Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Bookish Thoughts: Planetfall by Emma Newman

Every time I come down here I think about my mother. ~ Opening of Planetfall


Planetfall (Planetfall #1) by Emma Newman
Ace/Roc, 2015
Science Fiction; 336 pgs
Source: Purchased

Goodreads Summary:  
Renata Ghali believed in Lee Suh-Mi’s vision of a world far beyond Earth, calling to humanity. A planet promising to reveal the truth about our place in the cosmos, untainted by overpopulation, pollution, and war. Ren believed in that vision enough to give up everything to follow Suh-Mi into the unknown.

More than twenty-two years have passed since Ren and the rest of the faithful braved the starry abyss and established a colony at the base of an enigmatic alien structure where Suh-Mi has since resided, alone. All that time, Ren has worked hard as the colony’s 3-D printer engineer, creating the tools necessary for human survival in an alien environment, and harboring a devastating secret.

Ren continues to perpetuate the lie forming the foundation of the colony for the good of her fellow colonists, despite the personal cost. Then a stranger appears, far too young to have been part of the first planetfall, a man who bears a remarkable resemblance to Suh-Mi.

The truth Ren has concealed since planetfall can no longer be hidden. And its revelation might tear the colony apart…
Most of my experience with science fiction so far falls to Robert Heinlein and Douglas Adams, both rather tall orders to follow. I have read a scattering of other science fiction novels over the years, and recently have found myself wanting to explore the genre more. Planetfall seemed a good book to go to next. It wasn't quite what I expected, even having read the blurb, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Planetfall isn't just a book about a colony on a far away planet, but also a character study of someone with a mental disorder going through crisis.

Renata (Ren) Ghali is a well drawn character who shoulders a heavy secret and has been through more than one traumatic experience. Not only has she left behind the world she knows for the completely unknown, but she's lost the woman she loved most in the world, and is asked to be complicit in a big lie that could very well destroy the very community she lives in--not to mention the stability she's come to depend on. Being that Ren is the narrator, the reader is inside her head, feeling her panic when her world is threatened, and understanding where she is coming from. It did cross my mind at one point that perhaps Ren's disorder was relied on too heavily for the sake of the plot, but, at the same time, the way events played out, it seemed a natural progression and felt so real.

I felt for Ren on many levels, feeling the tension of the position she was in. She wanted to come clean with the truth, but isn't sure the colony would recover from the damage caused if the truth got out. Ren is extremely smart, skilled, and more resourceful than she realizes. She is always second guessing herself. I imagine the others in the colony see her as bit of an eccentric, withdrawn at times and very private, having trouble connecting with others.

When the stranger appears out of nowhere, Ren is suspicious, as is Cillian "Mack" Mackenzie, the so called ringmaster of the colony. How could someone have survived outside the colony for so long? Is he really as innocent as he seems? His friendly and open demeanor suggest so, and his welcome into the colony seems a forgone conclusion. Sung-So takes an instant interest in Ren and she can't help but respond to that. He is the first who she lets into her private world, however reluctantly. He is also the first to realize just how bad things have gotten for Ren. And from there, things begin to unravel very quickly.

It is through flashback and memories that the story unfolds, at first slowly, building in tension as it goes. Ren recalls the reason behind the colonists setting out on Atlas to search for their new home, the Earth being overpopulated and polluted. Despite being so far from home and civilization, the colonists have made a good home for themselves at the base of God's city. It was faith and science that had brought them there and what keeps them going. With each new memory Ren shares a new layer to the story is uncovered.

The novel could have gone in several different directions, and I would have happily followed along. In fact, I wasn't too surprised in the way certain events finally came to a head. The very end hearkens back to the purpose of the colonist's original mission, in a way coming full circle. But I have mixed feelings about it. Maybe my dissatisfaction comes from all the questions I still have, about certain threads left hanging. And yet the ending seems so final.

I wouldn't have minded a little more science behind the technology they used in order to add more flesh to the world Newman's created. I also wish the author had explored the spiritual journey the colonists were on a bit more, especially in relation to the time period they are living in. These are just minor things though in the scheme of things.

Overall, I liked Planetfall, and feel it was a worthwhile read. Emma Newman has created a fascinating character in Ren and a complex and interesting world. I am hearing even better things about the next book in the series, which I understand is set in the same world as Planetfall, but not a sequel per say.


You can learn more about Emma Newman 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.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Bookish Thoughts: The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt

Katie Trent dragged her feet as she walked down the street towards the park. ~ Opening of The Girls Next Door


The Girls Next Door (Detective Eden Berrisford #1) by Mel Sherratt
Bookouture, 2016
Crime Fiction; 318 pgs

The Girls Next Door is a dark thriller about a group of teenage friends who have gotten in over their heads. The novel opens with the death of sixteen year old Deanna Barker and the events that follow leading up to the trial of the teens being held responsible for her death. How much should Katie be held accountable for a crime she witnessed and tried to stop? Will anyone believe her given her relationship and history with the boy who stabbed Deanna?

As a storm rages in Stockleigh, someone or someones are playing awfully mean pranks on this group of friends, targeting them and warning them to keep quiet. When one of their own goes missing, it raises the stakes even higher. Detective Eden Berrisford isn't sure how long she'll be allowed to stay on the case given her relationship to the missing girl, Jess Mountford, her niece, but she is determined to find her.

There are multiple threads of the story at play in The Girls Next Door. Grief permeates the pages in one form or another. The mother of the murdered girl is both bitter and angry, not to mention devastated by her daughter's senseless death. Then you have Katie, accused of  being involved in a murder, and her family, struggling to deal with their separation, the accusations and societal judgement, not to mention the internal turmoil each of the family members are going through. These among several other characters struggling with their own challenges related to grief.

Kidnap victim Jess has her own family issues, being raised by her widowed mother and older sister. It was really hard for me to connect with Jess. She isn't an easy person to like. I felt more for her mom, who was working hard to provide for her family, and raise her two daughters on her own. Eden has her own teenage daughter and has her own baggage. She is good at her job though, that much is obvious.

The novel shifts from perspective to perspective throughout the novel, including the kidnapper's, and so no one person was the main focus of the novel. This may have contributed to my not really connecting to any of the characters as I never felt like I got to know any of them very well. But honestly, it was hard to sympathize with any of the kids involved given their own actions. I lost a little respect for the detective at the end of the novel, wishing she'd made a different choice (about a seemingly small matter)--but I realize it is hard when it is family involved.

Tension is high throughout The Girls Next Door, although I found it a struggle to read it at times. The message to parents to be involved in your child's life--know their friends and be vigilant to how much money they spend or how and where they spend their time coming across loud and clear. While I thought this to be a decent novel, I am on the fence about whether I will continue with this series or not.

You can learn more about Mel Sherratt 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.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Where Is Your Bookmark? (Ancillary Justice & My Attempt At Haiku)

This week saw the end of my daughter's year in kindergarten. Her school doesn't believe in doing promotions or graduations at that age, but her class, along with a couple other kindergarten classes at her school, put on a concert. It was a nice way to close out the year.

Although it's quite unusual for me, I have a few books going right now. I hope to finish my audiobook in the next day or so, a book I featured last week. This week, I thought I would share a bit of a book my husband recommended to me, a science fiction novel called Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1) by Ann Leckie. Evidently it's one that has been on his radar, and he was hoping I would read it and tell him if it is any good. 



A weekly meme where readers share the first sentence of the book they are reading and say what they think. Hosted by the wonderful Gillion Dumas of Rose City Reader.
The body lay naked and facedown, a deathly gray, spatters of blood staining the snow around it. It was minus fifteen degrees Celsius and a storm had passed just hours before. The snow stretched smooth in the wan sunrise, only a few tracks leading into a nearby ice-block building. A tavern. Or what passed for a tavern in this town. 
Yes, again with the sharing more than the first line. I hope you don't mind. I couldn't help myself though. The opening of Ancillary Justice grabbed my attention right away. Whose body? What happened? Where are we exactly? It sure is cold!


A weekly meme in which readers share a random sentence or two from page 56 or 56% of the book they are reading. Hosted by the wonderful Freda of Freda's Voice.
Lieutenant Awn approached the Var decade room with trepidation, not knowing why I had sent her there. I had refused to answer her questions, which had only fed a growing feeling on her part that something was very wrong. 
(at 56% of my Kindle edition)


What do you think? Would you keep reading?

*

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.

How do you organize your blog in terms of what is in your side bar? Do you have categories and defined sections in your side bar?
My husband I asked
How to answer this question
He said try Haiku.

So . . .

Organization
A myth I cannot believe
It's all random chance.

Why, Just look at it
What do you want me to say?
It's all there to see.

I'll keep my day job
This Haiku is not for me
A poet I'm not.

(That's not wholly true
I prefer to write free verse
Lines are tricky things.)

What about you?
*


I was so excited to find my cat actually using the little house on the cat tree--and then she yawned in the middle of the photo. Look at those fangs!


© 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, June 13, 2017

Bookish Thoughts: The Black Lily by Juliette Cross

Once upon a time, humans lived in peace across the land of Varis. ~ Opening of The Black Lily 


The Black Lily (Tales of the Black Lily) by Juliette Cross
Entangled (Select Otherworld), 2017
Fantasy (Romance); 300 pgs

While I am not as into vampire romance novels as I might have once been, I couldn't help but purchase a copy of The Black Lily by Juliette Cross. I had recently gone on a binge of the author's books about dragon hybrid and knew I enjoyed her writing style.

The Black Lily was everything I expected and more. If the description of the book didn't give it away, the reader could easily pick out from the opening chapters of the book that this is a Cinderella re-tellling, but from there the similarities stop. Having lost her mother to a vampire, Arabelle has no love for them. She is the Black Lily, the leader of an underground resistance group made up of humans. Humans are being slaughtered despite the monarchs' assurance that vampires no longer kill humans. And the Black Lily wants to put a stop to it.

Prince Marius, the youngest son of the king and queen, and a direct decedent of the original immortal, is reluctant to attend the Blood Ball where he is to choose a new concubine. He did not expect to be so captivated by anyone, much less the  mysterious beauty who walked through the palace doors. Her wit and conversation only strengthen the attraction he feels for her. He never sees it coming when she stabs him, aiming for his heart. She flees, leaving behind only the dagger in his chest.

The prince was supposed to die that night, but the Black Lily failed in her mission, and is now hunted by the prince and the royal family. Only, Prince Marius isn't so sure he wants to see her dead. He wants to know more about the woman who calls herself the Black Lily and perhaps win her heart.

Arabelle is smart and cunning, and can be ruthless when need be. She is strong in her convictions. I liked her instantly. Prince Marius is a thoughtful man, fair and just. Although he is angry and not quick to trust Arabelle (she did try to kill him, after all), he also wants to understand why she would want to kill him in the first place.

The Black Lily was such a fun read. It is nonstop action from the start. It's pretty dark too in terms of the themes. I'm fascinated by the world Juliette Cross has created. There is one moment in the novel in which Arabelle ventures into the forest and I could feel my excitement building. Not because of some sexy vampire, but because I liked the direction the novel was going. There is romance, of course. Prince Marius and Arabelle make an interesting match--neither one completely trusting each other for a good portion of the novel. Arabelle has reason to be cautious--they both do really--but neither can completely ignore the passion between them.

The mystery itself, who is behind the murders and the why of it, wasn't completely unexpected, but I still wasn't sure. Everything comes together quite quickly in a very tense scene that I can see being great for the big screen.

There are number of interesting characters I wouldn't mind getting to know more, including Sienna who I believe will be featured in the upcoming Red Lily, the next book in the series. Juliette Cross has definitely created a world I would like to explore further.


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.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Mouse's Corner: Books You Read to Experience

There is just something fun about books like these which take reading to a whole new level. Mouse and I have fun reading them together. If you are looking for a book to read experience with your preschooler or kindergartner, I hope you will consider taking a look at these.


Again! by Emily Gravett
MacMillan Children's Books, 2011
Fiction (Children's); 32 pgs

Cedric is a young dragon and he loves it when his mother reads his favorite bedtime story. Not just once. But over and over again. Cedric's mother is tired though, and Cedric is losing patience. As a child, my daughter can totally relate. And so can I--only with the mother. Again! is an especially fun book to read in character. The artwork is colorful and and both the main story and the story within the story are interesting. 



This Book Just Ate My Dog! by Richard Byrne
Henry Holt & Co., 2014
Fiction (Children's); 32 pgs

Bella is out walking her dog when he falls down into the gutter. She calls for help, but then the people helping disappear too. What will Bella do? Of these three books, this is probably Mouse's favorite. Twisting and turning and shaking . . . Maybe that will help Bella get get dog out.  Mouse really likes to get into this one.



Open Very Carefully: A Book with Bite by written by Nick Bromley and illustrated by Nicola O'Byrne
Nosy Crow, 2013
Fiction (Children's); 32 pgs

Bedtime stories are supposed to be quiet and calming, right? Well, not this one. A crocodile seems to have fallen inside the book and is wreaking havoc. Who wouldn't have fun reading a book like this, trying to get the crocodile out of the book? Warning: This book may cause giggling and full blown laughter.


To share your children's book related posts stop by Booking Mama’s feature,
Kid Konnection and leave a comment as well as a link to your posts!

© 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, June 10, 2017

June's TBR List Poll Winner

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 Saturday 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 (unfortunately, not likely in the same month, but eventually--that's all I can promise).




Thank you to everyone who voted in my monthly TBR List Poll. Behind the scenes, this was one of the most exciting polls to watch as one book would seem to be ahead, and then all three tied, and then another came out on top until all three tied again. At least, that was until the eventual winner took the lead to cross the finish line with 44.6% (16) of the votes. Christopher Brookmyre's Dead Girl Walking and Marion Pauw's Girl in the Dark each settled in with 27.8% (10) of the votes, tying for second place.

June's winner is:


The Lost Girls of Rome by Donato Carrisi, Howard Curtis (translator) ~ A forensic analyst with the Rome police recently lost her husband. The authorities believe it was a suicide, but his wife isn't convinced. She begins her own investigation into his death, which leads her into dangerous territory, including a possible centuries-old secret society.

I am looking forward to reading The Lost Girls of Rome. A suspicious death and a possible secret society . . . Sounds exciting!

Thank you again to all who voted! Enjoy your weekend and this coming week. Happy Reading!


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

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Where Is Your Bookmark? (06/09/2017)

I am well into the audio version of Girl in Disguise by Greer Macallister, narrated by Stephanie Cozart and enjoying it so far. It is a fictionalized account of the first female Pinkerton operative, Kate Warne. She's made good company while I do a bit of spring cleaning and on my commute to and from work. I have a kindle version too, which I purchased not realizing I had already used one of my Audible credits on the audio version, but ultimately decided to listen to the book instead.


 
A weekly meme where readers share the first sentence of the book they are reading and say what they think. Hosted by the wonderful Gillion Dumas of Rose City Reader.

August 1856 
Like any Chicago tavern in deep summer, Joe Mulligan's stank. It stank of cigars smoked the week before, months before, years before.
Tonight's smoke pooled against the basement ceiling in a noxious cloud. I acted like I smelled only roses. The woman I was pretending to be would have done the same.  

I am sharing more than the first sentence, I know, but I could not help myself. The opening two paragraphs are the perfect set up for the novel. The reader gets the feel for the environment the narrator is in and just what she is up to--or rather a tease about what she is up to. This hooked me instantly and had me wanting to know more.



A weekly meme in which readers share a random sentence or two from page 56 or 56% of the book they are reading. Hosted by the wonderful Freda of Freda's Voice.

I hated the feeling that every time I parted company with someone I knew, it might be the last time we saw each other alive. 

The country is on the brink of Civil War and tensions are high. I like this quote because it captures just how serious--and dangerous--the work Kate Warne is doing is.

So, what do you think? Would you keep reading?

*

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 could have lunch with any living authors, who would you choose and why?
Imagine having lunch with the likes of Stephen King and Neil Gaiman? Or Nadia Hashimi, Sarah-Jane Stratford, and Lisa See. Let's add Margaret Atwood to the mix. And absolutely J.K. Rowling. John Scalzi and Karen E. Olson. Can we make it a lunch party? I can think of a dozen other authors I would love the have lunch with. With all of these authors, I envision good conversation, both entertaining and intelligent. We could talk about their books, social issues, and life in general. I have great respect and admiration for all these authors. Now if only I wasn't so tongue-tied around authors . . .

What about you? What living author would you like to have lunch with and why?


© 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, June 06, 2017

Bookish Thoughts: Etched On Me by Jenn Crowell

Have you ever wanted something so much, it's not a desire so much as a beacon? ~ Opening of Etched On Me


Etched On Me by Jenn Crowell
Washington Square Press, 2014
Fiction; 336 pgs

This probably is not a book I would have picked to read on my own. It came in the mail last month as the second Going Postal Mail Group selection for the year. Books dealing with incest and social service agencies fall in my "too close to work" category. And, admittedly, it was difficult at times to read this book without my work hat on.

At sixteen, Lesley Holloway is trying to fit in and make good grades like any other girl at Hawthorn Hill, an all-girl prep school in London. She hadn't been sure she would be able to attend after making the decision to runaway from an abusive home and seek help from the local child welfare agency. Feeling alone and abandoned by a mother that should have protected her, Lesley is surviving as best she can. In an effort to cope, she turns to cutting, a form of self-harm, that soon becomes an obsession. One day at school, she goes too far and it lands her in the hospital. From then on, Lesley is in and out of hospitals, trying to heal from past psychological wounds as well as the physical ones. It is not an easy road for her, but she proves to be quite resilient.

The novel opens with Lesley in the hospital giving birth to her own child. She had made it to the university as a stellar student, and after a one night stand became pregnant. Despite all the strides she has made to get herself together, her past comes back to haunt her. Suddenly her ability to parent is called into question. Talk about gut-wrenching.

Lesley is an amazingly strong young woman. finding the courage to runaway from home and get help. She is an example that someone in the worst of circumstances can make it out on top with perseverance and the will.

Lesley is very lucky to have a good support system to help her through even the worst of times. Her social worker and a high school teacher would do anything for Lesley. They see what a courageous and strong young woman she is. They know what she is capable of if she sets her mind to it. They never give up on her and continue advocating for her, even when Lesley considers giving up on herself. I wish every child or youth in Lesley's situation were so lucky. Many do not have that support or do not know where to look to get help. Or perhaps they are too afraid. Some do not think they are worth it.

Cutting has become more widespread in recent years, unfortunately and occurs for many reasons. It is a behavior that is often misunderstood and is hard to stop. It is a coping mechanism, however harmful it may be. I liked the way the author addressed cutting in the novel. She handles the subject matter in a very sensitive manner, but also in a very real and raw way.

It was interesting to see the differences in how the child welfare system works in England as compared to the United States. Of course, there are so many variations even here in the U.S. that it is can even be different from one county to another in the same state. I also found it interesting to read about the various treatment models Lesley was exposed to throughout her hospitalizations. The treatment and care for mental disorders is ever evolving.

Etched On Me sounds like a terribly depressing novel, and it certainly is a sad one in many respects. Author Jenn Crowell, however, has infused it with hope, and it really is an inspirational novel. I did cry. And one character in particular made me want to throw the book at him (just the thought of him now gets my blood boiling). But by the end I was smiling.


You can learn more about Jenn Crowell 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.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Bookish Thoughts: A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison

"You are absolutely not selling William Dobson, Rupert!" ~ Opening of A Killer Ball At the Honeychurch Hall


A Killer Ball at the Honeychurch Hall (Honeychurch Hall Mystery #3) by Hannah Dennison
Minotuar Books, 2016
Crime Fiction (Cozy); 286 pgs
Source: NetGalley

Trying to get her business off the ground, antique dealer Kat Standford is hoping she can convince Rupert and his mother to sell some of their family's artwork. The family is in dire need of money for repairs, and this seems the perfect solution to Kat. But while visiting an abandoned wing of the family's estate, Honeychurch Hall, Kat falls into a hidden room, a double hide, and finds the body of a young woman who appears to have died under suspicious circumstances. Kat's own mother, Iris, seems to have known the victim. And with the reappearance of someone from Iris's past, red flags are going up for Kat at an astounding rate. Could her mother have been involved in the woman's murder? What is her mother hiding? Any why does everyone seem to want to keep the police in the dark?

This is my first visit to Honeychurch Hall and what an entertaining time I had! Honeychurch Hall seems to be a hotbed of scandal, secrets and cover-up with some rather eccentric characters that add to the charm of this series. I had no problem falling right into the small community of Little Dipperton, despite this being the third book in the series. It stands well on its own, although I imagine there are some threads mentioned in this one that likely got their start in an earlier book.

I rather like Kat, who is smart and funny. She's still recovering from her break up with her ex -boyfriend from the sounds of it, but there were small hints of another possible romantic prospect. I wasn't sure what to make of Iris, Kat's mother. The two seem to have a complex relationship. It's clear they love each other, but Iris's evasiveness, especially about her past, bordered on being annoying at times. Still, I quite liked her character and found her more amusing than anything else. Iris and her brother, a parolee recently out of prison, make a comedic pair to be sure.

The mystery itself was intriguing, tied closely to the Hall's past. I had no idea what direction author Hannah Dennison was going with it, although I had my suspicions. A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall had me laughing and kept me guessing all the way to the end. This was such a fun book to read. I can't wait to read more of this series.


You can learn more about Hannah Dennison 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.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Monthly Reading Mews (May Wrap-Up) & What Should I Read Next? (June's My TBR List Poll)

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, a meme in which participants share what new books came their way recently.


What I Am Reading/Listening to Now: I don't often have more than one book going at once, unless it is an audiobook and a print/e-book. Right now I find myself having started four:
  • I Want My Epidural Back: Adventures in Mediocre Parenting by Karen Alpert - which I can only read in small doses.
  • Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie - recommended by my husband.
  • Girl in Disguise by Greer Macallister - I am listening to this one in audio and have about three hours left to go.
  • Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum - a book long on my TBR shelf I am finally dusting off to read for a read-along hosted by Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit) and Anna (Diary of an Eccentric) over at the War Through the Generations Challenges blog this month. 


May In Review: I had high hopes to read more in May, but it evidently was meant to be an average reading month. I am still wondering where all my reading time went to. I was home for nearly a week from work with strep throat this past month, and focusing on a book was impossible. I couldn't read with Mouse for about a week and a half. I ended up binge watching Supernatural in between naps. I also dedicated more time to blog prep, catching up on my review writing and scheduling posts for the upcoming summer. So, I guess in between that, work, and family life, I do know where all my reading time went after all . . . Hopefully June will be better.

Solely For Me:
  • LaRose by Louise Erdrich
  • Planetfall by Emma Newman
  • Radio Girls by Sarah Jane-Stratford
  • Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary-Robinette Kowal
  • The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (Audio)

Some of the Books I Read With My Daughter in May (many of which we read over and over and over again. And then again):
  • Mom, There's a Bear at the Door by Sabine Lipan & Manuela Olten
  • Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl by Jane O'Connor, Robin Preiss Glasser & Ted Enik
  • How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills
  • Rocket Writes a Story by Tad Hills
  • Fancy Nancy: Fancy Day in Room 1-A by Jane O'Connor, Robin Preiss Glasser & Ted Enik
  • Froggy Bakes a Cake by Jonathan London & Frank Remkiewicz
  • Olivia Helps with Christmas by Ian Falconer
  • One by Kathryn Otoshi
  • It's Mine! by Leo Lionni
  • Biscuit Goes to School by Alyssa Satin Capucilli & Pat Schories
  • The Dark by Lemony Snicket & Jon Klassen
  • Lexie the Word Wrangler by Rebecca Van Slyke & Jessie Hartland
  • Beautiful Bananas by Elizabeth Laird, Liz Pichon
  • Chalk by Bill Thomson
  • Scary Party by Sue Hendra
  • Wave by Suzy Lee
  • Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin & James Dean
  • What's Inside? Neighborhood by by DwellStudio
  • Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty & David Roberts

My Favorite Book Read in May: How to choose?! Radio Girls was so much fun to read and brought out the researcher in me. In many ways, I think it was my favorite. But Erdrich's LaRose was such a beautiful and touching story. For different reasons, I think of it as a favorite this past month too.

Mouse's Favorite Book Read in May: Mouse loved making up her own stories to the illustration-only books, Chalk and Wave, this month. Her favorite though was Lexie the Word Wrangler, which I think spoke to the reader and budding writer in her. We read the book multiple times during its two week visit with us from the library.

Non-Book Review Posts in May:

How did your May shape up reading wise? What was your favorite book you read in May?

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New To My Shelves:

June's My Lit Box arrived recently much to my excitement. May's theme was "Growing Pains" and was filled with a number of goodies, including a tote, magnet and two books.


 Sunday Sugar by Q. Gibson & It's Not Like It's a Secret by Misa Sugiura

I also purchased a couple of used copies of Nancy Holzner urban fantasy novels that caught my attention recently:



Deadtown Hellforged

I bought one e-book this past week:


 Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1) by Ann Leckie


Have you read any of these? What new books did you add to your shelves this week?

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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 Saturday 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 (unfortunately, not likely in the same month, but eventually--that's all I can promise).




For the next couple or so months you might notice a theme in my poll reading choices. While last month the theme was historical fiction, this month it is mysteries. In both cases, all books had the word "girl" or "girls" in the title.  I'm determined to work my way through all my girl-titled books! Which do you think I should read next? Thank you for voting!


Dead Girl Walking by Christopher Brookmyre ~ Journalist Jack Parlabane will do anything to rebuild his reputation and put the past behind him. Finding musician Heike Gunn may be his last chance. She's disappeared and everywhere Parlabane looks he finds more secrets and unanswered questions.



The Lost Girls of Rome by Donato Carrisi, Howard Curtis (translator) ~ A forensic analyst with the Rome police recently lost her husband. The authorities believe it was a suicide, but his wife isn't convinced. She begins her own investigation into his death, which leads her into dangerous territory, including a possible centuries-old secret society.



Girl in the Dark by Marion Pauw, Hester Velmans (translator) ~ A mother and lawyer is struggling to deal with issues with her own son, when she discovers she has a brother she never knew about. Digging for the truth, she discovers her brother is autistic and in a hospital for the criminally insane. He was accused of murdering a neighbor and her daughter. Could he really have committed the crime he is accused of? She isn't so sure.





I hope you all have a great weekend and upcoming week! Happy Reading!


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