoo's Calling is your typical private investigator novel. Cormoran hits the pavement asking questions, calling on sources, hoping to shake something out that might prove one way or the other whether or not a crime was committed. His temporary secretary, meanwhile, pulls what research she can off the internet. The longer he is on the case, the more doubts Cormoran has that it was suicide. 

I wasn't sure what to expect when I first met Cormoran, but I was quite impressed the more I got to know him. Perhaps it is my father's military history that put a soft spot in my heart for veterans, and Cormoran was no exception. He was injured in the war and has a prosthetic leg. I appreciated how the character does not let his disability stop him from doing his job--and I also liked how the author did not shy away from going into some of the physical struggles he faced. Cormoran is a bit gruff on one hand, but a big softy on the other. He is clearly a very private person who likes to take care of himself. The last thing he wants is pity from anyone, much less hand outs. Which is why he finds himself living out of his office after his break up with his fiancée.

Fortunately, Cormoran's pride, which keeps him from asking for help, doesn't extend to Robin Ellacott. Although she comes to him as a temp, he recognizes immediately the value in her skills. She has a penchant for the work and quite likes it herself. The pay may not be great, but working with a private investigator comes with its own intrinsic rewards. Robin and I definitely agree on that! I liked Robin right from the start and think she and Cormoran make a great team.

The mystery itself is strong. I usually am able to work out who did what, when and why, but this one kept me guessing right up until close to the reveal. While the pacing of the novel seemed a bit slow at times, I never lost interest.

Overall, my first experience with J.K. Rowling as a mystery author was a very positive one. I look forward to reading more in the series.


To learn more about Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) and her work, please visit the authors's websiteShe can also be found on Goodreads and Twitter.


© 2016, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Where Is Your Bookmark? (The Magician's Lie and My Top 4 Reads so Far This Year)

I began Greer Macallister's The Magician's Lie just yesterday and am enjoying it so far. The novel is about a notorious illusionist who has been accused of her husband's murder. She has one night to convince the troubled policeman who has apprehended her to let her go . . .



Every Tuesday Diane from Bibliophile By the Sea First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where participants share the first paragraph (or a few) of a book they are reading or thinking about reading soon. It is also where I share my first impressions about the book I am sharing.

Tonight, I will do the impossible.
The impossible is nothing new to me. As I do every night, I will make people believe things that aren't true. I will show them worlds that never existed, events that never happened. I will weave a web of beautiful illusion to snare them, a glittering trap that drags them willingly with me into the magical, false, spellbinding world. 

Every Tuesday, Jenn from Books And A Beat hosts Teaser Tuesdays at which time participants grab their current read, open to a random page, and share two (2) "teaser" sentences from that page while avoiding any spoilers.


Teaser from page 31% of The Magician's Lie:
"Because I know what monsters are," she says. "And I can't be in that company."
"So tell me what you are then, if not a monster." 
"A fool," she says. 

What do you think? Would you keep reading?  

I feel the opening paragraphs set the scene for not only the show Arden is about to perform, but also for the novel. It certainly makes you wonder if you can trust Arden, doesn't it?

I have not yet reached the teaser yet, but it caught my attention when I was searching for a teaser to share. 

What are you reading at the moment?  Is it anything you would recommend?


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely ladies at Broke and Bookish.

This week's  Top Ten Tuesday topic is made up of my Top Four Favorite Books I Have Read So Far This Year. It seems a fitting time to pull this list together, six months into the year. Soon we will be carving pumpkins, eating turkey and singing carols. Well, hopefully not that soon. Without further ado, here is my list in no particular order (each book cover linked to my review, except for two whose reviews are pending. Those two covers are linked to Goodreads):



1. The Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary



2. When the Moon Is Low by Nadia Hashimi



3. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman 



4. The Hummingbird by Stephen P. Kiernan

Runners-Up:


1. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald




2. Redshirts: A Novel With Three Codas by John Scalzi, narrated by Wil Wheaton




3. June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore


What is/are your favorite book(s) so far this year that you have read?


© 2016, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Bookish Thoughts: Stone Guardian by Danielle Monsch

Jack Miller aimed his shotgun at the monster's grey-skinned head and pulled the trigger. ~ Opening of Stone Guardian 


Stone Guardian (Entwined Realms #1) by Danielle Monsch
Romantic Geek Publishing, 2013
Fantasy (Urban); 374 pgs
Source: NetGalley

Gargoyles would likely not make my list of romantic interests in a paranormal novel, but Danielle Monsch finds a way to make it work. I mean, if women the world over can be drawn to cold blood-sucking men and furry hot-blooded alpha men who growl . . . Well, why not a winged stone-like man too? I really enjoyed exploring Danielle Monsch's world in Stone Guardian. Imagine two parallel universes colliding and humans and supernatural creatures must find a way to co-exist in the aftermath.

Larissa Miller is a history teacher, but seems pretty clueless about the supernatural beings that inhabit her planet. She's pretty well-sheltered, living in a human only city and surrounded by over protective brothers and a father who is a police chief. She's drawn the attention of quite a few creatures, including Terak, the leader of the Gargoyles. A cryptic prophecy has led him to her, and he has been watching her for months. His doubts that she is really in any danger prove true when she is attacked on the street. Terak and Larissa join forces to find out who is behind the attack and why Larissa is the target.

There are a lot of reasons why this novel should not have worked for me. Larissa is a history teacher and yet knows so little about the world outside her supposedly safe human only city. The argument that she is ever curious and always wants to learn new things and yet stops questioning because it upset her father when she was younger isn't very believable. She's very much the damsel in distress (although she isn't one to take unnecessary risks, which is always a relief), always needing the hero to save her. There's also the fact that I had trouble buying Terak as a leader of the Gargoyles at times.

Despite all that, I had such fun reading this book. I was wrapped up in the story, and wanted to know how everything would play out. I thought it was a good story. I liked both Terak and Larissa, despite my reservations, and felt they were well matched. I especially liked the secondary characters and the world outside Larissa's door. It's definitely one I would like to explore further. 

To learn more about Danielle Monsch and her work, please visit the authors's websiteShe can also be found on Goodreads and Twitter.


© 2016, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Sunday Post: Summer Reading Plans

The Sunday Post is hosted by the wonderful Kim, the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, and gives us all a chance to recap our week, talk about what we are reading, share any new books that have come our way, and whatever else we want to talk about. 

Happy Father's Day all the dads out there! Does anyone have any special plans for the day? Whatever you do, I hope you have a pleasant day.

The current heatwave was enough to convince the city to turn out the local parks' water pads, including the one at the local park where we like to hang out. One hundred ten degrees is worthy. City officials aren't sure whether they will leave it on the entire summer, or set a limit for days only over 95. If the summer goes as it usually does, that will be every day. Anyway, to beat the summer heat this weekend, we decided to get out of town--at least for Saturday. We had a fun-filled day and came home exhausted. We may make our way over to our local park on Sunday for some water play, but more than likely we'll be sleeping in (to recover from Saturday), staying cool indoors, and taking it easy before the work week starts up again on Monday.

A Father and Daughter Moment From Our Saturday Outing

How are you spending your Sunday? Did you have a good week?

Book Blogger Hop

Every Friday Coffee Addicted Writer from Coffee Addicted Writer poses a question which participants respond on their own blogs within the week (Friday through Thursday). They then share their links at the main site and visit other participants blogs.

Do you have your photo in your profile? (submitted by Elizabeth
I do as a matter of fact. It is a photo of me with Gracie on my head. I had just gotten my hair done that day at a salon and went rather crazy trying to groom and eat my hair. It was a fun moment. Past profile photos have not included me at all, but rather been photos of cats reading in one form or another. I very rarely post photos of myself--more for professional reasons than anything else. My Facebook profile picture is of me (and my daughter), but more than likely, my blog profile will never be a photo of me.


What about you? Do you use a photo of yourself for your profile picture?


What I Am Reading: At the moment I am reading my first nonfiction book of the year. Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Belonging in a Secular Age by Katherine Ozkment was a surprising choice even to me but it was like kismet when I came across the title. You will understand when and if you read my review. As soon as I wrap this one up, I will be reading my June TBR List Winner, The Magician's Lie by Greer Macallister. I am really excited about finally reading it.


What I Am Watching: I have finally gotten back to Jessica Jones and finished out the first season. A Daredevil character (my favorite one, in fact) finally made an appearance. I always get a little thrill when characters crossover from one show or another. I'm not sure why exactly.


Challenge Update & Sign Up:

COYER Summer Vacation began this weekend, and I am jumping on board again. It's really just one big reading party. There are games (including some on Facebook) and Twitter chats, book reviews, and lots and lots of reading. Although COYER stands for Clean Out Your E-Reads, the rules are being thrown out the window for the summer--at least mostly. Participants can read whatever they want whether it be e-books, physical books, or audiobooks. Doesn't matter if you buy, borrow or read an ARC. All books count. I can set my own goal--or no goal at all. COYER Summer Vacation will last from June 18th to September 5th. Are you joining in the summer fun?

Some Possibilities:
Rock Paper Tiger by Lisa Brackmann
The Curse of the Gargoyles by Rebecca Chastain
The Whiskey Sea by Ann Howard Creel
LaRose by Louise Erdrich
The Fireman by Joe Hill
The American Girl by Kate Horsley
When I Found You by Kate James
The Magician's Lie by Greer Macallister
The Ninja's Daughter by Susan Spann

*

I thought it would be fun to take part in the Summer 2016 Comment Challenge (Link Up Post) hosted by Lonna of FLYLēF and Alicia of A Kernel of Nonsense during the month of July. While it officially began in June, sign-ups are monthly through the summer. I first heard about it through Melinda of West Metro Mommy Reads and thought it sounded like fun. Each participant is paired with another book blogger. The pair then post comments on each other's blogs throughout the month. We all like receiving comments, which is a a definite perk, but the biggest reward will be in making a connection with another book blogger. It's a great way to get to know another blogger and possibly make a new friend. I hope you will consider joining too. There isn't much time left to sign up for July (by June 21st!)--so hurry! It'll come around again in August though, if you miss the deadline.

*

While on Twitter the other evening, I saw mention of a read-along for Joe Hill's The Fireman, which I just so happen to have a copy of and want to read. Now is as good a time as any! The read-along takes place this July, and is being lead by Fire Squad Captain Care and her Co-Commander HeatherMelissaJen, and MelissaTi are the Platoon Leaders. Michelle and Katie are Advisors (because they've already read the book). To follow the read-along on Twitter, just follow the hashtag #FireManAlong.

According to the Goodreads summary, The Fireman is
. . . a chilling novel about a worldwide pandemic of spontaneous combustion that threatens to reduce civilization to ashes and a band of improbable heroes who battle to save it, led by one powerful and enigmatic man known as the Fireman. 
The fireman is coming. Stay cool.
Because goodness knows in this summer heat, I'm sure many of us will feel like we will spontaneous combust. Will you be joining along?


I went into the the 10th annual Once Upon a Time Challenge hosted by Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings with the goal to read one Fantasy novel, and I am happy to say I ended up reading six.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
Charming by Elliott James
The Shadow Revolution (Crown & Key #1) by Clay and Susan Griffith
Stone Guardian by Danielle Monsch (review pending)
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

From Young Adult High Fantasy to quite a variety of Urban Fantasy, each book brought something different to the table, exploring mythology, a bit of fairytale, folklore and fantasy. I enjoyed each of the books I read for this challenge, but my favorite is Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. Did you take part in the challenge? What is your favorite fantasy novel?


Around the Blogosphere:
  • WE INTERRUPT REGULARLY SCHEDULED POSTING FOR THE BURDEN ON MY HEART -Andi from Estella's Revenge opens up about how recent events are impacting her. I can relate to how she feels. I have no words. I can offer up prayers and thoughts but that really only goes so far. 
  • Help Needed: Wednesday's Favorites - Maureen of Maureen's Books has a great feature every Wednesday in which she talks about old favorites. She's posted a poll in hopes of getting some feedback. I hope you will take a look!
  • PERIOD PIECE: A PUNCTUATION POST - Chris from Bookarama talks about the current trend of leaving out periods in text messages. I guess it's out of style to text in full sentences with proper grammar, like I do.

What's Going On Off the Blog: It was an ordinary week. One exciting thing happened: I was complaining the other day about not having enough rags, and this week I'm finding just about all my socks have holes. Wishes really do come true.

The summer swim session for Mouse has started. Oh, why did I pick an afternoon time for the lesson?! What was I thinking? Oh, that's right. I wasn't.

My mother-in-law's angiogram came back clear, which is good. She meets with the cardiologist this coming week. We're all hoping the news will be good. We are all still in shock that she had a heart attack without anyone knowing . . . It's a reminder of how important it is to know the signs and take them seriously--not assume they might be something less without first getting it checked out.

 More of my roses

This Past Week In Reading Mews:

Upcoming on the Blog:
Monday - My Bookish Thoughts on Stone Guardian by Danielle Monsch
Tuesday - Where Is Your Bookmark? (Including my Top Favorite Reads So Far This Year)
Thursday - My Bookish Thoughts on The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith


I hope you all have a great week! Happy Reading!


Daughter and Father
One of my favorite photos from three years ago.


© 2016, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Bookish Thoughts: The Shadow Revolution by Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith

A bold moon hung over the dark London cityscape. ~ Opening of The Shadow Revolution


The Shadow Revolution (Crown & Key, #1) by Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith 
Del Rey, 2015
Fantasy (Steampunk); 320 pgs
Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads:  
They are the realm’s last, best defense against supernatural evil. But they’re going to need a lot more silver.  
As fog descends, obscuring the gas lamps of Victorian London, werewolves prowl the shadows of back alleys. But they have infiltrated the inner circles of upper-crust society as well. Only a handful of specially gifted practitioners are equipped to battle the beasts. Among them are the roguish Simon Archer, who conceals his powers as a spell-casting scribe behind the smooth veneer of a dashing playboy; his layabout mentor, Nick Barker, who prefers a good pub to thrilling heroics; and the self-possessed alchemist Kate Anstruther, who is equally at home in a ballroom as she is on a battlefield.

After a lycanthrope targets Kate’s vulnerable younger sister, the three join forces with fierce Scottish monster-hunter Malcolm MacFarlane—but quickly discover they’re dealing with a threat far greater than anything they ever imagined.

I am likely not the first one to say this book would make a great movie. Admittedly, it was hard not to picture some of the cast from the Sherlock Holmes movies (the ones with Robert Downing Jr.). There was hardly a turn in the  book that was not filled with some sort of fight or action, with occasional gore. The dialogue is quite witty, especially between Kate Anstruther and Simon Archer.

This novel is perfectly set in a steampunk Victorian London setting with magicians, alchemists, hunters and werewolves. The authors captured the atmosphere of the time period well.

Simon, Nick and Malcolm prove they are good in a fight as well as in using their brains. I have a feeling there are hidden depths to all three men that will come out in later books. I never really felt like I had a good handle on Nick. And from what Nick said towards the end of the book, I imagine there is a lot more to Simon than the reader knows as well.

Fighting alongside the strong and very capable men, Kate, an alchemist, proves she can hold her own. She doesn't hesitate to jump in when the action starts, even not quite knowing what the situation at hand is. As great a character as Kate is, however, I adore Penny Carter as well and hope to see more of her in the next two books. She doesn't appear until later in the books, but she's a force to be reckoned with.

The Shadow Revolution was an entertaining novel, a story made for the big screen. Still, I am left with a lot of questions and hope to find answers to them in the upcoming novels.


To learn more about Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith and their work, please visit the authors' websiteThey can also be found on Goodreads and Twitter.


© 2016, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.