Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Mini Reviews: 'Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick & The Fireman by Joe Hill

'Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick (Berkley, 2016; 352 pgs)
Source: E-copy provided by publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

First Sentence: "I've got to get rid of her, Birch."

Someone is stalking Calista Langley, the proprietor of  an exclusive introduction agency in Victorian London Her stalker leaves her small gifts generally given to someone in mourning. Calista enlists the help of recluse crime writer Trent Hastings, the brother of one of her clients, to help her find the person responsible for the sick gifts and put a stop to him or her. Calista and Trent carry relationship baggage, and the last thing they are looking for is a relationship. However, the attraction between them is hard to ignore. I quite enjoyed 'Til Death Do Us Part. It is atmospheric, dark and romantic. Not to mention, I really liked Trent and Calista who are both smart and witty, and make a good team.

To learn more about Jayne Ann Krentz, aka Amanda Quick, and her work, please visit the author's website. You can also find her on Facebook

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The Fireman by Joe Hill (William Morrow; 2016; 747 pgs)
Source: E-copy provided by publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.
First Sentence: Harper Grayson had seen lots of people burn on TV, everyone had, but the first person she saw burn for real was in the playground behind school.
A pandemic in which people spontaneously combust is spreading across the world, and there is little hope for civilization as we know it. It's called Draco Incendia Trychophyton, or Dragonscales to the general public. It is highly contagious and deadly. Nurse Harper Grayson, who once treated the victims, discovers signs of the illness on her own skin. Pregnant and suddenly a pariah in a society that is coming apart, she flees to a commune where other victims reside. She befriends a man known as the Fireman who seems to have mastered the use of the fire living inside his body.

The Fireman was a fun read, entertaining as well as thought provoking. It takes a hard look at society: mob mentality, mass panic, the power and draw of religion, the significance of hope, among other things. Reminiscent of The Stand by Stephen King (which the author credits), The Fireman is in the same vein but very different.

To learn more about Joe Hill and his work, please visit the author's website. You can also find him on Twitter and Tumblr


© 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.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Shelf Control: The Kat Colorado Series/Covers War: Worlds of Ink and Shadow

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."

Katwalk (Kat Colorado #1) by Karen Kijewski (St. Martin's Press, 1989; 232 pgs)
Katapult (Kat Colorado #2) by Karen Kijewski (St. Martin's Press, 1990; 275 pgs)
Kat's Cradle (Kat Colorado #3) by Karen Kijewski (Doubleday, 1991; 295 pgs)
Copy Kat (Kat Colorado #4) by Karen Kijewski (Doubleday, 1992; 377 pgs)
Kat Scratch Fever (Kat Colorado #8) by Karen Kijewski (G.P. Putnam, 1997; 355 pgs)


How I got them: I purchased these five books. I bought Katwalk at Barnes and Noble after receiving a recommendation from a fellow reader, Carole C.. Katapult, Kat's Cradle and Kat Scratch Fever I bought through E-Bay, and I bought Copy Kat at a used bookstore.

When I got them: With the exception of Copy Cat which I bought in April of 2005, the other books were added to my TBR collection in 2004, the first book in April and the others in December of that year.

Why I want to read the series: Karen Kijewski's mystery series caught my attention because the protagonist, Private Investigator Kat Colorado, lives in the city where I spent a good portion of my growing up years: Sacramento. I enjoy reading books set in places I have lived or visited--and Sacramento is not a common setting. At least not in my reading. There's also the fact that I cannot resist a good mystery series. You know how I love mysteries.

Have you read these books? If so, what did you think? Should I move the series up in my TBR pile?




Covers War is a meme hosted by Mariana of Book is Glee in which participants judge a book strictly by its cover, comparing different editions and deciding which one they like best."
While the cover is not the deciding factor in whether I read a book or not, it sometimes is the reason I decide to take a closer look at a book. Covers change between the hardcover edition to the paperback edition. And different covers are often chosen to represent the same book in different countries. I enjoy seeing the many different faces a book may wear, and thought it would be fun to take part in this meme today. 

I admit this particular novel, Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley, didn't win me over (I didn't care for it), but I was taken in by the differences between the covers. The first, the Canadian version, speaks to the time period when its heroines and hero lived. There is a subtle eeriness which is offset by the flower at the bottom.

Canadian Version

The American version is much more bold, with the red lettering, the stark black background, and the paper flower spotted with ink. This particular cover speaks more to the story within the story contained in this novel. Or at least that is my impression.

USA Version

From either cover, would you expect a Young Adult fantasy novel about the young Brontë siblings crossing between their reality and the one in their imagination that has taken on a life of its own?

My verdict: I admit to being torn. The Canadian cover is easier on my eyes, with the muted dark colors, but I also like the American version with the inky paper flower. Ultimately, I think the Canadian version is more telling in terms of what you might expect from the novel, and so I will have to go with that one. I do like the U.S. version though . . . This was a hard one.

Which of the two covers do you prefer?


© 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, September 12, 2016

Where Is Your Bookmark? (09/13/2016)

This week I am spending time with my September TBR List poll winner, The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman, which is the first in a series featuring a professional spy for the mysterious Library that collects fiction from different realities.



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.

Irene passed the mop across the stone floor in smooth, careful strokes, idly admiring the gleam of wet flagstones in the lantern light. Her back was complaining, but that was only normal after an evening's work cleaning. The cleaning was certainly necessary.
The pupils at Prince Mordred's Private Academy for Boys managed to get just as much mud and much on the floor as any other teenagers would. Clean indoor studies in the dark arts, military history, and alchemy didn't preclude messy outdoor classes in strategic combat, dueling, open-field assassination, and rugby. 

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 or three "teaser" sentences from that page while avoiding any spoilers.


Teaser from page 2% of The Invisible Library:
Irene didn't bother pausing to curse fate. There would be people here within seconds. With a loud scream, she threw herself down on top of her mop and bucket, deliberately sprawling in the inevitable puddle of dirty water. 
and at 5%:
She just wanted--had always wanted--a good book to read. Being chased by hellhounds and blowing things up were comparatively unimportant parts of the job. Getting the books--now, that was what really mattered to her.  

What do you think? Would you keep reading?  


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 Top Ten Favorite Crime Fiction Novels that I Have Read in the Past Ten Years. I narrowed this list down by not duplicating authors, which was hard to do (a few would have made the list multiple times if I had). Of course, settling on the top ten was hard in and of itself. I have read so many great mysteries and thrillers over the past several years.

1.

Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton ~ An excerpt from my review:
Little Black Lies is everything I love in a crime fiction novel.  It is intense and thought provoking with fully fleshed out characters, a complex plot, and a setting that itself could be its own character. 

2.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot #4) by Agatha Christie ~ An excerpt from my review:
I found Ms. Christie’s novel to be delightful to read. I enjoyed getting to know here characters and spending time in the presence of M. Poirot. 

3.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins ~ An excerpt from my review:
The Woman in White may be a quiet thriller at its start, but by the end events unravel so quickly that the reader's knuckles may turn white trying to keep up. It is obvious that Wilkie Collins planned out his novel with great care, each thread carefully sown into the greater story. It is a true gothic novel at its core: dark, gloomy, romantic and thrilling.

4.

Lincoln Lawyer (Mickey Haller #1) by Michael Connelly ~ An excerpt from my review:
Michael Connelly has written a funny, suspenseful thriller that was difficult to put down and kept me up until the wee hours of the morning to finish.

5. 

In the Woods by Tana French ~ An excerpt from my review:
Tana French’s gift lies not just in crafting an utterly intriguing story, but also in creating characters that are complicated and very much three dimensional, from the big players in the novel to the minutest of characters. 

6.

T is For Trespass (Kinsey Millhone #20) by Sue Grafton ~ An excerpt from my review:
I've been reading Sue Grafton's alphabet series for years and am quite invested in it. There is rarely anything flashy about Grafton's novels. She isn't one to take her stories over the top like so many crime fiction novels today. And the crime isn't always murder. They have a realistic vibe to them, something I especially love about these novels.

7.

The Devil of Nanking by Mo Hayder ~ An excerpt from my review:

The Devil of Nanking is not a novel for the faint of heart. Mo Hayder was not afraid to put down on paper the grim realities of the atrocities committed during wartime. She takes readers deep into China during a very dark moment in history as well as flirts with the deadliest of the Tokyo gangsters. The Devil of Nanking is definitely worth taking the time to read.

8.

Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes ~An excerpt from my review:
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this book--and how much it disturbed me. I found myself double checking the locks on my own doors.

9.

The Cold Dish (Walt Longmire #1) by Craig Johnson ~ An excerpt from my review:
Craig Johnson paints a breathtaking picture of Wyoming with the harsh wintry weather, the beautiful mountains and lakes as well as the ranch and reservation lands that are stretched out over the county where the novel is set. He shows the diversity of the land as well as of the people. He also touches upon the past and current tensions between the Native Americans and the white folk, weaving it throughout the book. 

10.

Out by Natsuo Kirino ~ An excerpt of my review:
Out is not only a suspense ridden thriller but also a harsh study of human nature. The story is as complex as the characters. [. . . ] The characters got under my skin (most of them, anyway), and I carried them with me even when I was not reading.

Have you read any of these books? What is your favorite crime fiction novel?


© 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, September 10, 2016

Sunday Post: Goals, Motivation, Movies, & My September TBR Poll Winner

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. 


What I Am Reading: This weekend I finished reading Catherine McKenzie's thriller Fractured, my second book by the author. It kept me guessing right up to the end. I am about to start reading the winner of my September TBR List poll, which several of you voted in. Thank you for that!


What I Am Watching: I have begun watching The Lizzie Borden Chronicles. It was more on a whim than anything else. It's quite bloody, but quite addicting.  Have you seen it, by chance?

It was a big weekend for movies. My husband and I saw Sully. We both enjoyed it. I am an avid fan of Tom Hanks, and especially enjoyed his performance. We also went out as a family to see Kubo and the Two Strings, which I thought was very well done with a sad but beautiful story. Mouse wanted to see it again right after and was disappointed when we told her maybe another day. Instead, we came home and watched Frozen, which we haven't seen in quite a while. While Mouse loves the music from the movie, she's never really been all that interested in the movie itself. 


New to My Shelves:
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness (birthday gift)


What's Going On Off the Blog:  This is always a difficult time of year for me. This weekend brings the anniversary of my grandmother and father's deaths. I always try to fill it with busy-ness and fun activities. And this year was no different. Anjin surprised me by taking Friday off this past week, and so we went to see the movie Sully together. We went out for lunch also, just the two of us. But before that, he took me to the Cellar Door, our local independent bookstore, and let me pick out a book for my birthday. It was a nice date day. We started our Saturday with a soccer game. Mouse got her first goal! We celebrated with a movie and lunch, followed by ice cream at Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant. It made for a nice treat.

I am happy to say my husband's cousin is doing much better after his heart attack and surgery. He woke up from the medically induced coma this past Monday and was talking again on Tuesday. He even posted on Facebook about mid-week to let everyone know he was doing better. The family is very relieved, to say the least. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes.

As for Mouse and school, drops offs went much better this past week, fortunately. Mouse has even taken to telling her father when they arrive at school, "Okay, Dad. You can go now." She explained to him that if he left early, she wouldn't cry. Smart girl.

My husband packs my daughter a lunch every day and sends it off to school with her. Two days this past week, however, she took advantage of the school's hot lunches, unbeknownst to us. I was surprised she got away with it considering she did not have money or an account set up. I guess there is a two week grace period for getting accounts set up. We've since set up a lunch account and have money in it in case she decides she would rather have a hot lunch instead. I guess the lure of waffle sticks and pizza was too good to pass up.

Mouse and I are settling into a homework routine. She isn't too happy about it, but I try to make it fun for her. Our evenings are even more crowded than they were before. It's an adjustment, but we are adapting as best we can.

  • What have you been up to this past week? 
  • What are you reading and watching? Is it anything you would recommend?
  • If you have children, what do/did you do to motivate your children to do their homework?



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.

When you set a yearly reading goal, do you set it high to force yourself to meet that goal or do you keep it low and normally go over that goal any way? (submitted by Elizabeth)
My reading goals tend to be more along the line of what type of book I will read more of (by genre, or off my own shelves, or catch up on review books, for example) or which challenges I join. These I sometimes do yearly or randomly throughout the year. I don't always put my goals in writing. For the past three years I've set a Goodreads numeric goal just for the fun of it, but I tend to keep it reasonable to low.  Last year my goal was to read six books in a year. This year it's more realistic, less of a challenge and more of what I know I can read. For me, it's not about the numbers so much as it is about the quality of reading, including my enjoyment, and reading what I want to read at my own pace with no pressure. Otherwise, reading becomes a chore. 

Do you set a numeric reading goal? If so, do you set it high or low or in between?

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Thank you for voting in my September TBR List Poll!


My TBR List is a meme hosted by the awesome Michelle at Because Reading. It’s a fun way to choose a book from your TBR pile to read. The 1st Sunday of every month, I will list 3 books I am considering reading and take a poll as to which you think I should read. I will read the winner that month, and my review will follow. While I will attempt to post my review that same month, I make no promises--it may go up the following month. 



It was not even close this month, not really. 55.9% (19) of you voted for the winner. Murder At the 42nd Street Library by Con Lehane received 26.5% (9) of the votes and 17.6% (6) of the votes went to Wishing Cross Station by February Grace.

The winner is:


The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman ~ The first in a series featuring a professional spy for the mysterious Library that collects fiction from different realities. Her latest assignment turns up missing before she can retrieve it.

I am excited to read The Invisible Library and will begin reading it shortly. Thank you again to all who voted!

I hope you all have a great week!


© 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, September 03, 2016

Sunday Post: August Wrap Up & September TBR List Poll

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. 

Happy September! I wish I could tell you the leaves are beginning to fall from the tree, but it's still pretty green. Autumn will be here in another two and a half weeks or so.

How are you this weekend? What are you up to? Did you have a good August? What was your favorite August read?


August Reading Wrap Up: 

Books Read in August:
Favorite August Read: While Love Anthony came close, I have to go with The Whiskey Sea

Reading Challenges:
  • COYER Summer Vacation - It was such a busy summer. I did not get to all the books I had hoped, and I definitely did not link them to the Challenge blog like I was supposed to. I also was unable to attend any of the Twitter chats. Oh well. I knew going in that was a possibility.
  • What's In a Name Reading Challenge - I haven't made much progress on this one, having only read books in three of the six categories so far. I'm still in the running for this one, so don't give up on me yet!
  • Nonfiction Challenge - I have managed to read one book for this challenge so far, which was within my goal of reading one to five books. I still plan to try to read more before the year is out.
  • August Comment Challenge - This wonderful challenge was hosted by Lonna of FLYLēF and Alicia of A Kernel of Nonsense, having ended August 31st. I was lucky enough to be paired with Nina from By Page or By Plane, I had such fun visiting with Nina this past month. She's insightful, and witty and has good taste in books. If you haven't, I highly recommend you check out her blog. She's worth following and getting to know!

New to My Shelves:

September's My Lit Box subscription arrived in the mail Friday. I was delighted by what I found inside. I recently read When the Moon is Low by Nadia Hashimi, one of my favorite books read so far this year. And so when I discovered A House Without Windows inside, I may have let out a squeal. There's even a signed nameplate inside! The theme this month is Home. Home comes in all shapes and sizes, and not all are safe places. For Zeba, home has become a prison cell while she awaits trial. The postcard and notebook with images of cameras are a reflection on one of the things we treasure most in our homes--photographs of our loved ones. And a mug for that warm drink to enjoy at home. The Out of Print Banned Books mug in particular is a reminder that not everyone enjoys or has access to the privileges and liberties many of us in the world do.


What I Am Reading: I recently finished reading Blame It On a Cowboy by Delores Fossen, which I will be reviewing for a tour next month. I am now reading Fractured by Catherine McKenzie--from romantic suspense to a straight up thriller. I am excited about what September will bring book wise.


What I Am Watching: What haven't I watched? I was laid up sick for a couple of days this past week and caught up on the fifth season of Orange is the New Black and finally was able to see the last half of Stranger Things. I enjoyed both quite a bit. My daughter and I are continuing to enjoy watching Once Upon a Time together. I tried to talk her into watching Ever After, one of my favorite movies, but she hasn't taken the bait yet. I will keep working on her.


What's Going On Off the Blog: I am so glad the long weekend is finally here. Work has been extremely busy, and then I have been sick. I tried to work through it, but it got the better of me. I'm still fighting it, in fact. The summer is the worst time for the flu.

Mouse started Kindergarten this past week, and seems to really like it. My husband is finding drop-offs hard though. Mouse hasn't made it a day yet without tears. She seems to be settling well into her new routine otherwise. She's made friends and seems to really like her teacher.



My husband's cousin is still in the hospital after having a heart attack. His 14 year old son saved his life, performing CPR before the paramedics arrived. He is in a medical induced coma, his condition very serious. It comes hot on the heels of a death in the family, and so you can imagine it wasn't the best week.


This Past Week In Reading Mews:



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 books stacked in every room of your house or are you strictly a believer that books belong on bookshelves? (submitted by Elizabeth
As I packed for our move six years ago, I had to let go of a lot of books. Over 500, several of which I had bought and lost interest in before I actually read them. I still ended up bringing 40 boxes of books with me. In our old house, I had books everywhere. Shelved. Stacked. Piled. Books were in every room. Our spare bedroom in particular was full of books. They covered the twin bed, every surface of the desk, inside the closet, on shelves, and covered the entire floor with the exception of a small spot I could sit down in if need be. The impending move proved a blessing in that it finally got me to go through those books more thoroughly and clear some space for my daughter as that was to be her room, even if only for a short time.

When we moved, I made a vow to myself that I would step back from book buying to both save money and not let my book collection overtake my house like it had at the old house. I have also tried to be better about giving books away after I read them unless I plan to read the book again, something that I find easier said than done sometimes. I love books. And I love being surrounded by books. But there is such a thing as too much. Last year I posted photos of my bookshelves; the only difference between then and now is that there are no empty spaces. We have bookshelves in just about every room, some double shelved. I have a few stacks here and there, but not too many.
.
What about you? Do you keep your books on shelves or do they overflow into piles and stacks around the house?


Help me decide what book from my TBR collection I should read next:


My TBR List is a meme hosted by the awesome Michelle at Because Reading. It’s a fun way to choose a book from your TBR pile to read. The 1st Sunday of every month, I will list 3 books I am considering reading and take a poll as to which you think I should read. I will read the winner that month, and my review will follow. While I will attempt to post my review that same month, I make no promises--it may go up the following month. 



Can you guess the common theme in this month's three choices? All are books I am eager to read. So much so, I hate that I have to wait a week to see which one you vote for. The covers link back to Goodreads if you want to know more about each book.


The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman ~ The first in a series featuring a professional spy for the mysterious Library that collects fiction from different realities. Her latest assignment turns up missing before she can retrieve it.


Murder at the 42nd Street Library by Con Lehane ~ The first in a series featuring a librarian, or more specifically, a curator in the crime collection, who uncovers secrets within the old library and reluctantly ends up on the trail of a murderer.


Wishing Cross Station by February Grace ~ A young college library page looking into a mysterious donation travels in back in time, finding the unexpected, including possibly love.

Have you read any of these? If so, what did you think?



I will not be posting this week, but will be back next week. In the meantime, have a wonderful week!


© 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.