Saturday, September 23, 2017

Weekend Mews (09/23/2017)

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. As well as Stacking the Shelves hosted by the great Team Tynga's Reviews and Marlene of Reading Reality a meme in which participants share what new books came their way recently.

Happy autumn! It is now officially fall. My daughter was getting out the car the other day, and I suggested we go leaf stomping as there were some brown leaves scattered on our driveway. She took great pleasure in turning them into dust, hearing them crunch beneath her feet. Most of our trees' leaves are still green. Another sign of fall came by way of my needing to cover up at night these last couple of nights. I noticed the neighbors one street over have hooked up their Halloween lights (Christmas lights, but for Halloween) and the dance studio Mouse takes classes was decorated with ghosts, and spiders and jack-lanterns this week. Soon we will be planning our trip to the pumpkin patch, I imagine. 

What are you up to this weekend? Mouse had an early morning soccer game today (another win for their team-yay!). As is becoming our tradition this soccer season, we followed it up with breakfast out. Then it was off to the library. We have settled in for the afternoon. Mouse and I made a blanket fort, which she said turned out pretty awesome. But only one person can fit in it at a time. A small person at that. We also did a little science project. Now we are trying to decide what to do about dinner. I voted for ice cream, but I do not think my husband and daughter will go for that. Well, maybe my daughter will . . .

Thank you to everyone for their kind thoughts and well wishes for my senior cat, Parker. He is scheduled for an ultrasound this coming week. The fur on his belly has just barely grown back after the last one. Poor little guy.


New to My Shelves (book covers are linked to Goodreads page for each book, with the exception of the library books)

Thanks to Alicia of A Kernel of Nonsense, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli finally made it off my wish list and onto my TBR pile. I am looking forward to finally reading this one!





I am very picky about which books I select to read for Penguin's First to Read program because I am not a fan of reading books in PDF format. Occasionally, a book is offered though that I just cannot resist. Death in the Stacks by Jenn McKinlay is one such book.  Although I haven't read any of the other books in the series, cozy mysteries tend to be suitable for stand alone reading, and so I'm going to give the series a try with this one. 





I was slow about getting around to choosing my Kindle First book for September. I went with Teresa Driscoll's I Am Watching You. It feels like it's been a while since I lost myself in a good thriller, and the premise of this one appealed to me.





Little Britches and the Rattlers by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Vincent Nguyen
The Magic School Bus: Comes to Its Senses by by Kristin Earhart, illustrated by Carolyn Bracken, created by Joanna Cole
Jane vs. the Took Fairy by Betsy Jay, illustrated by Lori Osiecki
Frozen Fever: Anna's Birthday Secret adapted by Jessica Julius
Clark the Shark by Bruce Hale, illustrated by Guy Francis
Rulers of the Playground by Joseph Kuefler

What I Am Reading: I am a good way into The Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo. Set in World War II, the novel is about two nurses stationed on different fronts of the war, one in Europe and the other in the Pacific. I suspected I might like the book given my attraction to WWII fiction, but I find I am enjoying it even more than expected. I plan to finish it soon, and then dive back into Brad Watson's Miss Jane. I seem to have let that one fall by the wayside this month somehow.

What I Am Listening To: My cat, Gracie, purring on my lap as I type this.

What I am Watching: The Magic School Bus. Oh, and I took Katherine of I Wish I Lived in a Library up on her recommendation to see a Hallmark Aurora Teagarden movie, Real Murders. I thought it was a lot of fun.

What My Week Was Like: It was a typical week in the Literary Feline household. I found myself with a little extra reading time a couple times this week, which was nice. Homework went a little more smoothly this week--we're starting to find our groove. This school year, Mouse is much more talkative about her school days, which is nice. I get more than an "I don't remember" out of her when I ask her questions about it.

It was a rough week at work. The kind of days that make me come home and hug my daughter close and thank my lucky stars.

We got a flyer about the upcoming Holiday Showcase for Mouse's dance studio. It only took a couple hours for my eyes to return to their sockets after bulging out at the cost of the costume.

What I Am Worried About: I am still worried about Parker. And with another earthquake hitting Mexico (my prayers go out to those impacted), I am making more of an effort to make sure we are prepared in case we get one here. The last big one I went through was the Northridge Earthquake in 1994. I have felt several more since then, of course, but none of those have caused that much damage.

What I am Grateful For: This beautiful day and being able to spend it with my family. Oh, and also to Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches.


This Week In Reading Mews:

Around the Blogosphere:

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?


© 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.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Friday Fun: Good Food, Banned/Challenged Books & Authors I'd Like to Meet--or Not

A couple days ago I started reading Teresa Messineo's The Fire by Night for an upcoming book tour. I could not resist this one after reading the blurb.

 Snippet from Goodreads Summary:  
 A powerful and evocative debut novel about two American military nurses during World War II that illuminates the unsung heroism of women who risked their lives in the fight—a riveting saga of friendship, valor, sacrifice, and survival combining the grit and selflessness of Band of Brothers with the emotional resonance of The Nightingale.

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 was cleaning his wound now, patting at it with gauze in the half-light, washing it with the cold water she had boiled earlier, still sitting in its freezing teapot. He kept getting the gun between her and the light. Exasperated, she grabbed the Luger from him--but just to thrust it back into his other hand, pushing both up against her head. "There, fine, shoot me if you have to, but just stay out of my light." [56% from uncorrected proof, e-copy of The Fire by Light]
She certainly has moxie, doesn't she? It may seem a bit reckless on her part to grab the gun away from him and give it back, but given what she's been through and where she is in that moment . . . I would say she doesn't have much to lose. At least, she doesn't think so. As a result, she resorts to the one thing she does have control over. Putting her nursing skills to use.


What do you think? Is this a book you would continue reading?

*

Each week Maureen from Maureen's Books asks participants to share a favorite on the weekly designated topic.

This week's topic is my favorite restaurant.

I am not really sure I have a favorite restaurant. Red Robin perhaps because I love their Whiskey Barbecue Chicken Wrap. Or it could be Romano's Chicago Pizzeria, whose pizza I have been favoring lately. Even my daughter likes their pizza, which is saying something because she hates almost everything. Then there is Don Jose's (now Rodrigo's, although I haven't been there since they changed their name), when I'm in the mood for some good Mexican food. Joe's Italian Restaurant is a favorite place to take out of town guests who like Italian food. It's on the smaller side and plays the old oldies-- and it is a nice cozyatmosphere.

Do you have a favorite restaurant? 

*

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.

In regards of Banned Books Week (www.bannedbooksweek.org/), what are your favourite books that has been banned or challenged?

A few years ago for Banned Book week, I read a novel by Laurie Halse Anderson called Speak. The book had a profound impact on me. I saw myself in the main character Melinda. It was like looking at myself in a mirror, despite our circumstances being somewhat different. Parents over the years have challenged the book, calling it pornography (Melinda is raped) and arguing that it deals with too difficult issues such as bullying, depression, rape, and harassment which they believe aren't suitable for their teens to read about. And yet these are very real issues our kids face. Pretending they don't by not letting them read about it, can have the opposite intended effect. Had this book been around when I was in school, would it have changed anything for me? Maybe not. But at least I would have known I wasn't alone.

On a less serious note (sort of--because trying to ban books is just wrong), I couldn't help but think of the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling, which have been accused of glorifying witchcraft. The fear is that these books will lead our children to practice real-world witchcraft. I adore these books. In fact, I love books about magic in general. I have since I was a child. My daughter likes to play pretend and will cast spells and such. Those against Harry Potter would likely call me a bad parent. Let them. I like to cast spells alongside my daughter. This last time, we turned the cats into a prince and princess.

Another favorite, J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, has been banned in multiple places over the years, believed to be anti-religious, anti-Christian, and promoting witchcraft. Anyone who knows Tolkien's history knows how ludicrous this is. The author, in a letter to his friend and fellow writer C.S. Lewis, acknowledged that The Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit) had elements and themes of Christianity throughout. He himself was a devout Catholic.

It makes me sad and angry that in today's day and age books still face being pulled off the shelf because someone feels threatened by a book that goes against their personal beliefs. It is one thing for a person to choose not to read a book him or herself--or even to make that decision for their own children. It is an entirely different one when someone wants to take that choice away from everyone else.

Next week I will be focusing some on banned books for Banned Book Week, including children's picture books, including one by Dr. Seuss that is a household favorite.

What about you? What are your favorite banned or challenged books?

*

Everyone has a favorite and then we also have something we dislike. Like a coin, there are two sides to every question. Each week, Carrie at The Butterfly Reads and Laura from Blue Eye Books ask participants to list what they like and don't like about that week's topic.


This week's topic is Author You'd Most/Least Like to Meet

Author I would most like to meet:

I can think of a number of authors I would like to meet: Juliette Cross, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Neil Gaiman, Sue Grafton, Karen E. Olson, Lisa See, Stephen King, just for starters. But if I have to chose the one I most want to meet, that would likely be J.K. Rowling. Not only has she demonstrated that she is a brilliant story teller in multiple formats, but she also seems like a smart and courageous woman. She has come a long way in her life to make her dream become a reality. She stands up for what she believes and is not afraid to speak her mind. I have a lot of respect for J.K. Rowling, not only as a talented author, but also for the person she is.


Author I Would Least Like to Meet:

Whereas it was hard to narrow down my list of authors I would most like to meet, I found it particularly difficult to come up with ones I would least like to meet. I can think of a few people who have written books on the political spectrum I would like to avoid like the plague, but I really didn't want to go there. So, instead, I am taking the easy way out. The author I would least like to meet (at least for the sake of today): J.D. Salinger. Not just because he is dead and either a) I'd have to be dead to meet him or b) he would be a ghost and there's no telling if he would be a friendly one. No, I simply would not want to meet him because he likely wouldn't want to me. Or anyone for that matter. He was a recluse for a good part of his life. And as such, I would respect his desire for privacy.


Which author would you most like to meet? How about least? 


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

© 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.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Bookish Thoughts: I Want My Epidural Back by Karen Alpert

Before I became a mom, I used to hear people say that having a kid is hard. ~ Opening of I Want My Epidural Back




I Want My Epidural Back: Adventures in Mediocre Parenting by Karen Alpert
William Morrow, 2016
Nonfiction; 309 pgs

Goodreads Summary: 
Now that I m a mom, I know the most painful part isn't getting something giant through your hooha....

As someone who often considers myself a mediocre parent, I was quite eager to give Karen Alpert's book, I Want My Epidural Back, a try. Besides, as tough as parenting can be sometimes, it is necessary to find the humor in it. I don't often indulge in books like this, admittedly, but it sounded like fun. The author blogs at Baby Sideburns, a blog, I was not aware of before reading this book. I found the best way to read this one was in small doses, a section or two at a time in between the more serious books I was reading at the time. While there were some over the top moments in the book, overall, I found myself laughing and nodding along often. The chapter about becoming a Girl Scout Leader? I can relate! I've been known to wash all my clothes in cold water so I can do fewer loads of laundry. It's clear the author loves her children. While there is colorful language and a cringe-worthy nickname or two for her kids (it's probably just me), I found Alpert's book entertaining and relatable. I appreciate her honesty and humor.

You can learn more about Karen Alpert and her books on the author's website


© 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, September 19, 2017

Wishing For Wednesday: Where I Go Book Crazy Again



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.)

I kind of went overboard again this week with listing titles from my wishlist. Although I haven't yet read any of Charlaine Harris' Aurora Teagarden series (how is that possible?!), putting her newest on my wish list was a no-brainer. While fall to me signals cozies, Kate Moretti's new book sounds too good to pass up--perfect for this time of year. And diving into an urban fantasy novel sounds so good right about now. Chloe Neill's series has piqued my interest. I'll likely go back and start with the first book in the series.

Yes, it's that time of year again. I have a soft spot for Christmas romance and am looking forward to reading the two below titles, especially the one by RaeAnne Thayne, whose books I adore).


Sleep Like a Baby by Charlaine Harris (288 pgs)
Release Date: September 26, 2017 by Piatkus Books
In the latest installment of the #1 New York Times Bestselling Charlaine Harris's Aurora Teagarden series, Robin and Aurora have finally begun their adventure in parenting. With newborn Sophie proving to be quite a handful, Roe's mother pays for a partially trained nurse, Virginia Mitchell, to come help the new parents for a few weeks. Virginia proves to be especially helpful when Robin has to leave town for work and Roe is struck with a bad case of the flu.  
One particularly stormy night, Roe wakes to hear her daughter crying and Virginia nowhere to be found. Roe's brother Philip helps her search the house and they happen upon a body outside... but it isn't Virginia's. Now, not only does she have a newborn to care for and a vulnerable new marriage to nurture, Roe also has to contend with a new puzzle - who is this mystery woman dead in their backyard, and what happened to Virginia? This heart-pounding and exciting next installment of the Aurora Teagarden series will leave fans happy and hungry for more. [Goodreads Summary]


The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti (304 pgs)
Release Date: September 26, 2017 by Atria Books
In a quiet Pennsylvania town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school baseball field, unleashing a horrifying and unexpected chain of events that will rock the close-knit community.

Beloved baseball coach and teacher Nate Winters and his wife, Alicia, are well respected throughout town. That is, until one of the many reporters investigating the bizarre bird phenomenon catches Nate embracing a wayward student, Lucia Hamm, in front of a sleazy motel. Lucia soon buoys the scandal by claiming that she and Nate are engaged in an affair, throwing the town into an uproar…and leaving Alicia to wonder if her husband has a second life.

And when Lucia suddenly disappears, the police only to have one suspect: Nate.

Nate’s coworker and sole supporter, Bridget Harris, Lucia’s creative writing teacher, is determined to prove his innocence. She has Lucia’s class journal, and while some of the entries appear particularly damning to Nate’s case, others just don’t add up. Bridget knows the key to Nate’s exoneration and the truth of Lucia’s disappearance lie within the walls of the school and in the pages of that journal.

Told from the alternating points of view of Alicia, Nate, Lucia, and Bridget,
The Blackbird Season is a haunting, psychologically nuanced suspense, filled with Kate Moretti’s signature “chillingly satisfying” (Publishers Weekly) twists and turns. [Goodreads Summary]


The Hunt (Devil's Isle #3) by Chloe Neill (336 pgs)
Release Date: September 26, 2017 by Berkley
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Chicagoland Vampires Novels--the hunter becomes the hunted in a New Orleans devastated by a Paranormal war.... 
When bounty hunter Liam Quinn discovered that Claire Connolly was a Sensitive and infected with magic, he should have turned her in to be locked up in the prison district known as Devil's Isle. Instead, he helped her learn to control her power and introduced her to an underground group of Paranormals and humans who know the truth about the war and those who fought it.

Now the weight of Liam's own secrets has forced him into hiding. When a government agent is killed and Claire discovers that Liam is the prime suspect, she races to find him before the government can. But she'll discover proving his innocence is no simple matter. Their enemies are drawing closer, and time is running out....
[Goodreads Summary]


Sugar Pine Trail (Haven Point #7) by RaeAnne Thayne (384 pgs)
Release Date: September 26, 2017 by Harlequin
An unlikely attraction brings comfort, joy and unforgettable romance this holiday season!

Librarian Julia Winston is ready to ditch the quiet existence she's been living. She's made a list of new things to experience, but falling for Jamie Caine, her sexy military pilot neighbor, isn't one of them. Julia's looking to conquer life, not become the heartbreaker's latest conquest. But when two young brothers wind up in Julia's care for the holidays, she'll take any help she can get—even Jamie's.

Happy to step in, Jamie reveals a side of himself that's much harder to resist. Not only is he fantastic with kids, he provides the strength Julia needs to tackle her list. She knows their temporary family can't last beyond the holidays, but the closer she gets to Jamie, the more she wonders if things could be this merry and bright forever…
[Goodreads Summary]


The Christmas Room by Catherine Anderson (320 pgs)
Release Date: September 26, 2017 by Berkley Books
The beloved author of the Mystic Creek series gifts readers with a novel of homespun holiday cheer, as two families discover the joy of hope and redemption....

Widow Maddie McLendon has uprooted her life to move to Rustlers Gulch with her son and grandson. But as a brutal Montana winter looms on the horizon, contractors have yet to break ground on their new house, leaving them to live in a makeshift camp of trailers, tents, and sheds....

Since his wife died six years ago, millionaire rancher Sam Conacher has been content to wallow in his grief alone while keeping a tight rein on his twenty-six-year-old daughter. But now the girl has gone and fallen in love with his foolish new neighbor's no-good son....

Maddie and Sam will never see eye to eye on anything, until a near-tragedy gives them a true glimpse into each other's souls. And as the first snowflakes begin to fall, they'll discover that an open heart is the biggest gift of all....
[Goodreads Summary]

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.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Where Is Your Bookmark? (Owl and the Japanese Circus & the Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR List)


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.

I hate potholes. I hate desert highways too, about as much as I hate wearing high heels.
My Winnebago jolted over a bad pothole before I could swerve around it. I scrambled to keep the wheel straight and grabbed for my water bottle before it toppled and spilled across my laptop keyboard.
Too late. 

My thoughts: I am not a fan of high heels or potholes either, frankly. And why is she driving with her laptop open? That scene still makes me scratch my head. But then again, it is Owl. And she's just that kind of person.

I dove right into my September TBR list poll winner (thanks again to all who voted!), Owl and the Japanese Circus (The Adventures of Owl #1) by Kristi Charish last week, and it's been quite a wild ride of a read.  Indiana Jones come to mind, heavy on the supernatural. I am just about finished with the book and enjoying it. The main character is a former archaeologist and an international antiquities thief who seems to be unable to keep away from the supernatural despite her best efforts.


Does this sound like something you would read? 

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

This week's  Top Ten Tuesday theme is the Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR List. It is best not to hold me to any list I make. What whets my reading appetite today might not tomorrow. Still, these are the books I am most likely feeling the urge to read this fall--at least as of this moment. 



1. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer ~ Cinderella as a cyborg. This one has been sitting on my shelf for quite a while now, and I feel like the last one to finally be getting to it.  



2. Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding ~ Who doesn't know this story? I had seen the movie years ago and never really had an interest in reading the book, until a friend talked it up so much, it's made my to read list for this year. No time like the fall.



3. The Fire By Night by Teresa Messineo ~ I enjoy reading historical fiction. I knew I wanted to read this the minute I heard about it:a World War II novel about two American nurses. 



4. Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb ~ Another historical fiction novel that I find irresistible, this one set in World War I.



5. Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo ~ Set in Nigeria, this novel is about a couple struggling with infertility and other marital issues. I hadn't heard of this book until it arrived on my doorstep earlier this month in a subscription box. I was immediately intrigued and cannot wait to dive in.



6. A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell, #1) by Deanna Raybourn ~ Deanna Raybourn's books are a great escape an this first in her "new" Victorian mystery series sounds too delicious to pass up. I'm just slow at finally getting to it . . . 



7. Monstress, Vol. 2: The Blood by Marjorie M. Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda ~ Monstress, Vol. 1: The Awakening was among my favorite books read last year. I can't wait to dive back into this series. 



8. Pressed to Death (Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum, #2) by Kirsten Weiss ~ Doesn't this sound like the perfect fall read? A cozy mystery set in a museum full of haunted items? I really enjoyed the first book in the series and am looking forward to reading the next installment.



9. A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1) by Amanda Bouchet ~ This is another one that has been on my TBR pile longer than it should have been. A rebellious clairvoyant who will do just about anything to fight her destiny.



10. Ink and Bone (The Great Library, #1) by Rachel Caine ~ Am I the last one to read this one too? It's likely. I enjoyed Rachel Caine's Weather Warden series, which would have been enough to make me want to read this one, but add in a library--a magical one at that--and I knew I would be reading this. 


Have you read any of these? Which do you think I should read first?



© 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.