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.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Mouse's Corner: Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell & David Catrow & The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon written by Patty Lovell & illustrated by David Catrow
Putnam Juvenile, 2001
Fiction; 32 pgs

A young girl gets the chance to put her grandmother's advice to the test when she moves to a new neighborhood and school in Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon.  Molly Lou is faced with a bully in her new school, only inspiring Molly Lou to rise above and be true to herself. 

Mouse and I both absolutely adored this book, which has become a favorite we re-read often. Mouse especially likes the colorful artwork and thinks Molly Lou would make a fun friend. I have to agree. There are many ways to stand up for ourselves, and we like Molly Lou's style. She's creative and smart, not to mention has a wise grandmother. If you have a young one and are looking for a book about having confidence in oneself and celebrating our differences, I highly recommend you give this one a try. 

You can learn more about Patty Lovell and her books on the Goodreads
You can learn more about David Catrow and his work on the his website

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
Kids Can Press, 2014
Fiction; 32 pgs

Admittedly the first time Mouse and I read this one, she wasn't quite as excited about it as I was. Now that she's a little older, she appreciates and likes it a lot more. While Mouse may not collect various parts to put together a spectacular invention, she does like to collect bits and pieces here and there to create artful masterpieces. 

In The Most Magnificent Thing, we see a girl turn an idea into a reality. She has a vision and a plan. Through the text and the artwork, we go through a variety of emotions with the girl, from excitement to doubt, to frustration, to almost wanting to give up. And yet, she doesn't.

Ashley Spires uses her artwork to touch on topics such as creativity, perseverance, and that making mistakes are okay--a natural part of the process. When reading this book, Mouse and I have discussed how the girl's experiences have mirrored our own at different times, each of us giving examples. It's often a book I break out or refer to when Mouse is feeling especially down on herself and her ability to do or complete something she is working on. I also like that this book goes through the various emotions the girl feels. It's very real to life, something my daughter can relate to--and me as well. The Most Magnificent Thing is now a book my daughter enjoys quite a bit, and it has become a a household favorite.

You can learn more about Ashley Spires 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.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Weekly Mews: Let the Fall Routine Begin! (And New Books & My Sick Cat)

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.

New to My Shelves: After today's soccer game, we stopped by Barnes and Noble because that gift card I got last weekend was burning a hole in my pocket. I came away with a few books that have been sitting on my wish list awhile. Mouse picked out a book for herself as well.

A Murder of Mages (The Maradaine Constabulary, #1) by Marshall Ryan Maresca
X by Sue Grafton

The Trespasser by Tana French
Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey

Romeo and/or Juliet: A Chooseable-Path Adventure by Ryan North 
(My husband says this book is his, but I beg to differ.)

Pokémon: Tales of Adventure: Reader Collection
(Mouse's selection)

What I Am Reading: I am afraid Brad Watson's Miss Jane got set to the side for no other reason than I found myself in need of a book to read, and the only book handy was my September TBR List winner (thanks again to all who voted!), Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish, which kind of took over all my attention. Well, that and Quiet, which I am continuing to read as part of the read-along hosted by Book Bloggers International blog. I suspect I will be finishing at least one this weekend, if not both.

What I Am Listening To: I still haven't started a new audiobook. I have been listening to music when in the car as of late--that and my daughter singing to me.

What I Am Watching: I finally got to season 11 of Supernatural.  I haven't really watched much else than that. I'm not even sure what new shows are coming out. I feel so out of the loop.

What My Week Was Like: This was our first week of our new fall routine, with Girl Scouts, dance, soccer, school, and work.  Homework also started up this week. And Mouse and her dad are taking part in the 100 Mile Club, a before school activity in which they either walk or run laps a couple days a week, eventually working their way up to 100 miles. I would join in, but I am already at work at that time of morning. I figure it is a good father/daughter activity.

Mouse's team won their soccer game today--a big turn around from last weekend's game. Mouse isn't particularly competitive--she's more into the sport for the social aspect and being part of the team rather than actually playing, and it shows. She seems to be having fun though, and, for me, that's what matters most.

What I Am Worried About: Parker, my senior cat. He isn't doing too well, barely eating and losing weight again. He has chronic health issues and is on a number of medications as a result. We go through phases like this, and each time I worry we'll lose him, especially the older he gets.

What I am Grateful For: On the plus side, we celebrated Parker being cancer free for two years this month.

This Week In Reading Mews:

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?

My furkids checking out my new books.

 © 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 13, 2017

Bookish Thoughts: Sadie’s Highlander by Maeve Greyson

"Above all else, I charge ye with the task of keepin' yer mother safe." ~ Opening of Sadie's Highlander

Sadie’s Highlander by Maeve Greyson
Loveswept, 2017
Romance (Paranormal); 253 pgs
Source: From the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

Maeve Greyson’s Sadie’s Highlander is the first in a new series featuring the four MacDara brothers who are tasked with guarding the sacred Heartstone. In order to keep it safe, they were sent by the goddesses to 21st Century North Carolina. Fast forward 15 years, and the MacDara family own and run the Highland Life and Legends theme park and are deeply involved in the local community. The eldest brother, Alec MacDara, is very reluctant to open the theme park to a movie production company, especially one with a bad reputation. The Heartstone has other ideas though, and it probably has something to do with the adopted sister of the production company’s owner. Sadie Williams is acting as her sister’s assistant and taking a lot of abuse. She puts up with it only because she needs her sister’s connections. Sadie desperately wants to be a screenwriter.

Sadie isn’t the most assertive woman. She is used to blending into the background as her sister stands in the spotlight. She clearly doesn’t like conflict and doesn’t have much confidence in herself. Alec, however, is drawn to her even before he meets her just from the several interactions he has had with her via e-mail. No time is wasted in getting Sadie and Alec together. There is some reluctance on her part because she doesn’t quite trust that a hunk like him would be interested in an overweight assistant like her. But, boy, they can’t keep their hands off each other!

I am not a huge fan of insta-love, admittedly, and things definitely moved a bit too fast for my taste in Sadie’s Highlander. Still, I raced through this romance quite quickly and enjoyed getting to know Sadie and Alec. Alec is definitely a take charge kind of guy, and he brings out the best in Sadie. She feels comfortable and safe around him—enough to be herself.

One of the things I especially liked about this novel was that Sadie’s insecurity was not swept under the rug. It was a real issue in this novel as Alec—with the help of his family (or rather, his family with his help)—knows pretty words alone won’t convince her she is better than she thinks she is. I mean, sure, everything falls into place very neatly and in a way that is a bit beyond belief—but then, this is a Highlander romance novel. There’s already time travel and magic.

Sadie's Highlander was a fun and light read. It was a good escape from the summer heat, although it certainly brought it's own kind of heat with it.

You can learn more about Maeve Greyson and her books on the author's website She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

 © 2017, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Wishing For Wednesday: (09/13/2017)

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 am really excited about these four titles and could not settle on just one or two to feature. Each one appeals to me for different reasons, but they all sound interesting.

Keep Her Safe by Sophie Hannah (352 pgs)
Release Date: September 19, 2017, by William Morrow
She's the most famous murder victim in America. What if she's not dead?

Pushed to the breaking point, Cara Burrows flees her home and family and escapes to a five-star spa resort she can't afford. Late at night, exhausted and desperate, she lets herself into her hotel room and is shocked to find it already occupied — by a man and a teenage girl.

A simple mistake at the front desk... but soon Cara realizes that the girl she saw alive and well in the hotel room is someone she can't possibly have seen: the most famous murder victim in the country, Melody Chapa, whose parents are serving natural life sentences for her murder.

Cara doesn't know what to trust — everything she's read and heard about the case, or the evidence of her own eyes. Did she really see Melody? And is she prepared to ask herself that question and answer it honestly if it means risking her own life?
[Goodreads Summary] 

My thoughts: My first thought when reading the synopsis of Keep Her Safe was human trafficking, but that could be because it's been in the forefront of the the media and my job for quite a while now (and for good reason). It could have absolutely nothing to do with that. This one sounds like it will keep my heart thumping fast.


The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whithall (448 pgs)
Release Date: September 19, 2017, by Ballantine (re-release)
A timely novel about an accusation against a beloved schoolteacher and the repercussions on his loved ones, exploring issues of loyalty, truth, and the meaning of happiness through the lens of an all-American family on the brink of collapse.

George Woodbury, a celebrated teacher, is arrested for sexual impropriety at a prestigious prep school. His wife, Joan, vaults between denial and rage as the community she loved turns on her. Their daughter, Sadie, a popular over-achieving high school senior, becomes a social pariah. Their son, Andrew, assists in his father’s defense, while grappling with his own unhappy memories of his teen years. A local author tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist attempts to get Sadie onside their cause. With George locked up, how do the members of his family pick up the pieces and keep on with their lives? How do they defend someone they love while wrestling with the possibility of his guilt?

With exquisite emotional precision, award-winning author Zoe Whittall explores the irrevocable damage of an accusation—not on the man accused, but on the family who have built their lives around him.
 [Goodreads Summary]

My thoughts: This one sounds like it will be an emotional and thought provoking read.


Whispers of Warning by Jessica Estevao (336 pgs)
Release Date: September 19, 2017, by Berkley
The latest in a dazzling new historical mystery series featuring Ruby Proulx, a psychic with a questionable past who suddenly finds her future most uncertain…

Partially reformed con artist Ruby Proulx is starting to feel at home in her aunt’s seaside hotel. She loves the feeling of being rooted in one place and also feels a sense of purpose as she helps her aunt keep her business afloat by acting as a psychic medium for the hotel’s metaphysically inclined guests.

When one of the guests, renowned Spiritualist and outspoken suffragist Sophronia Foster Eldridge, checks into the hotel for a month-long stay, Ruby finds her sense of purpose expand outside the confines of home and family. Sophronia takes Ruby under her wing and mentors her in the mediumistic abilities, encouraging her to work for a woman’s right to vote. But not everyone is as happy with Sophronia’s appearance in Old Orchard. When her body is found floating in the saltwater plunge pool of a local bathhouse, Ruby takes it upon herself to solve the murder, and in the process learns that Sophronia was hiding some secrets of her own.
 [Goodreads Summary]

My thoughts: Just one look at the cover, and I knew this book was something I might enjoy. I have the first book in the series right here on my TBR pile and am looking forward to reading both.


The Way To London by Alix Rickloff (384 pgs)
Release Date: September 19, 2017, by William Morr
On the eve of Pearl Harbor, impetuous and overindulged, Lucy Stanhope, the granddaughter of an earl, is living a life of pampered luxury in Singapore until one reckless act will change her life forever.

Exiled to England to stay with an aunt she barely remembers, Lucy never dreamed that she would be one of the last people to escape Singapore before war engulfs the entire island, and that her parents would disappear in the devastating aftermath. Now grief stricken and all alone, she must cope with the realities of a grim, battle-weary England.

Then she meets Bill, a young evacuee sent to the country to escape the Blitz, and in a moment of weakness, Lucy agrees to help him find his mother in London. The unlikely runaways take off on a seemingly simple journey across the country, but her world becomes even more complicated when she is reunited with an invalided soldier she knew in Singapore.

Now Lucy will be forced to finally confront the choices she has made if she ever hopes to have the future she yearns for. [Goodreads Summary]

My thoughts: Did someone say World War II? The past catching up to the main character? I am all over this one.

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 11, 2017

Tuesday Favorites: My Favorite Bookmark & My Top Ten Books I Loved During My First Year of Blogging

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

This week's topic is my favorite bookmark.

I love bookmarks and have quite a few. I try to rotate through them when I remember, or try to match a book with a particular bookmark if I sense a certain combined theme. I've also been known to use scraps of paper or torn off tissue (from clean ones, of course). Whatever is most handy at the time. Although, I read so many e-books these days my actual bookmarks don't get as much use as they used to. 

This one is a long time favorite, which I have put to good use over the years. I received from my husband before we were married. He even wrote me a little note on the back.

Another extra special one to me is the one my daughter made for me a couple years ago for Mother's Day (which I haven't used, I admit).

Oh, and I just love this one! I'm not usually one for bling, but isn't it adorable?

Do you have a favorite bookmark?


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

This week's  Top Ten Tuesday is Throwback Freebie: My Ten Books I Loved During My First Year of Blogging. I am cheating and copying and pasting my Top Ten list which I posted at the end of 2006, the year I first began blogging. I've added the covers because, well, I like cover art, and evidently hadn't thought to include them in my original post. So, without further ado, here is my Top Ten list of books read in 2006:

10. Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly ~ This was a funny suspenseful thriller that had me up reading into the wee hours of the morning. I thoroughly enjoyed it and found the main character to be an interesting one.

9. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote ~ This true crime novel, frequently toted as the first of its kind, is beautifully written. Mr. Capote was able to produce empathy for the murderers in the way he told their stories, although not taking away the desire for the reader to see them face the consequences of their actions.

8. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie ~ A delightful mystery! Agatha Christie was my designated favorite mystery writer when I was growing up and she is still among my favorites.

7. Labyrinth by Kate Mosse ~ I found the story mesmerizing, full of suspense as well as drama. I loved the historical aspect of the novel most of all.

6. Tales From the Child of the Enemy by Ursula Duba ~ Although simple in its presentation (in poetry form), Ms. Duba’s book is thought provoking and conscious raising.

5. The Devil of Nanking by Mo Hayder ~ Books that balance historical events with the present seem to be among my favorites most often, I've discovered. This novel offered that and so much more. It was one of the best suspense/thriller novels I've read.

4. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho ~ Stealing a line directly from my review: Upon finishing the book, I understand what the publisher Harper Collins meant when it referred to the book as being like “getting up at dawn and seeing the sun rise while the rest of the world sleeps.” That’s truly what it feels like.

3. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield ~ I was so tempted to put it in the top spot. Alas, two other books consumed me just a little more and so The Thirteenth Tale finds its place as #3 on my list. It was well written, intriguing, and spoke to me, sometimes the voice sounding a little like mine.

2. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova ~ I was lost in the prose as soon as I began reading and held in suspense with each chapter. I was transported directly into Kostova's world as I read, held captive even when I was not reading the book.

1. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See ~ Snow Flower and The Secret Fan left a deep impression on me and is still one of my all-time favorite books.

What were some of your favorite books the year you began blogging?

 © 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.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Bookish Thoughts: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes & Holidays On Ice by David Sedaris

I remember, in no particular order:
- a shiny inner wrist; 
- steam rising from a wet sink as a hot frying pan is laughingly tossed into it; 
- gouts of sperm circling a plughole, before being sluiced down the full length of a tall house; 
- a river rushing nonsensically upstream, its wave and wash lit by half a dozen chasing torchbeams; 
- another river, broad and grey, the direction of its flow disguised by a stiff wind exciting the surface; 
- bathwater long gone cold behind a locked door.   [Opening of The Sense of an Ending]

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, narrated by Richard Morant
AudioGo, 2011
Fiction; 150 pgs
Goodreads Summary: 
This intense new novel follows a middle-aged man as he contends with a past he has never much thought about--until his closest childhood friends return with a vengeance, one of them from the grave, another maddeningly present. Tony Webster thought he'd left all this behind as he built a life for himself, and by now his marriage and family and career have fallen into an amicable divorce and retirement. But he is then presented with a mysterious legacy that obliges him to reconsider a variety of things he thought he'd understood all along, and to revise his estimation of his own nature and place in the world.
The writing in The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes is beautiful. Had I been reading the book instead of listening to it, I imagine I would have highlighted passages on just about every page—or at least made note of them.

I liked the narrator quite well, his voice almost hypnotizing. Maybe that was just the accent. I love a British accent. I wasn’t so fond of the main character, although I was interested in the direction his story was going.

When I came to the end of The Sense of an Ending, I found myself wondering what had just happened. Was that really the end? It’s quite a twist, I’ll give it that. I almost want to re-listen to it to see if I missed something because it kind of feels like I did. And I find myself asking, “Is that all?” I am not really sure what I think of it when all is said and done. Did I like it? I think so? But maybe it was too academic for me.

You can learn more about Julian Barnes and his books on the author's website


I was in a coffee shop looking through the want ads when I read, "Macy's Herald Square, the largest store in the world, has big opportunities for out-going, fun-loving people of all shapes and sizes who want more than just a holiday job!" ~ Opening of Holidays on Ice 

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris
Little Brown & Co, 1998
Fiction/Nonfiction; 176 pgs

Goodreads Summary: 
David Sedaris's beloved holiday collection is new again with six more pieces, including a never before published story. Along with such favorites as the diaries of a Macy's elf and the annals of two very competitive families, are Sedaris's tales of tardy trick-or-treaters (Us and Them); the difficulties of explaining the Easter Bunny to the French (Jesus Shaves); what to do when you've been locked out in a snowstorm (Let It Snow); the puzzling Christmas traditions of other nations (Six to Eight Black Men); what Halloween at the medical examiner's looks like (The Monster Mash); and a barnyard secret Santa scheme gone awry (Cow and Turkey).

The last time I attempted something by David Sedaris, I could not finish it. It was the audio version of Me Talk Pretty One Day, narrated by the author himself. I had heard such great things about Sedaris, particularly his humor. I didn't make it very far in that one. When Holidays on Ice came in the mail via my postal mail book group, I tried to keep an open mind while at the same time being a little leery. Every author deserves a second chance. Maybe I would like this one better.

I wish that had been the case. I did at least finish Holidays on Ice. Sedaris's fictional characters are not particularly likeable nor did I connect with him in his more biographical stories. I got the impression these stories are meant to poke fun at certain behaviors and practices--satire and dry humor abound. Most fell flat for me though. "Jesus Shaves," in which various Easter traditions are discussed among people from different cultures, was probably my favorite if I had to pick one. Each of the stories centers around the holiday theme--family get-togethers, mall Santa elves, neighborly competition and charity, and tradition, among them. This was a quick read for me, mostly because I was rushing through just to finish it.

You can learn more about David Sedaris and his 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.