Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Wishing for Wednesday: Witches & A Childhood Mystery Come to Light



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. 

Fantasy and mystery are two of my favorite genres to read. Then is it any surprise these would catch my attention?


Keeper by Kim Chance (277 pgs)
Release Date: January 30, 2018 by Flux
When a 200-year-old witch attacks her, sixteen-year-old bookworm Lainey Styles is determined to find a logical explanation. Even with the impossible staring her in the face, Lainey refuses to believe it—until she finds a photograph linking the witch to her dead mother.

After consulting a psychic, Lainey discovers that she, like her mother, is a Keeper: a witch with the exclusive ability to unlock and wield the Grimoire, a dangerous but powerful spell book. But there’s a problem. The Grimoire has been stolen by a malevolent warlock who is desperate for a spell locked inside it—a spell that would allow him to siphon away the world’s magic.

With the help of her comic-book-loving best friend and an enigmatic but admittedly handsome street fighter, Lainey must leave her life of college prep and studying behind to prepare for the biggest test of all: stealing back the book.
[Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read it: A bookworm and a witch? That alone caught my attention and makes me want to read this one.

*

A Whisper of Bones by Ellen Hart (352 pgs)
Release Date: January 30, 2018 by Minotaur Books
Fans of Jane Lawless new and old will be fascinated by newly minted Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Ellen Hart's latest intricate puzzle in A Whisper of Bones.

Britt Ickles doesn't remember much from her only visit to her mother's childhood home when she was a kid, except for playing with her cousin Timmy and the eruption of a sudden family feud. That's why, when she drops by unannounced after years of silence, she's shocked when her aunts tell her Timmy never existed, that she must be confusing him with someone else. But Britt can't shake the feeling that Timmy did exist...and that something horrible has happened to him. Something her aunts want to cover up.

Britt hires Jane Lawless, hoping the private investigator can figure out what really happened to her cousin. When a fire in the family's garage leads to the discovery of buried bones and one of the aunts dies suddenly and suspiciously, Jane can't help but be pulled into the case. Do the bones belong to Timmy? Was the aunt's death an accident, suicide, or homicide? What dark secret has this family been hiding for decades? It all depends on Jane Lawless to unravel.
[Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read it: I believe this is the 25th book in the series, would should be enough to make me have second thoughts about this one, but the premise fascinates me.


Do either of these sound like something you would like to read too?


© 2018, 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, January 21, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: These Violent Delights by Victoria Namkung

"What is the point of a high school reunion when you can already see who got fat and bald on Facebook?" ~ Opening of These Violent Delights


These Violent Delights by Victoria Namkung 
Griffith Moon, 2017
Fiction; 243 pgs
Source: I purchased a copy of this book for my own reading pleasure.
Goodreads Summary: 
At Windemere School for Girls, one of America’s elite private schools, Dr. Gregory Copeland is the beloved chair of the English Department. A married father with a penchant for romantic poetry—and impressionable teenage girls—he operates in plain sight for years, until one of his former students goes public with allegations of inappropriate conduct. With the help of an investigative journalist, and two additional Windemere alumnae who had relationships with Copeland as students, the unlikely quartet unites to take him down. 
Set in modern-day Los Angeles, These Violent Delights is a literary exploration of the unyielding pressures and vulnerabilities that so many women and girls experience, and analyzes the ways in which our institutions and families fail to protect or defend us. A suspenseful and nuanced story told from multiple points of view, the novel examines themes of sexuality, trauma, revenge, and the American myth of liberty and justice for all.

 I was excited when I received Victoria Namkung’s These Violent Delights in the most recent My Lit Box. I hadn’t heard of the author or book before, but I was immediately curious about this book described as being straight from the headlines. Just about every time I tune into the news, there is another story about sexual assault or sexual harassment. I had high expectations going into Namkung’s book, especially given how much I have loved and enjoyed my other My Lit Box selections.

An intern with a Los Angeles newspaper comes forward with a story of her own, opening a can of worms at a prestigious girls’ school, Windemere. Her disclosure leads to other disclosures, revealing just how deep the cover up and how long a well-respected teacher and chair of the English Department had been targeting teen girls, luring them into sexual relationships. Told from multiple viewpoints, Namkung’s novel gives voice to three of his victims as well as the news journalist covering the story.

I think books like this are important for many reasons, including bringing to light the trauma and impact sexual harassment or assault can have on a person. This isn’t something that just happens and you can get over it. It affects a person’s self-view and their relationships. Everyone has different coping mechanisms—some turn to drugs and alcohol, promiscuity, or even religion. Some are better able to deal with the guilt and shame that often follows being victimized. If the victims are lucky, the perpetrator is punished for his or her crime, but unfortunately the victim also suffers, often for a lifetime. Namkung doesn’t hold back in describing the backlash the women face for coming forward. The hate, threats and shaming, the blaming of the victims and the overall support for the perpetrator. I liked the example reporter Jane offers her coworker who questions why the victims waited so long to speak up. If someone has her cell phone stolen, we all feel bad for her. Our first instinct isn’t the blame her, but to blame the thief. Too often in sexual harassment and assault cases, the victims are the first to be blamed. Whether it be what they were wearing, something they said—or didn’t say—what they’d had to drink, and so on. They must have asked for it.  Or they are lying to get money, fame or revenge. The question should not be why victims do not come forward or take so long, given our societal treatment and reaction to victims of sexual crimes, but why they do at all? It takes great courage to speak out, especially given social and news media today.

I really wanted to like this book more than I did. I think the women’s stories are all realistic and relateable. From Sasha to Eva, Caryn and even Jane. I liked that Namkung takes the reader through the “process”—from disclosure to the fallout and the investigation and through to the trial. The anger and sadness, the pain and doubt . . . All of it is very present in this novel and for good reason. She also touches on cultural issues through the voices of her characters. Eva, a Latina, and Caryn, a Korean American, as well as economic ones. Sexual assault does not have a set demographic. It crosses over every line. How families and communities deal with it, however, can differ depending on culture and economics.

My issues with the novel has more to do with the writing. It is clear the novel is well–researched. However, it felt like the author had a list of talking points she wanted to include, and so some of the conversations between the characters seemed forced, especially in the beginning. I also never quite felt the emotional connection to any of the characters I would have hoped to feel, especially given the type of novel it was. I would liked have had a little more depth--more showing instead of telling, if you will. Even with this though, I had a hard time putting These Violent Delights down when I had to.

I think These Violent Delights covers important ground, and I appreciated the insight and research the author put into it. It was  compelling read, and I am glad I read it. While this book did not live up to my expectations, I know that several others have loved it. Maybe you will too.

To learn more about Victoria Namkung and her books, please visit the author's website. You can also find the author on GoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter.


© 2018, 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, January 20, 2018

Weekly Mews: Longing for My Cozy Warm Bed

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.

The Christmas tree is finally down. My house has returned to some semblance of normal. We got a little rain yesterday, which was nice. I hope it rains more today, but the sunshine peeking in the windows seems to indicate otherwise.

This past week was a tough one at work--busy too. It was the kind of week I come home each day and give my family extra hugs and am grateful for what I have. Mouse is settled back into school. She has decided she wants to try out for The Wizard of Oz musical. Auditions are still a month out, but it will be here soon enough.

What I Am Reading: I finished my January TBR List winner, Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr this week, staying up past my bedtime one night to finish it. Thanks again to all who voted in my poll! I am so tempted to spend the $3.99 for the next book in the series . . .

 I used the time I was waiting in my car to pick up my daughter from school on Friday and then while she was in dance class to read Q. Gibson's poetry collection, Sunday Sugar. I cannot wait to tell you about it!

I also got in a little War and Peace  (in which I am a bit behind) and Les Misérables (in which I am a couple chapters ahead). I admit to being a little worried reading both at the same time will get confusing, but so far it hasn't happened. Les Misérables is proving to be a much easier read. Although I am not struggling as much with War and Peace as I had in the past. It could be because I have read this portion of the book several times before so it is familiar to me. I like to think though that I am just in a better place to read it this time around.

Next up will be Karen E. Olson's Vanished.  The cliffhanger at the end of Betrayed has me dying to know what happened next.

What I Am Watching: Mouse mentioned on Friday that one of the kids at school told her she looked like Pippi Longstocking. I do not see it, but maybe it was her outfit that day. Mouse definitely has her own sense of style, as often six year olds do. But even that would be a stretch. We have since watched the 1961 version of Pippi Longstocking on Amazon Prime, and Mouse is officially a fan. I wish I could find the version I watched growing up. I think she would enjoy that too. I look forward to introducing her to books now (plus they count towards the Classics Club!). Mouse is also into the old Popeye cartoons. Were they always this bad?! Popeye was not a nice guy . . .

I continue to work my way through the 12th season of Supernatural. This season seems a bit lighter in some ways than past seasons (if that's possible).  I haven't been watching The Good Place because my husband hasn't been available to watch it with me. One of these days.

What I Am Worried About: My mom. Evidently the doctor's initial assessment that they had gotten all the cancer out during the first surgery was a premature. The second surgery revealed they hadn't gotten it all. This coming Friday she will be having a  third surgery to hopefully get the remaining cancerous cells out. The prognosis is still very good, but you can imagine how worried I am, and what this must be doing to my mom. I hate that I cannot be with her right now. She's 442 miles away, and I am not in a position where I can drop everything and be with her. It's weighing heavily on my heart. My brother and his wife are much closer, but it's just not the same. Thank you to all of you who have been praying for her and sending good well wishes. Please keep them coming.

What I Am Grateful For:  My cozy warm bed, my husband's macaroni and cheese and Mouse's big hug when I pick her up after work.

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?


© 2018, 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, January 18, 2018

Where Is Your Bookmark? (A Peek into Wicked Lovely)

I am about to enter the final climactic chapter of Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely, and so am in a bit of a rush to put this post together and publish it tonight (please don't let there be a cliffhanger!). I expect to finish the book before I drift off to sleep tonight. That is the plan anyway. We'll see if my eyes cooperate. 

Wicked Lovely is this month's TBR List poll winner, so many of you may already know what it is about. Just in case: 

Rule #3: Don't stare at invisible faeries. Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty - especially if they learn of her Sight - and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens. 
Rule #2: Don't speak to invisible faeries. Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer. 
Rule #1: Don't ever attract their attention. But it's too late. Keenan is the Summer King, who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost — regardless of her plans or desires. 
Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything. 
Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr's stunning twenty-first-century faery tale. [Goodreads Summary]

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 Summer King knelt before her. "Is this what you freely choose, to risk winter's chill?"

My thoughts: This is the opening of the prologue, starting with a scene in the past that will set the stage for what is to come. With that opening question, I wanted to know too--what would the answer be?


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

She clenched her hands so tightly that icicles formed on the tips of her fingernails. Now comes the hard part.  [56%]


My thoughts: I am well past this point now, and while this is just a couple sentences from the scene--and not even the part that really reveals anything--it is one of the more telling scenes in the novel. I like the image this particular tidbit forms in my mind though, and couldn't resist sharing.


What do you think? Does this sound like something you would be interested in reading? 


© 2018, 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, January 17, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: Shadowed by Karen E. Olson

He is looking for me. ~ Opening of Shadowed




Shadowed (Black Hat Thriller #2) by Karen E. Olson
Severn House, 2016
Crime Fiction (Thriller); 224 pgs
Source: I purchased a copy for my own reading pleasure.

I nearly read the first book in the Black Hat series in one sitting and I came close to doing so with this one too (darn life interruptions). Shadowed is the second book in Karen E. Olson’s series featuring hacker Nicole Jones. Nicole has made a new life for herself in Quebec, Canada, on a remote island, making her living painting. She goes by the name Susan McQueen. Once she had been able to stay away from the computer, but now the pull is just too strong. When Nicole clicks on a link, thinking it was sent by her old friend Tracker, she immediately realizes her mistake. Her laptop now has a shadow, and someone is able to access all of her files and search history—and see everything she’s doing. The situation escalates very quickly as the shadow demands ransom and soon it is a game of cat and mouse as Nicole must go on the run again to save herself. She is determined to find out who her stalker is and stop whoever it is.

I loved Hidden, and I really enjoyed Shadowed as well. Nicole is such an interesting character, not your typical image of a hacker—older and a woman to boot. She’s used to living on her own, having to make something out nothing. In Shadowed, the reader learns a little more about her past, including  a little about her relationship with her father. And also Tracker, a man she only knows through the computer, who she counts as her friend and only hope of getting out of her current situation. Only, now she even has doubts about him.

I have visited Quebec in books before, but never quite like I did in this one. Luck and tenacity seem to be on Nicole’s side as she evades law enforcement and the person(s) out to get her. Although, I am sure she wouldn’t agree given all the obstacles that came her way. She’s already lost so much, and longs to settle down somewhere and stop running. I found myself holding my breath a few times, not sure how Nicole would get out of the predicaments she found herself in.

Shadowed had me hooked from the start and I cannot wait to dive into the next two books in the series, Betrayed and Vanished. The Black Hat series has become one of my must read series.


To learn more about Karen E. Olson and her books, please visit the author's website. You can also find the author on GoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter.


© 2018, 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, January 16, 2018

Wishing for Wednesday: Secrets & Betrayal



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. 

This week two thrillers have caught my attention . . . 


The Wife by Alafair Burke (352 pgs)
Release Date: January 23, 2018 by Harper
When Angela met Jason Powell while catering a dinner party in East Hampton, she assumed their romance would be a short-lived fling, like so many relationships between locals and summer visitors. To her surprise, Jason, a brilliant economics professor at NYU, had other plans, and they married the following summer. For Angela, the marriage turned out to be a chance to reboot her life. She and her son were finally able to move out of her mother’s home to Manhattan, where no one knew about her tragic past. 
Six years later, thanks to a bestselling book and a growing media career, Jason has become a cultural lightning rod, placing Angela near the spotlight she worked so carefully to avoid. When a college intern makes an accusation against Jason, and another woman, Kerry Lynch, comes forward with an even more troubling allegation, their perfect life begins to unravel. Jason insists he is innocent, and Angela believes him. But when Kerry disappears, Angela is forced to take a closer look at the man she married. And when she is asked to defend Jason in court, she realizes that her loyalty to her husband could unearth old secrets. 
This much-anticipated follow-up to Burke’s Edgar-nominated The Ex asks how far a wife will go to protect the man she loves: Will she stand by his side, even if he drags her down with him?  [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read it: Alfair Burke's name is enough to make me want to read this one. While the premise doesn't sound entirely new, I know to expect a great story and lots of suspense when reading something by Burke.

*

The Burial Society by Nina Sadowsky (352 pgs)
Release Date: January 30, 2018 by Ballantine

A woman running from a dark past stumbles upon a tangled nest of seductions and family secrets in this psychological thriller of obsession and betrayal. 
When Natalie discovers her father dead in a luxury hotel room in Paris, she's terrified that his death--or is it a murder?--will open up a history she'd rather forget. Years before, her mother went missing from their home in a wealthy Connecticut suburb, triggering a chain of violence that echoed through the years. Now Natalie is set on a collision course with her brother, who has secrets of his own. And watching from the shadows is a mysterious and alluring woman with a talent for making people in trouble disappear, who holds more answers than anyone would guess. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read it: I admit the cover of this one caught my eye, and I cannot resist a story involving secrets.


Do either of these sound like something you would like to read too?


© 2018, 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, January 15, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top 10 Bookish Goals for 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely Jana at The Artsy Reader Girl.

I tend to be loose with any bookish goals I set because I do not want my reading or blogging to become too much of a chore. It is something I do for myself. Still, there is something to be said for taking on challenges and setting goals even in the lighter sense. I talked about some of my bookish goals in my 2017: A Year in Review post, including a few of the reading challenges I am taking part in this year. You may recognize some in today's Top Ten Tuesday: my Top Ten Bookish Goals for 2018. As it is early in the year still, I am feeling rather optimistic. Check back with me at the end of the year to see how I did!

1. Read more Classics ~ I joined the  the Classics Club last year and have barely made a dent in the 50 Classics I committed to read over the next five years. 

2. Read Les Misérables by Victor Hugo ~ Along with my goal to read more Classics, I am hoping to knock out this one before the end of the year. I am taking part in a year long Les Misérables Read-Along, reading a chapter a day. 

3. Read War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy ~ I am also working my way through War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy this year along with the Goodreads group, The Lit Collective. This will be my third or fourth attempt; so fingers crossed!

4. Catch up with my NetGalley/Edelweiss reading ~ Seriously. This should be my number one goal. 

5. Read more of my older TBR books ~ In direct competition with #4, I would like to work my way through some of my existing TBR books. 

6. Catch up on at least two favorite series ~ I'm leaving it open, but Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone series is at the top of my list.

7. Increase the number of audio books I listen to ~ I got to eight this past year. I think I can improve on that, don't you? 

8. Read more chapter books with my daughter ~ I also want to explore with her different genres to find out which ones she likes best.

9. Read more poetry ~ I would like to not only read more poetry this year, but also have a monthly or bi-monthly feature in which I either review a poetry collection I have read, share a poem, a guest post or an interview.  (If you are interested in writing a guest post, please let me know!)

10. Reading Challenges ~ I want to complete the reading challenges I signed up for to my satisfaction.

Do you have any reading goals for this year? What are they?


© 2018, 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, January 14, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo (Audio)

You do not enter a race to lose. ~ Opening of Wonder Woman: Warbringer




Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1) by Leigh Bardugo, narrated by Mozhan Marno
Random House, 2017
Fantasy (YA); 376 pgs (12hrs)
Source: I purchased a copy for my listening pleasure.

High on the thrill of the recent Wonder Woman movie, I was interested in giving Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer a try. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, although I knew Bardugo was an author I had been wanting to read for a while. Wonder Woman and I go way back to the days of Linda Carter, when she magically changed into her blue, red and white costume as she twirled around to sound effects and music. In the TV series set during World War II, she battled Nazis and other especially evil bad guys. I had been skeptical about the 2017 movie, but I ended up loving it. Gal Gadot was perfect as Wonder Woman. Would Bardugo’s version of Wonder Woman and her backstory measure up? I had to find out.

Mozhan Marno, an actress on the Blacklist television show, narrates the audio version of Wonder Woman: Warbringer. I thought she did a good job of pulling me into the story and making me feel like I was a part of the characters’ lives.

I liked that Bardugo is able to get across just how different Diana is not only from mortals but also from the Amazons. She did not come to the island the same way as the other women did, dying a heroic death. Diana, a teenager, longs to prove to the Amazons she belongs and to find her place among them. When a ship wreck leads to her saving a teenage girl, Diana risks exile if she’s discovered. It soon becomes clear that the mortal girl’s presence on the island is detrimental to the Amazons, and Diana must make a choice.

Bardugo takes an iconic character and creates her own Wonder Woman story tied to legends and myths of old. Alia, the mortal girl, is being hunted by those who think she is a catalyst of war. I especially liked Alia’s backstory—or the backstory of who and what she is, to be more exact. I found it all very intriguing.

I found the book slow in spots, particularly when Diana first sets foot in New York. Her fascination with everything and everyone she encounters is interesting enough, but it dragged on a bit too long. Once Diana, Alia and friends are at the ball, however, the book picked back up for me. There was a definite YA feel to the novel (which, it is—so no surprise there), and the expected action sequences, shows of strength, a hint of romance and coming into one’s own for both Alia and Diana. There were expected and unexpected twists. Overall I enjoyed Women Woman: Warbringer, although it didn’t quite live up the hype surrounding it.


To learn more about author Leigh Bardugo and her work, please visit the author's website

To learn more about narrator Mozhan Marno and her work, please visit her on Twitter


© 2018, 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, January 13, 2018

Weekly Mews: January TBR Winner!

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.


What I Am Reading: Today was the start of the second phase of the #COYER Winter Switch Challenge and for me that means that List portion of the challenge. I am really excited about my reading options. I plan to start my TBR List winner this weekend, which just so happens to be on the list. I finished a couple of crime fiction novels in the nick of time for the first phase of the challenge: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn and Claws for Concern by Miranda James. At the moment though, I am playing catch up for my year long read-along of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables. I am not too far behind, but got side tracked this week and skipped a few of my daily readings.

What I Am Watching: I watched the latest episode of The Brave this past week and am catching up on season 12 of Supernatural. We did get to see Coco last weekend as planned, and we all loved it. Have you seen it? It's a sweet movie--a bit sad. Mouse is already talking about wanting to get it on Blu-Ray when it comes out.

Off the Blog: Life is beginning to return to normal now that the holidays are finally behind us and the last of our company has returned home. This weekend we hope to finally get the Christmas decorations put away.

We got a good amount of rain the first of the week. I can see snow on some of mountains in the distance finally. Unfortunately for some, the recent storms proved fatal in recent fire zones due to mudslides. My area only got very wet, with some minor street flooding.

Mouse has two loose teeth, and she's quite thrilled about it--her first two. We were talking about the tooth fairy the other night, and she told me she wants to keep the first tooth she loses even if it means the tooth fairy does not leave her behind anything. She said the tooth fairy can have the second tooth.

My mother's second surgery went well, thankfully. Hopefully her recovery will be as quick and smooth as it was this past December. Thank you for all your prayers and good thoughts!

What I Am Grateful For:  Tea parties with my daughter, quiet reading lunches, and hugs from my family.

Our recent indulgence from Great Shakes

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?


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 all who voted in this month's TBR List poll. The results come in at the perfect time too, on the heels of my finishing two crime fiction novels I had been reading. The winner was pretty clear from the beginning if the comments were to be believed, and it held true right to the end. His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik received 3 votes (10.3%) and Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews got 10 votes (34.5%). The winner, Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr, won with 16 votes (55.2%). Wicked Lovely has been on my TBR shelf for quite a while now, and I am looking forward to reading it!



Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely, #1) by Melissa Marr
Rule #3: Don't stare at invisible faeries. Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty - especially if they learn of her Sight - and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens. 
Rule #2: Don't speak to invisible faeries. Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer. 
Rule #1: Don't ever attract their attention. But it's too late. Keenan is the Summer King, who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost — regardless of her plans or desires. 
Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything. 
Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr's stunning twenty-first-century faery tale. [Goodreads Summary]

Thank you for voting! I hope you all have a wonderful week and Happy Reading!




© 2018, 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, January 11, 2018

Where Is Your Bookmark? (The Woman in the Window and Best & Worst of 2017)

I am in the middle of reading The Woman in the Window, as I race to finish it for the final day of the Strict portion of the COYER Winter Switch challenge. I think I will make it. It seems to have a lot of positive buzz around it, and I have to admit I am enjoying it quite a bit. It has  Girl on the Train sort of feel, but is different enough to make it something else entirely.


What did she see? It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside.

Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers.

But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself? [Goodreads Summary]


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.

Her husband's almost home. He'll catch her this time.


My thoughts: What will he catch her doing? Who is he? Who is she? All of these questions came to mind when I read the opening paragraph. I was hooked immediately.



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 too am a PhD. I too can be ruthlessly logical. 
Next move.  [56%]


My thoughts: Sounds like the ante has just been upped. Game on.


What do you think? Does this sound like something you would be interested in reading? 

*

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


This week's topic is Best/Worst Book Read in 2017

Five books earned my top rating last year and to choose a favorite of those five would be torture impossible. How do I choose between them?! I was able to narrow it down to three, which was tough enough, but I just cannot bare to pick one top favorite. All three of these books moved me immensely when I read them. You can read my reasons why in my 2017: Year in Review post.

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Of all the books I read last year, my least favorite was A Brave New World. I even rated the David Sedaris book, Holidays on Ice,  half a point higher, and I did not care for that one either. I listened to the audio version of Aldous Huxley's novel, narrated by Michael York, after being unable to read a print copy despite multiple efforts. At least this time I finished it.


What was your best and worst book read in 2017?


© 2018, 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, January 10, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley

I had not been long at my post in Mount Street, Mayfair, when my employer's sister came to some calamity. ~ Opening of Death Below Stairs



Death Below Stairs (Kat Holloway Mysteries #1) by Jennifer Ashley
Berkley Books, 2018
Crime Fiction/Historical; 336 pgs
Source: I received an e-copy from the Publisher for an honest review via NetGalley


You know how sometimes you know you will just love a book even before you start it? It was that way for me with Jennifer Ashley’s Death Below Stairs, the first in the Kat Holloway series. Fortunately, it did not disappoint. I loved Kat Holloway right from the start, a young cook, who takes her job very seriously. She is assigned to a new household and hopes to stay for a while. Only a master who doesn’t respect boundaries and the murder of her assistant cook, have her doubting that will happen. There was so much to like about this Victorian mystery: mystery and intrigue, a budding romance, and interesting characters. The more I got to know Kat, who is mysterious in her own way, keeping her secrets close to her vest, the more I liked and respected her. And I adored Daniel McAdam, the man who seemed to be able to do just about anything. He is the biggest mystery of all—a man of all trades, able to play the role of working class or gentleman. Even Kat, who he seems to fancy, doesn’t know what to make of him. Somehow she trusts him though, despite her reservations. It is he she turns to when she discovers the murder victim in the food pantry, and it is he she leans on when she needs the support of a friend.

Another character I quite liked was Lady Cynthia, the sister-in-law of the master of the house. She is unconventional in every way, preferring to wear trousers over dresses, and sneaking into men’s clubs with her friends. She proves to be more than just a rebellious socialite.

I was expecting a straightforward historical murder mystery, but I got so much more. Who exactly killed Sinead, no one knows, but there are plenty of theories. Did it have something to do with the recent terrorist attacks in the country or was it a case of blackmail gone wrong? Kat figures she is in the best position to find out along with Daniel’s help. The novel ended up going in a direction I hadn’t expected—and which could have thrown the book off the rails—but it didn’t. I loved it all.

It almost felt like there was an entire novel before this one, given the history between Kat and Daniel. Kat has quite the backstory, and I was just as intrigued with that as I was with the main story line. Both Kat and Daniel are single parents, and I was touched by their stories and their relationships with their children. I understand there is a short story in which the author, Jennifer Ashley, first introduced Kat. I am eager to get my hands on it. I look forward to reading more in this series to see what Kat and Daniel get up to next.​

To learn more about Jennifer Ashley and her books, please visit the author's website. You can also find the author on GoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter.


© 2018, 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, January 08, 2018

Tuesday Favorites: Ten Books I Meant To Read In 2017 But Didn't Get To

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

This week's  Top Ten Tuesday is Ten Books I Meant To Read In 2017 But Didn't Get To (and totally plan to get to in 2018! At least that's the plan.).

1.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden ~ How have I not read this magical tale yet? I have been wanting to read this since I first heard about it and the second book in the trilogy is already out--yet here I sit, still having not read it. 

2. 

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman ~ I adored A Man Called Ove and have wanted to read more by Fredrik Backman since reading it. I enjoyed his My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry as well. Don't you think it's time. I have Beartown on my shelf to read too . . . 

3. 

Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop ~ I have no good excuse for not yet having read the 4th book in one of my favorite fantasy series. I have to get to it this year. And the 5th book, Etched in Bone.

4. 

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco ~ I love books about witches, and if the beautiful cover wasn't enough to make me want to read this one, the content would. I had hoped to get to it this past year, but did not work out. This would be a shoe in for the 2018 Witches and Witchcraft Reading Challenge I am participating in this year.

 5.

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande ~ This book comes highly recommended by many of you. I have never shied away from the topic of growing old (even though I don't like revealing my age) or dying. They are facts of life. As I watch my mother grow older and remembering all my father went through, I can't help but want to read this book. It was a Christmas gift the year before last, and my reading it is long overdue.

6.

The House Without Windows by Nadia Hashimi ~ Nadia Hashimi writes such emotionally-charged and socially relevant books. I have been wanting to read this one since I first heard about.

7.

A Wrinkle In Time Madeline L’Engle (reread) ~ A childhood favorite of both mine and my husband's. The story of a girl and her brother who set off with a friend to rescue their father who has slipped into another dimension in time.

8.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng ~ What sounds like will be an emotional read, this one is a story about family, secrets and loss. I have wanted to read this book since I first heard about it, and bought a copy with every intention of reading it this past year. This is the year!

9.

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Nueval ~ I gave a copy of this one to my brother-in-law for Christmas, with every intention of having read it myself before doing so. It didn't happen, unfortunately. Hopefully I didn't steer him wrong!

10.

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 . . .

Have you read any of these books? Which do you think I should dive into first? Which books did you want to read in 2017, but haven't yet gotten to?


© 2018, 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, January 07, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams

Ella visited the laundry room for the first time at half past six on the Saturday morning at the beginning of March. ~ Opening of The Wicked City



Wicked City by Beatriz Williams
William Morrow, 2017
Fiction (Historical); 366 pgs

I have a couple of Beatriz Williams books in my TBR collection, and when I saw the tour for The Wicked City come up a few months ago, I decided to use it as an excuse to finally give her work a try. I have always enjoyed historical fiction, but seem to be reading it more and more in the last few years. This one particularly appealed to be because of the setting: New York during the Prohibition.

I enjoy dual timeline novels featuring a contemporary story as well as a historical one. The historical stories often draw me in the most, and it was no different with The Wicked City. I did find the contemporary story line—set about a decade ago—compelling as well. Ella is renting a studio apartment in The Village, having just left her cheating husband. The building in which she lives is an old one with quite a bit of character. Sometimes at night one can hear jazz music playing, which Ella convinces herself is her neighbor, Hector, a musician and carpenter, but even that explanation doesn’t quite seem to fit. Back in the 1920’s during Prohibition, the building next door housed a speakeasy which Ginger Kelly frequented. Ginger Kelly had left home to strike out on her own at a young age, wanting to escape her stepfather. As the novel unfolds, the reader gets a closer look into Ginger Kelly’s life. Gin has not had it easy, but she makes the most of what she does have. One night, after being arrested, a bureau man offers her a deal. Agent Anson is after a big fish and he believes Ginger can help him catch his prey.

Gin is such a fun character. She’s got charisma and grit. She lives her life pretty loose, but it is obvious she is smart and resourceful. Initially when her character was introduced, it took me a moment to settle into Gin’s narrative. She had the vernacular of the 1920’s and I wanted to get the voice just right in my mind as I read. Gin is pretty street-wise and not one to take anything sitting down even when the odds are against her. I loved that about her. Her more modern counterpart, Ella, is less sure of herself, but should not be counted out. Her story definitely takes second stage to Gin’s, but I found myself just as interested in Ella as Gin, wanting to know what she would decide about her marriage and how everything would play out. In many ways, Gin’s story seemed more complete than Ella’s by the end of the book. I still have questions regarding Gin, but so much more was left in the air with Ella. One of my favorite scenes in the novel is when Ella confronts her husband, Patrick. It was a beautiful moment in which Ella finally lets out some of that anger she has been bottling up. I am also very curious about her job as a forensic accountant—I can see why she loves it. While numbers are not really my thing, I do like solving puzzles, not to mention a good mystery, and it sounds like her job can hold a lot of that.

The apartment building on Christopher Street is a bit of a character itself. I liked the way the author describes the building in the contemporary timeline—the reader gets the sense of the importance of its history, which, of course, we see some of in the historical story line. Hector is very much a part of the building. He’s a kind and observant man, not to mention easy of the eyes from the sounds of it. He seems like the kind of person one his friends can rely on and trust with their life.

I had little idea what to expect in this novel, and it was always surprising me. There’s a bit of a love triangle, some action, and a lot of intrigue. I understand this is going to be the first in a series, which I am a little relieved about given some threads of the story were left loose just enough to have me wishing I knew what had happened after I reached the end. That isn’t to say the novel has a cliffhanger ending—it doesn’t really and can be read as a stand alone. I thoroughly enjoyed The Wicked City and my time spent with both Gin and Ella. I really like Beatriz Williams writing style, and I always enjoy seeing how an author will bring her dual timelines together. I will definitely be reading more by Beatriz Williams in the near future.




Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Links: websiteFacebookTwitter, and Instagram


I hope you will check out what others had to say about The Wicked City on the TLC Book Tours route!


Many thanks to the TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour.  Review copy provided by publisher for an honest review.





© 2018, 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.