Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Wishing for Wednesday: Witches & A Childhood Mystery Come to Light

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. 

Fantasy and mystery are two of my favorite genres to read. Then is it any surprise these would catch my attention?

Keeper by Kim Chance (277 pgs)
Release Date: January 30, 2018 by Flux
When a 200-year-old witch attacks her, sixteen-year-old bookworm Lainey Styles is determined to find a logical explanation. Even with the impossible staring her in the face, Lainey refuses to believe it—until she finds a photograph linking the witch to her dead mother.

After consulting a psychic, Lainey discovers that she, like her mother, is a Keeper: a witch with the exclusive ability to unlock and wield the Grimoire, a dangerous but powerful spell book. But there’s a problem. The Grimoire has been stolen by a malevolent warlock who is desperate for a spell locked inside it—a spell that would allow him to siphon away the world’s magic.

With the help of her comic-book-loving best friend and an enigmatic but admittedly handsome street fighter, Lainey must leave her life of college prep and studying behind to prepare for the biggest test of all: stealing back the book.
[Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read it: A bookworm and a witch? That alone caught my attention and makes me want to read this one.


A Whisper of Bones by Ellen Hart (352 pgs)
Release Date: January 30, 2018 by Minotaur Books
Fans of Jane Lawless new and old will be fascinated by newly minted Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Ellen Hart's latest intricate puzzle in A Whisper of Bones.

Britt Ickles doesn't remember much from her only visit to her mother's childhood home when she was a kid, except for playing with her cousin Timmy and the eruption of a sudden family feud. That's why, when she drops by unannounced after years of silence, she's shocked when her aunts tell her Timmy never existed, that she must be confusing him with someone else. But Britt can't shake the feeling that Timmy did exist...and that something horrible has happened to him. Something her aunts want to cover up.

Britt hires Jane Lawless, hoping the private investigator can figure out what really happened to her cousin. When a fire in the family's garage leads to the discovery of buried bones and one of the aunts dies suddenly and suspiciously, Jane can't help but be pulled into the case. Do the bones belong to Timmy? Was the aunt's death an accident, suicide, or homicide? What dark secret has this family been hiding for decades? It all depends on Jane Lawless to unravel.
[Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read it: I believe this is the 25th book in the series, would should be enough to make me have second thoughts about this one, but the premise fascinates me.

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

© 2018, 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, January 21, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: These Violent Delights by Victoria Namkung

"What is the point of a high school reunion when you can already see who got fat and bald on Facebook?" ~ Opening of These Violent Delights

These Violent Delights by Victoria Namkung 
Griffith Moon, 2017
Fiction; 243 pgs
Source: I purchased a copy of this book for my own reading pleasure.
Goodreads Summary: 
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.

 I was excited when I received Victoria Namkung’s These Violent Delights in the most recent My Lit Box. I hadn’t heard of the author or book before, but I was immediately curious about this book described as being straight from the headlines. Just about every time I tune into the news, there is another story about sexual assault or sexual harassment. I had high expectations going into Namkung’s book, especially given how much I have loved and enjoyed my other My Lit Box selections.

An intern with a Los Angeles newspaper comes forward with a story of her own, opening a can of worms at a prestigious girls’ school, Windemere. Her disclosure leads to other disclosures, revealing just how deep the cover up and how long a well-respected teacher and chair of the English Department had been targeting teen girls, luring them into sexual relationships. Told from multiple viewpoints, Namkung’s novel gives voice to three of his victims as well as the news journalist covering the story.

I think books like this are important for many reasons, including bringing to light the trauma and impact sexual harassment or assault can have on a person. This isn’t something that just happens and you can get over it. It affects a person’s self-view and their relationships. Everyone has different coping mechanisms—some turn to drugs and alcohol, promiscuity, or even religion. Some are better able to deal with the guilt and shame that often follows being victimized. If the victims are lucky, the perpetrator is punished for his or her crime, but unfortunately the victim also suffers, often for a lifetime. Namkung doesn’t hold back in describing the backlash the women face for coming forward. The hate, threats and shaming, the blaming of the victims and the overall support for the perpetrator. I liked the example reporter Jane offers her coworker who questions why the victims waited so long to speak up. If someone has her cell phone stolen, we all feel bad for her. Our first instinct isn’t the blame her, but to blame the thief. Too often in sexual harassment and assault cases, the victims are the first to be blamed. Whether it be what they were wearing, something they said—or didn’t say—what they’d had to drink, and so on. They must have asked for it.  Or they are lying to get money, fame or revenge. The question should not be why victims do not come forward or take so long, given our societal treatment and reaction to victims of sexual crimes, but why they do at all? It takes great courage to speak out, especially given social and news media today.

I really wanted to like this book more than I did. I think the women’s stories are all realistic and relateable. From Sasha to Eva, Caryn and even Jane. I liked that Namkung takes the reader through the “process”—from disclosure to the fallout and the investigation and through to the trial. The anger and sadness, the pain and doubt . . . All of it is very present in this novel and for good reason. She also touches on cultural issues through the voices of her characters. Eva, a Latina, and Caryn, a Korean American, as well as economic ones. Sexual assault does not have a set demographic. It crosses over every line. How families and communities deal with it, however, can differ depending on culture and economics.

My issues with the novel has more to do with the writing. It is clear the novel is well–researched. However, it felt like the author had a list of talking points she wanted to include, and so some of the conversations between the characters seemed forced, especially in the beginning. I also never quite felt the emotional connection to any of the characters I would have hoped to feel, especially given the type of novel it was. I would liked have had a little more depth--more showing instead of telling, if you will. Even with this though, I had a hard time putting These Violent Delights down when I had to.

I think These Violent Delights covers important ground, and I appreciated the insight and research the author put into it. It was  compelling read, and I am glad I read it. While this book did not live up to my expectations, I know that several others have loved it. Maybe you will too.

To learn more about Victoria Namkung and her books, please visit the author's website. You can also find the author on GoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter.

© 2018, 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, January 20, 2018

Weekly Mews: Longing for My Cozy Warm Bed

I am linking up to the Sunday Post hosted by the wonderful Kim of Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where participants 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.

The Christmas tree is finally down. My house has returned to some semblance of normal. We got a little rain yesterday, which was nice. I hope it rains more today, but the sunshine peeking in the windows seems to indicate otherwise.

This past week was a tough one at work--busy too. It was the kind of week I come home each day and give my family extra hugs and am grateful for what I have. Mouse is settled back into school. She has decided she wants to try out for The Wizard of Oz musical. Auditions are still a month out, but it will be here soon enough.

What I Am Reading: I finished my January TBR List winner, Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr this week, staying up past my bedtime one night to finish it. Thanks again to all who voted in my poll! I am so tempted to spend the $3.99 for the next book in the series . . .

 I used the time I was waiting in my car to pick up my daughter from school on Friday and then while she was in dance class to read Q. Gibson's poetry collection, Sunday Sugar. I cannot wait to tell you about it!

I also got in a little War and Peace  (in which I am a bit behind) and Les Misérables (in which I am a couple chapters ahead). I admit to being a little worried reading both at the same time will get confusing, but so far it hasn't happened. Les Misérables is proving to be a much easier read. Although I am not struggling as much with War and Peace as I had in the past. It could be because I have read this portion of the book several times before so it is familiar to me. I like to think though that I am just in a better place to read it this time around.

Next up will be Karen E. Olson's Vanished.  The cliffhanger at the end of Betrayed has me dying to know what happened next.

What I Am Watching: Mouse mentioned on Friday that one of the kids at school told her she looked like Pippi Longstocking. I do not see it, but maybe it was her outfit that day. Mouse definitely has her own sense of style, as often six year olds do. But even that would be a stretch. We have since watched the 1961 version of Pippi Longstocking on Amazon Prime, and Mouse is officially a fan. I wish I could find the version I watched growing up. I think she would enjoy that too. I look forward to introducing her to books now (plus they count towards the Classics Club!). Mouse is also into the old Popeye cartoons. Were they always this bad?! Popeye was not a nice guy . . .

I continue to work my way through the 12th season of Supernatural. This season seems a bit lighter in some ways than past seasons (if that's possible).  I haven't been watching The Good Place because my husband hasn't been available to watch it with me. One of these days.

What I Am Worried About: My mom. Evidently the doctor's initial assessment that they had gotten all the cancer out during the first surgery was a premature. The second surgery revealed they hadn't gotten it all. This coming Friday she will be having a  third surgery to hopefully get the remaining cancerous cells out. The prognosis is still very good, but you can imagine how worried I am, and what this must be doing to my mom. I hate that I cannot be with her right now. She's 442 miles away, and I am not in a position where I can drop everything and be with her. It's weighing heavily on my heart. My brother and his wife are much closer, but it's just not the same. Thank you to all of you who have been praying for her and sending good well wishes. Please keep them coming.

What I Am Grateful For:  My cozy warm bed, my husband's macaroni and cheese and Mouse's big hug when I pick her up after work.

Tell me about what you have been up to! What are you reading, listening to and watching? How was your week? Do you have anything planned for this coming week?

© 2018, 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.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Where Is Your Bookmark? (A Peek into Wicked Lovely)

I am about to enter the final climactic chapter of Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely, and so am in a bit of a rush to put this post together and publish it tonight (please don't let there be a cliffhanger!). I expect to finish the book before I drift off to sleep tonight. That is the plan anyway. We'll see if my eyes cooperate. 

Wicked Lovely is this month's TBR List poll winner, so many of you may already know what it is about. Just in case: 

Rule #3: Don't stare at invisible faeries. Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty - especially if they learn of her Sight - and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens. 
Rule #2: Don't speak to invisible faeries. Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer. 
Rule #1: Don't ever attract their attention. But it's too late. Keenan is the Summer King, who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost — regardless of her plans or desires. 
Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything. 
Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr's stunning twenty-first-century faery tale. [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.

The Summer King knelt before her. "Is this what you freely choose, to risk winter's chill?"

My thoughts: This is the opening of the prologue, starting with a scene in the past that will set the stage for what is to come. With that opening question, I wanted to know too--what would the answer be?

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.

She clenched her hands so tightly that icicles formed on the tips of her fingernails. Now comes the hard part.  [56%]

My thoughts: I am well past this point now, and while this is just a couple sentences from the scene--and not even the part that really reveals anything--it is one of the more telling scenes in the novel. I like the image this particular tidbit forms in my mind though, and couldn't resist sharing.

What do you think? Does this sound like something you would be interested in reading? 

© 2018, 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, January 17, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: Shadowed by Karen E. Olson

He is looking for me. ~ Opening of Shadowed

Shadowed (Black Hat Thriller #2) by Karen E. Olson
Severn House, 2016
Crime Fiction (Thriller); 224 pgs
Source: I purchased a copy for my own reading pleasure.

I nearly read the first book in the Black Hat series in one sitting and I came close to doing so with this one too (darn life interruptions). Shadowed is the second book in Karen E. Olson’s series featuring hacker Nicole Jones. Nicole has made a new life for herself in Quebec, Canada, on a remote island, making her living painting. She goes by the name Susan McQueen. Once she had been able to stay away from the computer, but now the pull is just too strong. When Nicole clicks on a link, thinking it was sent by her old friend Tracker, she immediately realizes her mistake. Her laptop now has a shadow, and someone is able to access all of her files and search history—and see everything she’s doing. The situation escalates very quickly as the shadow demands ransom and soon it is a game of cat and mouse as Nicole must go on the run again to save herself. She is determined to find out who her stalker is and stop whoever it is.

I loved Hidden, and I really enjoyed Shadowed as well. Nicole is such an interesting character, not your typical image of a hacker—older and a woman to boot. She’s used to living on her own, having to make something out nothing. In Shadowed, the reader learns a little more about her past, including  a little about her relationship with her father. And also Tracker, a man she only knows through the computer, who she counts as her friend and only hope of getting out of her current situation. Only, now she even has doubts about him.

I have visited Quebec in books before, but never quite like I did in this one. Luck and tenacity seem to be on Nicole’s side as she evades law enforcement and the person(s) out to get her. Although, I am sure she wouldn’t agree given all the obstacles that came her way. She’s already lost so much, and longs to settle down somewhere and stop running. I found myself holding my breath a few times, not sure how Nicole would get out of the predicaments she found herself in.

Shadowed had me hooked from the start and I cannot wait to dive into the next two books in the series, Betrayed and Vanished. The Black Hat series has become one of my must read series.

To learn more about Karen E. Olson and her books, please visit the author's website. You can also find the author on GoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter.

© 2018, 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.