Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Bookish Thoughts: The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

I remember being pestered by a sense of dread as I walked to my car that day, pressed down by a wave of foreboding that swirled around my head and broke against the evening in small ripples. ~ Opening of The Life We Bury


The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens
Seventh Street Books, 2014
Crime Fiction; 303 pgs

Joe Talbert is getting a late start on his writing assignment for one of his college courses, and is hoping to interview someone and write a brief biography about his or her life. Walking into a nursing home, he has no idea who he might find. Hopefully someone with an interesting story. What he did not expect was to find Carl Iverson, a man convicted of the rape and murder of a teenager girl who had been paroled from prison after 30 years only because he was dying of cancer. It is not lost on Joe what a unique opportunity this will be. 

As Joe digs into Carl's past, he discovers Carl had fought in the Vietnam War and is still haunted by his time there. Joe wonders at Carl's heroism during the war and weighs it against the crime the man was convicted of committing. With the help of his neighbor, Lila, Joe uncovers more and more information that make him doubt Carl's guilt. 

Joe is forced to juggle his coursework with trouble with his own family. His mother's dysfunction as a parent has always been a problem, but is beyond the point of ignoring. Her alcoholism is out of control and her mental illness continues to go untreated. She has a new boyfriend who is bad news, and her youngest son who has Autism and is unable to care for himself is right at the center of it. Joe feels responsible for his brother, and is faced with some hard choices. 

The Life We Bury is the perfect title for this novel. Both Joe and Carl, and even Lila, have tried to bury their pasts, particularly the parts they long to forget. Each hold onto secrets that have impacted their lives and still weigh heavily on them. It was interesting to see how the relationship between Joe and Carl evolved, as well as that between Joe and Lila, over the course of the novel--how their trust in each other grew and they became closer.

Joe struggles with his decision to leave his brother with his mother to attend college. He wants to make something of his life, get out of his mother's house, and yet he also knows he is the only reliable person his brother has. He truly loves his brother and does not hesitate to step up when necessary. I really felt for him and his situation. 

I also was drawn to Lila who fought her own demons and was very wary of Joe at first. She took to Joe's brother, Jeremy, quickly, however, and I enjoyed the ease at which she and Jeremy interacted right from the start. Jeremy needs all the warriors on his side he can get. I liked him and felt the author did a good job fleshing out his character.

Allen Eskens knows how to create characters that get under your skin and draw you to them. The action really picks up in the last 100 or so pages of the novel, the suspense having been built up and Joe finding himself in dire straits. It was the kind that makes you hold your breath and not want to stop reading until you know everything will be okay. I was not surprised by the outcome. Eskens does not try to obfuscate too much--a little twist here and there. 

I enjoyed reading The Life We Bury quite a bit, although I felt there were several threads that could have been explored further for a richer reading experience. I was left feeling a bit short-shifted by the end because of that, but otherwise it is a solid read.

I could relate to Joe wanting to get out of a dysfunctional home, away from an abusive parent. I also understood the guilt he felt leaving behind his brother. In this case, a brother who is autistic and completely dependent on others. As a result, Joe can't completely move on. His brother needs him.

Carl, truly was a war hero --even in his guilt for taking a life. My dad was a Vietnam Vet and I spent years trying to get him to share and open up about his time there. I always felt a distance between us, a wall, I couldn't breach. I don't believe my dad witnessed the horrors Carl did, although I am sure he heard about them and saw the fall out after. My dad had his own nightmares and was haunted by his own demons.

This book, for me, was more about the characters and their journeys rather than the murder itself. I felt a little cheated in the end. How quickly things were wrapped up--how nicely. Threads that popped up early in the book not being more fully explored. Still, I found The Life We Bury to be an entertaining and interesting book to read. I enjoyed it over all and recommend it.

You can learn more about Allen Eskens and his books on the author's website. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.


© 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, May 22, 2017

Where Is Your Bookmark? (05/23/2017)

I am about half way through Sarah-Jane Stratford's Radio Girls, historical fiction, at the moment and thoroughly enjoying it. I have had to stop several times to make notes of names of well known historical figures in history for further research. I feel like I'm apart of something big while reading this book. To be a fly on the wall! Maybe I can temp you with a teaser or two or perhaps three . . .



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.

She ran, weaving in and out of the startled pedestrians, but her pursuer was still close on her heels.
All their meticulous planning, all that work in spinning the web and catching all these flies, but they hadn't factored in this possibility, the chance that the papers in her bag were worth so much that someone would chase after her to get them back. 
Chase after her with a gun. 

Every Tuesday, Ambrosia from The Purple Booker hosts Teaser Teaser at which participants grab their current read, open to a random page, and share two or more sentences from that page while avoiding any spoilers.


Teaser from 27% of Radio Girls:
"Well, that's a turnup," he said, echoing the unspoken sentiment. "I'd have pegged you for the type who faints at the sight of blood."
"Yes," Maisie agreed. "And I'd have pegged you for a gentleman. Some surprises are nicer than others." 
and

from 29% of Radio Girls: 
There were moments when Maisie felt the chill of walking shadows, all those vanished people under poppies. Sometimes, she was sure others felt them too, even the brightest and most beautiful, glancing nervously over their shoulders. Maybe we're all trying to outrun something, like me outrunning the kids in Toronto. They'd wanted to beat her till she broke, and not just her bones. The suffragettes had put themselves forward for breakage, hadn't they? That would be something, being the person who could put herself in harm's way for a cause.

What about this one from 33%:
Maisie had never owned a book and couldn't imagine rereading anything when time was so short and the libraries so full.  

What do you think? Would you keep reading?  

As I mentioned earlier, I am really enjoying Radio Girls so far. The opening certainly caught my attention--who is she running from? What are on those papers?

The teasers that follow each caught my attention as I read, and I couldn't help but share them. Maisie is very innocent and naive at the start of the book, although she has quite an impressive backstory, I think.

What are you reading at the moment?  Is it anything you would recommend?


© 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, May 21, 2017

Bookish Thoughts: The Nightwing Trilogy by Juliette Cross

Sometimes I need to spend some time reading my guilty pleasures, and that would include Juliette Cross's Nightwing Trilogy set in the Gladium Provence, where Morgon (dragon hybrids) and humans live side by side. There is definite tension between the two races. Humans have long feared the dragon/human mixed race, afraid of their strengths and special powers. Believing them to be animals. Not all humans are fearful of the Morgons, accepting them as equal and wanting to live in an integrated world, side by side.

The story of how the Morgon race came into being varies depending on the telling. Was it through force or forbidden love? Some will use history to help stir up fear, manipulating it to fit their purpose. Author Juliette Cross has created a world which was easy to get lost in. 

The heroines in each of the Nightwing trilogy could not be more different, but one thing is sure, they are the best of friends. I enjoyed getting to read each of their stories and meeting the men who they would spend the rest of their lives with.

It is true the men in these novellas are alpha males and do most of the rescuing. None of these heroines can be called weak, however. They stand up for themselves and know what they want. There is also the insta-love factor, which makes sense in this particular world given the way fate plays a part in bringing people together. But, oh, how I enjoyed my time in Cross's world and with her characters! I wish the stories were longer and more fleshed out, something I often find with novellas and short stories that I am enjoying reading.

I enjoyed all three novellas quite a bit, but admit I liked Windburn the most. I think it had a lot to do with the strong mystery element involved (which carries over into the next part of the series).


Soulfire (Nightwing #1) (Lyrical Press, 2014; 109 pgs)

Opening sentence: Thousands of years ago, Radomis, the dragon king of the North, took flight on the last full moon of winter.

Jessen Cade is the daughter of one of the most powerful businessmen in the Gladium Province. His feelings for the Morgons are fierce and strong. He loathes everything about them and would like to see them brought to their knees. His daughter doesn't agree. A run in with the gorgeous and formidable Lucius Nightwing, eldest son of the most powerful Morgon clan, throws her father's plans to marry her off to his partner's human son into a tailspin. Will family loyalty win over true love? 

I liked Jessen's spirit and Lucius's regard and respect for her and she for him. Jessen isn't one to play games nor is Lucius. Soulfire was my introduction to the Morgon world and it certainly whet my appetite for more. I wasn't sure about the concept of soulfire, I admit; I felt a little underwhelmed by it in this first novella. And Jessen at times seemed too perfect at times, but this novella hit the spot.


Windburn (Nightwing #2) (Lyrical Press, 2015; 91 pgs)

Opening sentence: Yeah.

Sorcha Linden and Lorian Nightwing are quite the match, both with fiery tempers and very strong wills. Sorcha has long used her femininity to get what she wants. She keeps her heart behind a wall, built over the years to keep it safe. She does not trust easily nor does she trust love. Lorian longs to bring that wall down and win Sorcha's heart. He will do anything to make sure that happens. 

Windburn was particularly dark, involving a cult who believe in Morgon superiority. Lorian is determined to protect Sorcha just as she is sure she can protect herself. I liked the energy of Lorian and Sorcha--both individually and when they are together. They seem well suited for each other.


Nightbloom (Nightwing #3) (Lyrical Press, 2015; 151 pgs)

Opening sentence: "Would you like to hear the story about tragic Princess Morga and the dreadful dragon king of the North again?" 

Ella Barrow wears her own shield, only she is the picture of perfection--the dutiful daughter, the quiet agreeable woman. She's settled into a relationship with a human who comes from a respectable family. Only, she isn't completely happy. Especially not when Paxon Nightwing walks into the picture. He sees more in Ella than she sees in herself, and he wants her body and soul. 

It's clear that Ella's human boyfriend isn't a good person. I really didn't like him, and was so glad when Ella realized she was better than that. I adored Paxon. I admit I wasn't sure I would given my impression of him in an earlier book. He seemed nice enough, but my first impression of him was that he was too much of a lady's man. In Nightbloom, the reader gets to see a different side of him. Paxon is so patient with Ella and really draws her out of her shell. Not only that, but he shows her genuine respect and often lets her make the first move. Ella cares a lot about her parents and what they think, about what others think, and it's one of the chains she must loosen (and break) before she can truly be herself. I could relate to her reluctance to let go of what was comfortable.

After reading the Nightwing Trilogy, I was excited to find out the Vale of Stars series is set in the same world, with guest appearances by some of these characters, and dove right in. My review will be coming soon.

*Source: E-copies of Soulfire and Windburn purchased for my own reading pleasure. E-copy of Nightbloom provided by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.



You can learn more about Juliette Cross and her books on the author's website. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.


© 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, May 13, 2017

Sunday Post: Happy Mother's Day! (And My May TBR List Winner)


I hope you are enjoying the weekend however you are spending it. I am nearly done with reading Emma Newman's science fiction novel Planetfall.  I came really close to finishing it last night while everyone else was sleeping, but decided I needed my sleep too. Now I'm regretting that decision. I've been thinking of the book all day! I haven't had a chance to pick it up and finish it yet--hopefully tonight.

This week was crazy busy, and so I wasn't able to get around the blogging community the way I would have liked. Hopefully I can do better this coming week. Thank you to everyone who offered me support last week. Work was tense, but I survived. Whew.

We have one more soccer class and then a much needed break. We have been considering other options for the summer. Maybe ballet. There are quite a few activities Mouse would like to participate in during the summer, but unfortunately she has working parents whose schedules limit what she can do. I was really hoping to get her back into swim lessons . . . Not going to happen. Oh well.

Are you doing anything special for Mother's Day? My husband mentioned taking me to John's Incredible Pizza for a balloon corsage and free buffet meal. I am sure my daughter would like that. She's always begging us to go. I don't think we've been since her birthday. If you do celebrate Mother's Day, I hope you have a wonderful day!


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?

*

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.

If you read a book you ended up hating, would you stay away from future books by that author, or would you give them a second chance?
Whether I give an author whose first book I read and didn't care for another try depends on why I didn't like the book--and if another of their books interests me. A writing style I do not like would be a deterrent for me or the type of book an author writes. If it's just a matter of my not liking the subject matter, a certain aspect of the plot, or a character, but I like the author's writing, I am more open to giving an author a second chance. There are authors whose works are hit or miss with me. And so I do not like to let one bad book be the judge of the rest. Just the same, admittedly, there are some authors whose books I haven't picked up because of a bad first experience due to the writing style, and the jury is still out on whether I will give them another try.

What about you? Are you willing to give an author another chance if you hate one of his or her books?


*

Thank you for helping 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. 



Thank you to all who voted in my May TBR poll! There's something about the month of May that makes me think of historical fiction. I am excited to read this month's selection.





Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford

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




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. 

© 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, May 10, 2017

Bookish Thoughts: WTF: Poems by Laura Foley

The night before his imprisonment,
after a truly Russian feast, 
toasting each course with vodka,
he danced and sang all night.
~ Opening of  "Tientsin, December 1941" from WTF: Poems


WTF: Poems by Laura Foley
Cw Books, 2017
Nonfiction; 34 pgs

Goodreads Summary: 
Laura Foley's "WTF" refers to her father's initials and, slyly, to the abbreviated colloquial exclamation, in a pun that laughs and cuts, in this reckoning with a fraught father-daughter relationship. These spare poems communicate more like snapshots than narrative lyrics, beginning with sympathy and gratitude, moving through disappointment, anger and resentment, without ever losing compassion, as Foley examines her father's formative WWII experiences and, consequently, how he shaped her experience and character, ending with a positive recognition of her father in herself.

A couple years ago, I read Joy Street, a collection of poetry by Laura Foley, and when asked if I wanted to be a part of her WTF: Poems tour, it did not take me long to agree. Especially when I discovered what her new collection of poetry was about. My own relationship with my father was . . . complicated. Like Foley's father, mine was a war veteran, and was greatly impacted by his brief time in Vietnam. Growing up, I wanted so much to understand my dad, what he'd been through, why he was the way he was. He was a difficult and closed man, however, sometimes cruel. 

Many of the poems in WTF affected me quite deeply, bringing tears to my eyes. It is a short collection of poems, poems of her father's experiences during World War II and those of her own childhood or experiences with her father. She writes of her father's experience as a prisoner of war and of his accomplishments, how demanding and hard he was on his first wife and children. I got a real sense of Laura's conflicted feelings about her father. 

I do not consider myself an academic admirer of poetry. Rather, I am attracted to poetry that I am able to connect to and to how it makes me feel. As a result, Foley's style appeals to me, the simplicity and straightforwardness in each of her poems. They are full of her memories and rich in feeling. I could relate to some of what she expressed through her poetry. Feeling like I was not good enough or was found wanting in some way, for example. 

One of her poems that spoke to me was "Hindsight" (pg 21):

I happen after the photo
of my emaciated father
standing on a ship's deck,
dark hair combed neatly to the right.
He's just endured four years of war, 
POW for the Japanese, starved,
water-boarded.
One feature commands our attention;
my partner names it, his survivor eyes
just like mine.

"Ghost Street" was another one, beginning with "People speak of wanting to relive a day in their youth, wishing the dead alive." It was the final line of the poem that especially resonated with me. It being my truth too. The final poem, "Family Photograph" is a good way to end, and also one I especially liked and could relate to. It captures a happy moment in her childhood life, one of pride.

Laura Foley is one of those poets whose poetry inspires me to keep writing my own.


To learn more about Laura Foley, and her book, please visit the author's website.


hope you will check out what others have to say about WTF: Poems by Laura Foley on the Poetic Book Tours route:

March 28: The Modern Creative Life (Guest Post)
April 5: Wall-to-Wall Books (Review)
April 12: the bookworm (Review)
April 13: Diary of an Eccentric (Guest Post)
April 18: Celticlady’s Reviews (Book Spotlight)
April 25: Soapy Violinist (Review)
May 3: The Modern Creative Life (Guest Post)
May 4: The Book Connection (Interview)
May 11: Musings of a Bookish Kitty (Review)
May 15: Katherine & Books (Review)
May 19: Margie’s Must Reads (Review)
May 24: Suko’s Notebook (Review)
June 1: Readaholic Zone (Review)
June 5: Patricia’s Wisdom (Review)


Many thanks to the Poetic Book Tours and Laura Foley for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour! Thank you also for providing a copy of the book for my honest review.


© 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, May 08, 2017

Where Is Your Bookmark? (05/09/2017)

I am a small few pages away from finishing Louise Erdrich's LaRose and next up is Planetfall by Emma Newman, the first in a science fiction series.




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.

Every time I come down here I think about my mother. I don't want to; it just happens. My brain has decided it's a critical subroutine that must be executed when the correct variables are in place: (when time = predawn) + (when physical location + beneath the colony) + (when physical act = opening the door to the Masher) run "unpleasant memory of mother #345."
My hand is pushing the door open and I'm back at my old lab and she's following me in, her heels clicking on the tiled floor. I've prepped the equipment to run one hour before her arrival so there's something to show straightaway. She never was a patient woman.


Every Tuesday, Ambrosia from The Purple Booker hosts Teaser Teaser at which participants grab their current read, open to a random page, and share two or more sentences from that page while avoiding any spoilers.


Teaser from page 12% of Planetfall:
I blink and look around Mack's living room to remind myself I'm not back in that prison again. 

What do you think? Would you keep reading?  

I admit the opening isn't especially grabbing me, but the random teaser sure has me curious!

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 Ten Things On My Reading Wishlist---- things you want to see more of in books -- tropes, a time period, a specific type of character, an issue tackled, a certain plot, etc. All those things that make you think I WANT MORE OF THIS IN BOOKS!


1. There are a number of series or trilogies I really enjoy that I wish authors would continue with--or go the spin-off route. J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter world, The Others by Anne Bishop, The Fairwick Chronicles by Juliet Dark, among others. I don't think it is too much to ask.

2. I would like to see more mysteries in which the crime does not include murder. Art theft investigations can be quite fun to read about, for example.

3. More realistic and well-written heroes and heroines who are people of color who are not defined by their ethnicity or race. Especially in the genres of crime fiction, romance, and fantasy.

4. More realistic and well-written leads who are LGBTQ who are not defined by their gender identity or sexual orientation.

5. More realistic and well-written heroes and heroines who have disabilities, including mental illness, who are not defined by their disabilities or mental illnesses.

6. Women leads in comics and graphic novels who don't fit the usual stereotypes, are more realistic, ones who can save themselves, are the main characters, aren't loud or meek or meeting one extreme or another.

7. More children's books involving only children. So many of the books featuring families I read with my daughter include siblings. It'd be nice for her to read books with functional families with only children.

8. More books written in verse. This is definitely an area I want to explore more, but I also wouldn't mind seeing more of this, especially in the fantasy genre.

9. More Choose Your Own Adventures for adults. I'm not talking about "R" rated. Just ones that are aimed at an older audience. I loved reading them as a child and do not see them as often nowadays.

10. More books about witches. I know there are a lot out there. Everywhere you look, really. But there can never be enough.

What about you? Is there anything you would like to see more of in 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.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Sunday Post: It is Time For May's TBR Poll & Free Comic Book Day!

New to My Shelves: May's My Lit Box arrived in the mail this past week. May's box is lighter fare compared to the darker themes featured in past selections. I am really excited about reading No One Can Pronounce My Name by Rakesh Satyal. I may end up using the 642 Tiny Things To Write About journal for blog post ideas . . . Or maybe I will just feature a question here each Sunday. I haven't decided.



This past week was Teacher Appreciation Week at my daughter's school. I did not get notice until Monday, and so was not able to prepare something for Mouse's teacher like I would have liked. Oh well. So, although these little goodies did not stay in our house long, I thought I would share them anyway. Mouse and I "taste-read" the books before sending them on to school for her class. (Books: How Rocket Learned to Read and Rocket Writes a Story, both by Tad Hills.) We also got her a tin of See's candy because that's the teacher's favorite kind of chocolate.


We hit up my husband's favorite comic bookstore today for Free Comic Book Day:

 Mouse's selection of free comic books

 Anjin's selection of free comic books

 Anjin's comic book purchases

Mouse's comic book purchases


What I Am Reading: I am in the middle of Louise Erdrich's LaRose. It is one of those books that is best enjoyed when I am able to devote my full attention to it--at least that's what I am finding. My heart aches for both of the main families in the book, and especially the young LaRose who is caught in the middle. It is the story of two families, one whose son is killed in an accidental hunting accident.

What I Am Watching: I was able to fit in a few more episodes of the first season Supernatural. My watching it is slow going and will turn to non-existent once summer hits with Mouse out of school. That can't be helped. It's not a show I am willing to watch in front of her. I am all caught up with Designated Survivor. It reminds me of a cross between West Wing and Scandal.

What's Going On Off the Blog: This week was a mix of good and bad. Work was hell. Things really hit the fan Wednesday, and Thursday was even worse. I was glad to have Friday off, and and am trying hard not to think about work until I have to go back Monday.

We had planned to go hiking in the mountains Saturday afternoon after soccer, but our plans fell through because of the threat of bad weather. While Mouse still was able to play soccer, we decided not to risk the hike with the high prediction of rain. We ended up going to the comic bookstore instead.


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?



*

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 re-arrange and move books around on the shelves or move books off of your bookshelves to another area after a certain amount of time or do you just leave them the way they are? 
Unless I am culling my shelves and making room for new books, my book shelves pretty much stay the same. I am not one who organizes by color or likes to experiment with new shelving systems every few months or so. My hardback and trade paperbacks are all divided by genre and shelved alphabetically by author's surname. My trade paperbacks are just shelved by alphabetically by author's surname. I also have a bookshelf near my bed that is full of random books. It started out as my immediate to be read shelf, but, well, I am not always in the mood to read even what I set aside to read next. My shelves really could use another good organizing . . .

What about you? Do you re-arrange and move your books around often?

My (and my husband's) personal library shelves:





Upstairs shelves (mass market paperbacks are double shelved):



My bedside bookshelf:


My daughter's bedroom bookshelf:



*


Thank you for helping 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. 



For the next three or so months you might notice a theme in my poll reading choices. These three are grouped together because they are all historical fiction, featuring strong female characters. I cannot wait to see which you all vote for me to read!


White Collar Girl by Renee Rosen ~ It is 1955 in Chicago, and Jordan Walsh is a female journalist in a man's world. Trying to get ahead, she uncovers a secret that could put her in danger.


Mercer Girls by Libbie Hawker ~ It is 1864. Three East Coast women set out for Seattle as mail-order brides. Running from their pasts, their journey is a difficult one, fraught with challenges and hardship.


Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford ~ In 1926 London, Maisie Musgrave takes a job as a secretary at the  British Broadcasting Corporation whose use of radio has taken the nation by storm. A novel of conspiracy and getting out the truth.


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




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. 


Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Team Tynga's Reviews and is a meme in which participants share what new books came their way recently.

© 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, May 03, 2017

Bookish Thoughts: The Book Club Murders by Leslie Nagel

This day was stomping on her last nerve, and it wasn't even ten o'clock. ~ opening of The Book Club Murders


The Book Club Murders by Leslie Nagel
Alibi, 2017
Crime Fiction (Cozy); 271 pgs
Source: NetGalley

I loved The Book Club Murders from the start. It's got a good combination of mystery and romance, all in a cozy setting. Charley Carpenter is the newest member of the Agathas Book Club and a bit of an outsider. The members are the wealthy and elite of Oakwood, Ohio. Charley does love to read, but her ulterior motive in joining the group was to expand notice of her store, Old Hat Vintage Fashions. She's been doing her best to fit in, but often feels more like the square peg trying to fit into the group's round hole. Luckily, one of her best friends is a member of the group and that makes the situation much more bearable.

On her way to a book club meeting one night, Charley is made to take a detour because her usual way is blocked by the police. Someone has been murdered. When the police come knocking on the door of the house where the group is meeting, it all becomes evident that the dead person is someone they know.

Detective Marcus Trenault hasn't seen a murder like this since his days working in the big city. The murder scene is well staged and the evidence scant. The weight of the investigation is on his shoulders as his boss and the mayor demand quick results.

Charley and Marc share a shaky past, one built on animosity. Just the same, their attraction to each other is immediate, although they both make an effort to resist. I was kind of taken surprise by the strength of the romance in The Book Club Murders, but it wasn't at all unwelcome. I thought Charley and Marc were well matched, and I though their story was well played out. Past grievances, misunderstandings, and family loyalty all coming into play.

Even with the strong romance thread, it never felt like the mystery took a backseat to the personal. When another body, clearly staged, is discovered, the pieces begin to come together for Charley, who is reluctant to go to the police. Charley and her friend, Frankie, had already begun nosing around the first murder, concerned that the Oakwood elite would close ranks against the police if questioned, and knowing they would have a better chance at getting answers.

Marc is none too happy with Charley's involvement in the investigation, but he does admire her persistence. When she finally does come to him with her suspicions about how the murders are connected, the staged death scenes taken straight out of the Agatha's reading list, he listens and does not immediately dismiss her. A quality I like in any love interest of the main character.

If I had a problem with this novel, it would be that Charley, as smart as she is, really should have come forward sooner with the information she had--and not just once. She also takes matters into her own hands a few times, doing more than just asking questions. She really needs to think more carefully before she acts. Even with that though, I really enjoyed reading The Book Club Murders. Charley is down to earth and resourceful. Marc is a bit brooding at the beginning, but I appreciate that he takes Charley seriously. He's also pretty smart, even though he and the police always seem one step behind Charley. I just wish she would trust him more to do his job.

The Book Club Murders was a hard novel to put down, and I thoroughly enjoy it. I admit I figured out the whodunit before I got there, but that did not hurt my enjoyment at all. It rarely does. I was just curious to see how everything would fall into place. I look forward to reading more about Charley and Marc in future books in the series.

You can learn more about Leslie Nagel and her books on the author's website. You can also find her on 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.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Where Is Your Bookmark? (05/02/2017)

After much hand wringing, I finally settled into a new book this week, deciding to read LaRose by Louise Edrich. It wasn't even one I had been considering to read at that moment, but sometimes the book that calls to me isn't the one I was expecting.




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.

Where the reservation boundary invisibly bisected a stand of deep brush--chokeberry, popple, stunted oak--Landreaux waited. He said he was not drinking, and there was no sign later. Landreaux was a devout Catholic who also followed traditional ways, a man who would kill a deer, thank one god in English, and put down tobacco for another god in Ojibwe. He was married to a woman even more devout than he, and had five children, all of whom he tried to feed and keep decent. His neighbor, Peter Ravich, had a big farm cobbled together out of what used to be Indian allotments; he tilled the corn, soy, and hay fields on the western edge. He and Landreaux and their wives, who were half sisters, traded: eggs for ammo, rides to town, kids' clothing, potatoes for flour--that sort of thing. Their children played together although they went to different schools. This was 1999 and Ravich had been talking about the millennium, how he was setting up alternate power sources, buying special software for his computer, stocking up on the basics; he had even filled an old gasoline tank buried by his utility shed. Ravich though that something would happen, but not what did happen. 

Every Tuesday, Ambrosia from The Purple Booker hosts Teaser Teaser at which participants grab their current read, open to a random page, and share two or more sentences from that page while avoiding any spoilers.




Teaser from page 11 of LaRose:
No, said Emmaline. She growled and showed her teeth. I'll kill you first. No.
Teaser from page 11 of LaRose:
Then he looked at Nola and saw that her face had broken open. All softness was flowing out. And the greed, too, a desperate grasping that leaned her windingly toward the child.  
What do you think? Would you keep reading?  

I started reading this yesterday morning and was pulled in immediately. Events unfold fairly quickly in terms of the tragic event that changes both the Landreaux and Ravich families' lives. I really like Edrich's writing. This is my first novel by her. It promises to be an emotional one, and I am eager to read more of it.

What are you reading at the moment?  Is it anything you would recommend?


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

This week's  Top Ten Tuesday is Cover Theme Freebie. I am guilty of being drawn to a book by its cover. And honestly, I can sit and gaze upon books with beautiful covers all day long if given the chance. What better way to tackle this week's topic than to look over the books I've read over my book blogging career and share with you my favorite cover for each year? (Covers listed are from the year I read the book, not the year they were necessarily published.)

1. 2006: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield


2. 2007: Moloka'i by Alan Brennert


3. 2008: Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman


4. 2009: Haunting Bombay by Shilpa Agarwal



5. 2010: The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli



6. 2011: Witchlanders by Lena Coakley


7. 2012: Ironskin by Tina Connolly


8. 2013: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman


9. 2014: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters


10. 2015: The Uninvited by Cat Winters




11. 2016: The Magician's Lie by Greer Macallister


12. And of the books I have read so far this year (2017), my favorite without a doubt is Lisa See's The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane.



Do you have a favorite cover? 



© 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.