Thursday, December 14, 2017

Where Is Your Bookmark? (A Peek Into These Violent Delights)

This weekend will be crazy busy for us. Mouse has two dance performances, one Saturday and one Sunday; we have dozens upon dozens of cookies to bake; last minute shopping to do; and a house to get ready for the upcoming Christmas holiday. My mom will be arriving in town Friday afternoon. We are looking forward to seeing her. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Hopefully we can all get in a little reading as well.

This month's MyLitBox selection was These Violent Delights by Victoria Namkung. It seems a timely novel given current events. I dove in pretty quickly. I had hoped to be further along than I am now (#COYER Winter Switch starts tomorrow after all!), but I am only about half way through. 

At Windemere School for Girls, one of America’s elite private schools, Dr. Gregory Copeland is the beloved chair of the English Department. A married father with a penchant for romantic poetry—and impressionable teenage girls—he operates in plain sight for years, until one of his former students goes public with allegations of inappropriate conduct. With the help of an investigative journalist, and two additional Windemere alumnae who had relationships with Copeland as students, the unlikely quartet unites to take him down.

Set in modern-day Los Angeles, These Violent Delights is a literary exploration of the unyielding pressures and vulnerabilities that so many women and girls experience, and analyzes the ways in which our institutions and families fail to protect or defend us. A suspenseful and nuanced story told from multiple points of view, the novel examines themes of sexuality, trauma, revenge, and the American myth of liberty and justice for all. [Goodreads Summary]

A weekly meme where readers share the first sentence of the book they are reading and say what they think. Hosted by the wonderful Gillion Dumas of Rose City Reader.
"What is the point of a high school reunion when you can already see who got fat and bald on Facebook?" asks Caryn, the intern working with me this semester, and I can't help but laugh because she's right. 
I went into this book with high expectations having never heard of it before. The opening does not exactly grab me though, I admit. And while it gives nothing away about the plot or what is to come, it does put one in the mind of memories of high school, which is likely what the author was going for--intentionally or not.

A weekly meme in which readers share a random sentence or two from page 56 or 56% of the book they are reading. Hosted by the wonderful Freda of Freda's Voice.

"I'm so glad you reached out." I pass her a napkin. "Of course I wish it never happened, and that we were meeting under different circumstances, but it's nice to know I'm not alone."
This particular passage from page 56 of the novel is likely a common refrain among survivors of abuse or assault. There is something about being able to connect with someone who went through a similar experience that cannot be equaled talking to someone who has never been through it.

What do you think? Is this a book you would like to read?

 I hope you all have a great weekend! Be sure and tell me what you are reading and are up to!

Some photos from my recent visit to the Mission Inn, a historic hotel. It's gorgeous at night this time of year, with all the lights and holiday decorations. I haven't yet been this year after night fall, but hopefully will get a chance before the year is out.

© 2017, W.endy 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, December 13, 2017

Bookish Thoughts: Snowfall on Haven Point by RaeAnne Thayne

She really needed to learn how to say no once in a while. ~ Opening of Snowfall on Haven Point 

Snowfall on Haven Point by RaeAnne Thayne
HQN Books, 2016
Romance; 384 pgs
Source: Review e-copy provided by publisher for an honest review.

This is the 5th book in the Haven Point series, and I have to say I really love Christmas in Haven Point. I would love to catch the boat parade. I really enjoyed Snowfall on Haven Point. I expected the romance, but was not expecting a dash of mystery thrown in. Sheriff Marshall Bailey is certain his being hit by a vehicle was no accident, despite the initial investigation results claiming it to be just that. He is frustrated and annoyed that he is out of commission due to his injuries. As a man who does not like to ask for help, he is not at all happy when widow Andrea Montgomery walks through his door. The Christmas cheer she and her two children bring with them is contagious and it is just a matter of time before the Sheriff’s defenses crack.

Marshall protests way too much about being able to do things on his own—but I get it. Marshall is a proud man and hates having to rely on others. He feels defenseless. He is the one who is used to doing the saving. He is also holding onto a pretty big secret from his past that he knows could be a game changer in any relationship he may develop. The emotional fallout for more than one person will be huge. I thought author RaeAnne Thayne handled this in a sensitive manner and felt the characters' reactions were realistic overall.

Andie and her children have only been in town a few months. She knows that when people look at her, they see the assault victim that needed rescuing the previous summer, and not the strong woman she really is. There’s also the fact that she is a policeman’s widow, and getting into another relationship with a law enforcement officer is the last thing she wants to do for obvious reasons.

Marshall and Andie try to fight the attraction, each struggling with their own internal arguments of why falling in love would be bad for them. They both would be bringing a lot of baggage into any relationship. I like that neither one of them is perfect. I also like that they are both very supportive of the other, even if they are trying hard not to fall in love. There is a mutual respect there that I think is important in any relationship.

While the happy ending I was expecting was there, I appreciated how much the characters grew over the course of the novel, both as individuals and together. They had a lot of overcome, not all of it pretty. I can always count on RaeAnne Thayne to deliver a clean romantic and inspiring Christmas story, and Snowfall on Haven Point was no different.

Thank you to everyone who voted for Snowfall on Haven Point in my November TBR List Poll!

To learn more about RaeAnne Thayne and her books, please visit the author's website. You can also find the author on Facebook and Twitter.

© 2017, 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.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Wishing for Wednesday: More Irresistible Books Added to my Wish List

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. (Based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.)

A Mortal Likeness by Laura Joh Rowland
Release Date: January 9, 2018 by Crooked Lane Books
A photographer in Whitechapel, London, Sarah Bain is also a private detective—skilled at capturing others’ dark secrets, and expert at keeping her own. When a wealthy banker, Sir Gerald Mariner, posts a handsome reward for finding his missing infant, all of London joins in, hoping to win that money for themselves. Usually discouraged by a saturated market, Sarah is instead curiously allured as she realizes the case hits much closer to home than she first thought.

As she dives in, she discovers a photograph of baby Robin Mariner and his mother. But it eerily resembles the post-mortem photographs Sarah, herself, takes of deceased children posed to look as if they were alive. Now it’s unclear whether the kidnapping is a cover-up to hide the reality of his disappearance, or if it’s truly a cry for help.

The clock is ticking and Sarah must uncover the truth before her past catches up to her in
A Mortal Likeness, the gripping follow-up to bestselling author Laura Joh Rowland’s The Ripper’s Shadow. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: A female private detective in the Victorian age isn't very common. Seeing this upcoming release, I am curious about the series itself and hope to read both the first in the series and this second one to come.


Peculiar Ground by Lucy Hughes-Hallett
Release Date: January 9, 2018 by Harper Collins
The Costa Award-winning author of The Pike makes her literary fiction debut with an extraordinary historical novel in the spirit of Wolf Hall and Atonement—a great English country house novel, spanning three centuries, that explores surprisingly timely themes of immigration and exclusion.

It is the seventeenth century and a wall is being raised around Wychwood, transforming the great house and its park into a private realm of ornamental lakes, grandiose gardens, and majestic avenues designed by Mr. Norris, a visionary landscaper. In this enclosed world everyone has something to hide after decades of civil war. Dissenters shelter in the woods, lovers rendezvous in secret enclaves, and outsiders—migrants fleeing the plague—find no mercy.
Three centuries later, far away in Berlin, another wall is raised, while at Wychwood, an erotic entanglement over one sticky, languorous weekend in 1961 is overshadowed by news of historic change. Young Nell, whose father manages the estate, grows up amid dramatic upheavals as the great house is invaded: a pop festival by the lake, a television crew in the dining room, a Great Storm brewing. In 1989, as the Cold War peters out, a threat from a different kind of conflict reaches Wychwood’s walls.

Lucy Hughes-Hallett conjures an intricately structured, captivating story that explores the lives of game keepers and witches, agitators and aristocrats; the exuberance of young love and the pathos of aging; and the way those who try to wall others out risk finding themselves walled in. With poignancy and grace, she illuminates a place where past and present are inextricably linked by stories, legends, and history—and by one patch of peculiar ground.
[Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: I love a book where the setting is just as much a character as the characters themselves--especially when so richly drawn. I am dying to find out more about Wychwood. I want to visit there myself.


Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz
Release Date: January 2, 2018 by Berkley
A broken promise reveals a terrifying legacy in this electrifying novel from the New York Times bestselling author of When All the Girls Have Gone.

Seattle gallery owner Virginia Troy has spent years battling the demons that stem from her childhood time in a cult and the night a fire burned through the compound killing her mother. And now one of her artists has taken her own life, but not before sending Virginia a last picture...a painting that makes Virginia doubt everything about the so-called suicide--and her own past...

Like Virginia, PI Cabot Sutter was one of the children in the cult who survived that fire--and only he can help her now. As they struggle to unravel the clues in the picture, it becomes clear that someone thinks Virginia knows more than she does and that she must be stopped. Thrown into an inferno of desire and deception, Virginia and Cabot draw ever closer to the mystery of their shared memories--and the shocking fate of the one man who still wields the power to destroy everything they hold dear.
[Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: A cult-ish past . . . I can't resist that. This is one I am really looking forward to!

Do any of these sound like something you would like to read too?

 © 2017, 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.

What's In A Name Reading Challenge

My decision not to participate in any reading challenges in 2017 meant not participating in one of my favorite challenges, the What's In A Name Reading Challenge hosted by Charlie of The Worm Hole. I plan to join in the fun in 2018, however. I already have some ideas for what books on my TBR shelves to fit into a few of the categories. And although the chances of me sticking to any list I make is low, I still enjoy coming up with some possibilities of books when putting together my sign up post. This time is no different.  I think this one will be quite fun this year!

The challenges runs from January to December, and the idea is to read one book per category. A book cannot count for more than one category. The categories this year are

The Word "The" Used Twice in the Title
- Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking
- The Night the Lights Went Out by Karen White
- The Woman in the Window A.J. Finn
- The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

A Fruit or Vegetable in the Title
- The Cherry Harvest by Lucy Sanna
- Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio
- The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

A Shape in the Title
- Weave a Circle Round by Kari Maaren
- A Distant Heart by Dev Sonali
- Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes
- Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down by Anne Valente

A Title That Begins With Z (can be after "The" or "A")
- The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman
- Zorro by Isabel Allende
- Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi

A Nationality in the Title
- The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff
- The Spanish Bow by Anromeda Romano-Lax
- I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
- A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder by Shamini Flint

A Season in the Title
- The Last Winter of Dani Lancing by P.D. Viner
- Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams
- Spring Forward by Catherine Anderson
- Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War by Heather Webb et al

Will you be participating in the What's In A Name Challenge this coming year? Have you read any of my possible selections?

© 2017, 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, December 11, 2017

#COYER Winter Switch

It has been awhile since I last participated in the COYER (Clean Out Your E-Reads) Challenge. I know I said no challenges in 2017, but this one starts this month and goes into March of next year. I figured it was late enough in the year that it counts more as a 2018 reading challenge. The ladies who host COYER switch it up every winter and summer to keep us participants on our toes. I especially like this winter's twist. Participants can participate in the traditional COYER option (the Strict) or take on COYER Switch.

COYER Winter Switch has 3 components: The Strict, The List, and The One with the Twist. Participants in COYER Switch will do each component at different times. There will be three phases:
  • December 16 – January 12 
  • January 13 – February 9 
  • February 10 – March 9 
The components can be done in any order and are as follows:

THE STRICT (the good ol' strict COYER)
  • Every book you read must be an eBook or audiobook.
  • Every book must be either free or less than $5.
  • No library books, borrowed books, or Kindle Unlimited.
  • Make a list of up to 30 books you want to read. Every book on the list must be in your possession BEFORE you put them on the list.
  • You can add 5 new books for every 5 books you read.
  • Books on the list can be any format, any price, obtained any LEGAL way… so that means library books, KU, borrowed, etc.
  • You can read ANY book. ANY price. Obtained any LEGAL way. 
  • The Twist is, you have to stick with one format. If you choose audiobooks, then only the audiobooks you read during this phase will count. If you choose eBooks, then only eBooks you read during this phase will count. ETC….

My Plan:

December 16 – January 12 ~ I definitely need to devote more time to my e-galleys and so The Strict seems like the best place to start.

January 13 – February 9 ~ For the second round, I am going with The List. I can mix it up with physical, audio and e-books allowing me some flexibility. Another good thing about the List is that I can list up to 30 books. The chances of my reading more than five of those in the amount of time given is very slim, but at least it is leaving the door open for a nice variety of books--a kindness to my many reading moods.

February 10 – March 9 ~ That leaves me with The One With a Twist to close things off. Following the lead of Terri of Second Run Reviews, I will not be deciding on the format of the book I will stick to on the final round just yet. I want to see where I am on my list--and how I am feeling when the time comes. It will be between e-books and physical books though, as I do not listen to that many audio books.

My COYER Winter Switch Reading List (for The List Component):


One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews
Vanished by Karen E. Olson
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
Betrayed by Karen E. Olson
The Prime Minister's Secret Agent by Susan Elia MacNeal
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews
China Dolls by Lisa See
Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
Deja Moo by Kirsten Weiss
After the War is Over by Jennifer Robson
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
The Girl from the Savoy by Hazel Gaynor

Physical Books:

Sunday Sugar by Q. Gibson
Lie  Still by Julia Heaberlin
Reader, I Married Him: Stories Inspired by Jane Eyre edited by Tracy Chevalier
A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor
The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor
The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Hunger by Roxanne Gay
History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

I will not be setting a numeric goal. I will just try to stick to the categories. I will likely be breaking the rules in one regard, which I want to state up front. And I make no apologies for it. I am part of a mail book group and already have a prior commitment to read whichever book comes my way next.

COYER Winter Switch really will be a challenge, but I also plan to have a lot of fun with it.  Will you be joining in?

Thanks to Michelle, Berls and Stormi for hosting the challenge again!

© 2017, 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.