Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Shelf Control: Midnight Never Come by Marie Brennan

Shelf Control hosted by Lisa of Bookshelf Fantasies "is all about the books we want to read — and already own! Consider this a variation of a Wishing & Waiting post… but looking at books already available sitting right there on our shelves and e-readers."

Midnight Never Come by Marie Brennan (Orbit, 2008; 400 pgs)

Goodreads Summary:
England flourishes under the hand of its Virgin Queen: Elizabeth, Gloriana, last and most powerful of the Tudor monarchs. 
But a great light casts a great shadow. 
In hidden catacombs beneath London, a second Queen holds court: Invidiana, ruler of faerie England, and a dark mirror to the glory above. In the thirty years since Elizabeth ascended her throne, fae and mortal politics have become inextricably entwined, in secret alliances and ruthless betrayals whose existence is suspected only by a few. 
Two courtiers, both struggling for royal favor, are about to uncover the secrets that lie behind these two thrones. When the faerie lady Lune is sent to monitor and manipulate Elizabeth's spymaster, Walsingham, her path crosses that of Michael Deven, a mortal gentleman and agent of Walsingham's. His discovery of the "hidden player" in English politics will test Lune's loyalty and Deven's courage alike. Will she betray her Queen for the sake of a world that is not hers? And can he survive in the alien and Machiavellian world of the fae? For only together will they be able to find the source of Invidiana's power—find it, and break it… 
A breathtaking novel of intrigue and betrayal set in Elizabethan England; Midnight Never Come seamlessly weaves together history and the fantastic to dazzling effect.

How I got it: A holiday gift swap

When I got it: December 2009

Why I want to read it: I love the genre and novels featuring the fae. Not to mention Marie Brennan is an author I have been wanting to read for ages now. Her books come highly recommended, and I love the sound of them.

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think? Should I move it up in my TBR pile?

© 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, August 29, 2016

Where Is Your Bookmark: Including Mouse's Corner Edition of the Top Ten Tuesday List (Mostly)

I am definitely in the mood for something light after reading Love Anthony by Lisa Genova.  Here's a taste from the book I just started, Lost in Geeklandia by E.J. Russell, which about a woman who "has 30 days to turn her enemy into her boyfriend..." using a computer matchmaking computer program.

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.

The hotel ballroom doors whooshed closed behind Charlie Forrester, muffling the sound of wedding guests hooting at the groomsmen dancing to "Too Sexy for My Shirt." The lobby was mercifully empty, and she leaned against the wall, the silence easing her skittering nerves. 
Weddings. Just shoot me now. This was the fourth one she'd sneaked out of in  two months. 

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.

Random teaser from 25% of Lost in Geeklandia:
Charlie sat on the edge of the sofa, afraid that if she sank back into the cushions while wearing her shrink-wrapped outfit, she'd never get out again. She clasped her hands between her knees, and her gaze snapped to the distracting color on her nails. Manicures. Nail polish. Nail extensions. Lord.
What do you think? Would you keep reading?  

Charlie, our heroine, is clearly not comfortable in social settings, as we can see from the opening paragraphs of Lost in Geeklandia.

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 is a Back To School Freebie and so I thought I would share six books that have helped my daughter get into the Kindergarten spirit, and then, to top the list off, three books I am looking forward to reading now that the school year has started. Can you guess which are which?

1. The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Julie Durrell is similar in vein to the well known Night Before Christmas story, only it is about children preparing for Kindergarten the night before their first day as well as their first day. One of my favorite scenes in the book is of the kids having a great time while the parents look on . . . sniffling and tear-filled eyes. That was me!

2. Ready for Kindergarten, Stinky Face? by Lisa McCourt and illustrated by Cyd Moore is a witty and cute story about a child who is afraid of going to Kindergarten. His mother counters all of of his worst fears by turning them into something fun, whether it be a sink only pouring out grape juice or a hungry armadillo chasing the kids during art class.

3. Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten by Lynne Marie and illustrated by Anne Kennedy is about a Hedgehog who is afraid of riding the school bus for the first time. Making friends doesn't prove very easy given his physical form; he is rather prickly, after all.

4. Go to School, Little Monster by Helen Ketteman and illustrated by Bonnie Leick is the story of Little Monster's first day of school. I just love the Little Monster books and so does my daughter. Although so different lifestyle wise (we don't eat worms or ride on dragons during recess), there is much to relate to in these books. And the artwork is just beautiful.

5. Kindergarten, Here I Come! by D. J. Steinberg and illustrated by Mark Chambers, which offers children a look at what they might expect in Kindergarten.

6. Happy Halloween Mittens by Lola M. Schaefer and illustrated by Susan Kathleen Hartung is an "I Can Read" story about a boy and his cat. The cat who is always getting in the way proves he has  a talent for helping decorate for Halloween. Such a cute book!

7. The Last Day of Kindergarten by Nancy Loewen and illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa, which is about a young girl remembering the fun she had in kindergarten and how excited she is to be graduating.

8. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen is just one of the Jane Austen novels I want to read, but it is the most likely the one of hers I will read next. It is described as a Gothic parody, and everything about it sounds intriguing.

9. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyers has been on my to read list since I first heard about it and this year I actually plan to read it. It is a re-telling of the Cinderella fairytale, in a post war setting. It's got elements of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Dystopia.

10. U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton is the next in the Kinsey Milhone series I need to read. I am way behind, and would really like to catch up. This is one of my favorite mystery series, and so I have no good excuse.

Have you read any of these books? What books would make your back to school book list?

Kindergarten, here Mouse comes!

© 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, August 28, 2016

From the Archives: A Blogging Retrospective - August 2006

[Post idea stolen borrowed inspired by Kay of Kay's Reading Life's Bookish Nostalgia and Stacy of Stacy's Books' A Look Back features. Thank you, Ladies!]

I spent less time amongst the pages of books this month than I have in the last couple of months, but my August adventures were no less worthwhile. I traveled the world and through time, ducked a few physical and magical blows, tracked down the bad guys, and breathed in the ocean air.
And so August of 2006 came to an end. After starting my book blogging career with a bang (16 posts in the later half of the previous month), I settled into what would become my average for the next couple months with 9 posts. 

I cross-posted a couple reviews I had written for the website Front Street Reviews, which is no longer in business, as well as a few from Curled Up With a Good Book, mixing it up with books of my own. The one book I won from Harper Collins First Look Program, was my first DNF of the year. The book was Haweswater by Sarah Hall, a historical fiction novel set in 1936 England. While the prologue drew me in, I was soon bored, weighed down by description, and decided it best to set the book aside. I never returned to it.

I tried out a new mystery series called Targets of Affection by RG Willems featuring a veterinary technician, that tackled the heavy topics of animal and child abuse. Although at times on the slow side, I enjoyed the novel and getting to know the characters. The relationship between Shelby, the protagonist, and her husband, as well as her dog, Spin, especially stood out for me.

The Shattered Blue Line by Patrick A. Davis was a new to me type mystery, a military thriller, set at the Air Force Academy. Murder and politics always mean high stakes, and it proves true in this case too. Continuing with the thriller theme, I read and enjoyed my first George Pelecanos' novel, The Night Gardener. I had heard a lot about Pelecanos and was eager to give his work a try. True to expectation, the novel was dark and gritty, where nothing was simply black and white. While The Shattered Blue Line was more about guilt and atonement, The Night Gardener was centered around our actions and their consequences.

Stepping a little out of my comfort zone, I agreed to read a Christian thriller novel, the first in a trilogy by Lisa T. Bergren called The Begotten, in August of 2006. The novel has some fantasy elements and was overall an entertaining read. Not enough, however, for me to go on and finish the trilogy.

Catherine Chidgey's The Strength of the Sun stands out from my August reads that month ten years ago because it was the only book that I reviewed that didn't qualify as a mystery. The past and the present, as well as the characters lives, are woven together in a story about loss, love, and human connectedness.

That August, I revisited two series I enjoyed. It was good to visit again with protagonist, Melanie Vargas, a federal prosecutor in a series by Michelle Martinez. The Finishing School is the second in the series. Melanie is a great character, and it was interesting to see how she balanced motherhood with work, especially with such a demanding job. I ended the month visiting with my favorite wizard, Harry Dresden in Proven Guilty. I always feel a bit out of breath after finishing one of Jim Butcher's novels. 

On a personal front, I discovered that month my request to change shifts at work was accepted. At the end of the month, I would move from the swing shift to the day shift, or so I hoped. My husband and I were enjoying the second season of Veronica Mars, and Parker and Riley were as playful as ever. And so concludes my August of 2016.

  • Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think?
  • Do you remember what you were reading 10 years ago? 
  • What was the last book you read that was outside of your comfort zone?

  • © 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, August 27, 2016

    Sunday Post: New Books, Soccer & Busy Times

    The Sunday Post is hosted by the wonderful Kimba, 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. 

    The weather has been wonderful this weekend. It almost feels like fall is on its way; although, I suppose that will change quickly as another heat wave is on its way. Summer never gives up easily. And it's too soon for wishful thinking.

    How have you all been? I hadn't meant to be away last week, but life has been crazy. It will probably be like that for awhile until our family settles into our new routine. Changes are afoot at work too, which means getting used to new routines there as well.

    What are you reading this weekend? Have you watched anything you would recommend?

    Here's what I've been up to:

    New to My Shelves:

    Fractured by Catherine McKenzie
    (from the publisher for tour review)


    Peanut Butter and Cupcake by Terry Border
    (purchased for my daughter)

    What I Am Reading: I am behind in my reading. I still haven't started my August TBR book. And I'm slowly making way through Love Anthony by Lisa Genova for my postal mail group. It isn't that I am not enjoying it. It just touches on two topics I do not like to read about (infidelity and the death of a child). Not to mention I have been very busy as of late. Work has picked up considerably now that school is in session and with the start of school and the soccer season for Mouse . . . well, you get the picture.

    What I Am Listening To: My cat purring.

    What I Am Watching: A couple weeks ago I got the rare opportunity to catch a movie by myself in the theater. The Suicide Squad fit into my available time slot just perfectly, and I had been wanting to see it. I am not too familiar with comic villains, but I do love a good superhero movie. I thought it was entertaining and action-packed, even if violent and very dark.

    Mouse and I have been watching the first season of Once Upon a Time (my second time around). She's quite fond of Henry's character and has added Emma and Henry characters to her imaginary play when she's playing with her princess toys (except in her world, the two are married--not mother and son).

    I got the chance to see the latest episode of Fear of the Walking Dead now that the second season has resumed. The episode focused on Nick, and was quite good, I thought, portraying the suffering and desperation he was going through as he struggled to survive.

    What's Going On Off the Blog: Mouse had her first soccer game Saturday. At this age, the teams don't keep score. It is obvious some of the girls have more experience than others. And even despite my daughter's own experience, she isn't the most competitive or aggressive. Of course, it's all about having fun at this age and just learning to keep the ball going in the right direction.

     Before Game Huddle

    It didn't help that Mouse was not feeling her best. Her allergies got the better of her and her swim lesson on Friday didn't help. She ended up with an ear infection. She's now on antibiotics and is feeling much better.

    Mouse and I attended the meet and greet with her teacher Friday, and we got to meet some of Mouse's new classmates. There was a scavenger hunt so the kids would be familiar with the layout of the classroom. When we left the school that afternoon, Mouse couldn't stop talking about how she was looking forward to starting school on Monday.

    Mixed in with all that was a stressful week at work and some bad news on the home front. I was feeling emotionally exhausted going into this weekend, and am so glad it is finally here.

    Around the Blogosphere:

    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.

    Can you say this sentence describes you? READING IS MY PASSION. (submitted by Elizabeth

    According to Merriam Webster's simple definition, passion means
    : a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something  
    : a strong feeling (such as anger) that causes you to act in a dangerous way 
    Considering I have walked into a wall or two while entranced by a book that has me gripped in its thrall, I guess you could say my strong feelings for reading have caused me to act in a dangerous way. I also am able to tune everything out around me, which is risky when someone you love is trying to talk to you. Mostly though, my passion for reading falls under the "feeling of enthusiasm or excitement" category. I suffer withdrawals if I go without reading for long, my mind aching to read the written word. I like to always carry a book with me, wherever I go, even when I know I will not be able to read. I feel lost when I don't have a book with me. I cannot imagine my life without books. So, yes, reading is my passion. At least one of them, anyway. 

    Is reading one of your passions?

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

    © 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, August 21, 2016

    Bookish Thoughts: The Whiskey Sea by Ann Howard Creel

    She opened her eyes to blackness. ~ Opening of The Whiskey Sea

    The Whiskey Sea by Ann Howard Creel
    Lake Union Publishing, 2016
    Fiction; 300 pgs

    From Goodreads: 
    Motherless and destitute, Frieda Hope grows up during Prohibition determined to make a better life for herself and her sister, Bea. The girls are taken in by a kindly fisherman named Silver, and Frieda begins to feel at home whenever she is on the water. When Silver sells his fishing boat to WWI veteran Sam Hicks, thinking Sam would be a fine husband for Frieda, she’s outraged. But Frieda manages to talk Sam into teaching her to repair boat engines instead, so she has a trade of her own and won’t have to marry.  
    Frieda quickly discovers that a mechanic’s wages won’t support Bea and Silver, so she joins a team of rumrunners, speeding into dangerous waters to transport illegal liquor. Frieda becomes swept up in the lucrative, risky work—and swept off her feet by a handsome Ivy Leaguer who’s in it just for fun.  
    As danger mounts and her own feelings threaten to drown her, can Frieda find her way back to solid ground—and to a love that will sustain her?
    I was instantly drawn into The Whiskey Sea, the story of Frieda Hope, a young woman with the world on her shoulders. Just out of high school, Frieda's dreams are wrapped up in caring for her sister, Bea, and in carrying for the ailing fisherman who took she and her sister in when they were young children. Frieda loves the sea and wants nothing more than to earn her living the same way Silver had. Frieda is both stubborn and determined. Her heart is in the right place, but she does not always see beyond her own thoughts and ideas. This is a theme we see throughout the novel, as Frieda matures and grows into the woman she will become.

    Most of what I know about the Prohibition era is what I learned from history books and organized crime movies and shows (i.e. Boardwalk Empire). Occasionally a novel will take me into a speakeasy, but the focus is rarely on Prohibition itself. Prohibition was a Constitutional law (the 18th Amendment) prohibiting the production, importing, transportation and sale of alcohol throughout the United States. Frieda's decision to join a rum running team did not come easy. She would be putting her own life at risk, not to mention breaking the law. The lure of making fast money--and a lot of it--is too good to pass up, however, and Frieda soon finds herself drawn into rum running. Especially given Silver's poor health and Bea's future to look after.

    The author really brings to the forefront the changes rum running went through over the course of the Prohibition era. From being a local free for all to becoming more organized, from a party atmosphere to a more dangerous business, as time went on. Even enforcement of the law changed over time, as can be seen as Frieda and her team run into more obstacles. Seeing all this come together was perhaps my most favorite part of the novel.

    For me, The Whiskey Sea is more a coming of age story. Frieda's lead a sheltered life in many respects, even with the hardships she has faced. Her world expands when she becomes a boat mechanic and then a rum runner. As someone who prides herself for her independence and self-preservation, falling in love with a gentleman with money is last thing she expects. The handsome Charles is intrigued by Frieda, who wears trousers and drinks with men. She is unlike anyone else he has met.

    Sam Hicks and Bea Hope are minor characters in the novel, but both play large roles in Frieda's life. Bea is so different from her sister in temperament and life experience. Sam is more so the faithful friend and moral compass of the novel. I adored him.

    I cannot say I was surprised by the direction the novel took. Whether in love or rum running, it was pretty obvious to me how everything would turn out. Still, I enjoyed this novel quite a bit, getting to know Frieda and her family and friends. And I love Ann Howard Creel's writing style.

    The historical aspects of the novel were what most intrigued me in this novel, but I also was quite taken with Frieda's own journey and growth as a character. She did not always make the best choices and faced the consequences as a result, but as is true for many of us, these are lessons we need to learn on our own. They are what shape us and make us who we are.  Overall, I enjoyed  The Whiskey Sea.

    To learn more about Ann Howard Creel and her work, please visit the author's websiteShe can also be found on Goodreads.

    I hope you will check out what others had to say about June on the TLC Book Tours route!

    Many thanks to the TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour.  Review copy provided by publisher for an honest review.

    © 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.