Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Bookish Mewsings: Witch Way Librarian Mysteries (#1-3) by Angela M. Sanders

I scanned the passing countryside in vain for signs of life. ~ opening of Bait and Witch 

Bait and Witch
 (Witch Way Librarian Mysteries #1) by Angela M. Sanders

Kensington, 2020
Crime Fiction/Cozy/Paranormal; 336 pgs

Taking a job in a remote small town in Oregon seems like the best way to hide from those who may be looking to silence librarian Josie Way after she becomes a witness in a corruption scandal. Instead of the quiet safe life she was expecting, however, Josie finds herself in the middle of another crime investigation--one involving murder--when she stumbles across a body in the woods. As if that wasn't shocking enough, strange things begin to happen around Josie as she comes into unexpected magical abilities that had being laying dormant most of her life. 

Her new employer had not told her the library, housed in a Victorian mansion, was at risk of being torn down when she accepted the job. There is speculation the murder may be related, but no one knows for sure. Josie decides to use her newfound powers and connection to the books to solve the murder while at the same time try to save her new job and friends. 

This paranormal cozy mystery was a delight to read. There are plenty of secrets--and not so secret secrets--Josie finds herself looking into, which helps give the novel a stronger sense of place. At times, the murder investigation takes second seat to the saving of the library, but it did not detract me from the story. Author Angela M. Sanders pulled me right into the pages of the book, and I felt like I was walking among the Wilfred residents. Josie's backstory is a big part of this novel. The reader sees her discover her magical powers--and what book lover would not especially like that her magic centers around books?  Bait and Witch whet my appetite for reading more in the series and that's exactly what I did!

Still catching her breath, Mrs. Garlington plopped herself on a stool at the counter of Darla's Café ~ opening of Seven-Year Witch

Seven-Year Witch
 (Witch Way Librarian Mysteries #2) by Angela M. Sanders
Kensington, 2021
Crime Fiction/Cozy/Paranormal; 288 pgs

I did not wait long to jump into the second book of the Witch Way Librarian series featuring Josie Way. In Seven-Year Witch, Josie is still exploring her newfound magical abilities, learning from letters here grandmother had left behind for her, each letter a new lesson. The letters seem to correspond to real life events in Josie's life--and the latest letter is about curses. 

Plans to build a retreat center at an old mill site in town are underway, but there are rumors it is cursed. When the ex-wife of Sam Wilfred, a descendant of the town's founders, goes missing and the mill's project's architect is found dead, people start to wonder if the curse is more than a rumor. Sam is the number one suspect, but Josie doesn't believe he is involved. Josie puts her magic and logic to use to get to the bottom of what happened and save Sam's good name. 

My favorite cozies are ones with a paranormal element; add in a bookish setting and I'm in cozy mystery heaven. The way the books respond to Josie is one of the aspects that make this series so unique. I was transported back to Wilfred, Oregon and into the lives of Josie Way and her feline familiar, Rodney, in Seven-Year Witch. This novel takes us a little deeper into the history of Wilfred and also into Sam's complicated life. Josie has a good heart and will do anything to help her friends. The mystery is more center stage in this novel and the climax is quite suspenseful.

I dragged two wing chairs to the front of the New Release shelf. ~ opening of Witch and Famous 

Witch and Famous (Witch Way Librarian Mysteries #3) by Angela M. Sanders
Kensington, 2022 
Crime Fiction/Cozy/Paranormal; 304 pgs

Witch and Famous is the third book in the Witch Way Librarian cozy mystery series by Angela M. Sanders. Josie Way has settled into life in Wilfred, Oregon, living in an apartment above the library in an old Victorian House. Famous movie star Daphne Morris has come to town to interview one of Wilfred's very own novelists for her book club. She is very much a diva--spoiled and used to getting her way. 

When one of Daphne's entourage is murdered in a style much like the murder of a character in the romance novel being highlighted by the book club, the novelist (whose name I am purposefully withholding if you haven't yet read the first book) becomes the number one suspect. Could the intended victim really been Daphne though? She seems to have quite a few enemies who have reason to do her in. Getting to the bottom of the murder is at the top of Josie's to do list. With the help from the voices in her books and her feline familiar Rodney, Josie sets out to do just that. 

With a long list of suspects, Josie has her work cut out for her. The sheriff seems distracted and she is not sure how much she can rely on him for help. Josie ups her use of magic in this third installment of the series. She's growing more confidant in the use of her powers and, put together with her resourcefulness, there is not much she cannot do. I enjoyed getting to know more about the Wilfred townspeople. This installment was infused with humor and was a lot of fun to read. I can see this series becoming a favorite. 

© 2022, 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, December 06, 2022

Can't Wait to Read Wednesday: Bookclubbed to Death / The Lipstick Bureau / A Darker Shade of Magic

The New
Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by the marvelous Tressa at Wishful Endings to spotlight upcoming release we are excited about that we have yet to read.

Bookish cozies are among by favorites, and although I have yet to read the earlier books in the Mystery Bookshop series, it's definitely high up on my list of series I want to try. This one features a mystery writer protagonist which makes it sound all the more fun! 

Bookclubbed to Death
 (Mystery Bookshop #6) by V.M. Burns
(Kensington Books; December 27, 2022)
When the bookshop she owns becomes a crime scene, mystery writer Samantha Washington discovers there is such a thing as bad publicity . . .

After the local library in North Harbor, Michigan, is flooded in a storm, Sam offers her bookstore as a new venue for the Mystery Mavens Book Club. Unfortunately, she immediately runs afoul of the club leader, Delia Marshall, a book reviewer who can make or break careers—something Sam can ill afford with her debut historical mystery soon to be published.

But the next morning, Sam opens her shop to find the unpleasant woman dead on the floor, bashed with a heavy—apparently lethal—tome: the Complete Works of Agatha Christie. While Sam is busy writing her latest British historical mystery in which the queen mother is suspected in the murder of a London Times correspondent, a pair of ambitious cops suspect Sam of the real-life crime. When she gathers Nano Jo and their friends from the Shady Acres Retirement Village to review the case, they discover every one of the Mavens had a motive. With her novel about to hit the stores, Sam must find out who clubbed Delia before a judge throws the book at her . . .
[Goodreads Summary]

The Lipstick Bureau had me at "a scrappy team of artists, forgers and others." The character, Niki Novotná, is based on real life spy Barbara Lauwers and appeals to the historical fiction lover in me. 

The Lipstick Bureau
by Michelle Gable 
(Graydon House; December 27, 2022)
Inspired by a real-life female spy, a WWII-set novel about a woman challenging convention and boundaries to help win a war, no matter the cost.

1944, Rome. Newlywed Niki Novotná is recruited by a new American spy agency to establish a secret branch in Italy's capital. One of the OSS's few female operatives abroad and multilingual, she's tasked with crafting fake stories and distributing propaganda to lower the morale of enemy soldiers.

Despite limited resources, Niki and a scrappy team of artists, forgers and others—now nicknamed The Lipstick Bureau—find success, forming a bond amid the cobblestoned streets and storied villas of the newly liberated city. But her work is also a way to escape devastating truths about the family she left behind in Czechoslovakia and a future with her controlling American husband.

As the war drags on and the pressure intensifies, Niki begins to question the rules she's been instructed to follow, and a colleague unexpectedly captures her heart. But one step out of line, one mistake, could mean life or death… 
 [Goodreads Summary]

Does either of these books interest you? What upcoming releases are you looking forward to reading?

The Old(er) 
Carole of Carole's Random Life in Books has given me the perfect excuse to spotlight those unread books on my TBR in her Books from the Backlog feature, reminding me what great books I have waiting for me under my own roof still to read!

This was one of my TBR List poll choices in May that did not win. It caught my daughter's attention at the time and she got to it before me--and it ended up being one of her favorite books of the year. Yet more incentive to pick this one up and read it right now! 

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab (Tor Books, 2015)
Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see. It's a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive. [Goodreads Summary]


Have you read A Darker Shade of Magic?  Does this book sound like something you would like to read? 

© 2022, 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, December 05, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Mouse's Top Five Books Read This Year

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is a freebie! I could not come up with anything of my own so asked my daughter to share her favorite books so far this year. Here are Mouse's top five books of 2022: 

The Apothecary Diaries, Vol. 6 by Nekokurage, Natsu Hyuuga, Itsuki Nanao, Touco Shino

Keeper of the Lost Cities (#1) by Shannon Messenger

The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler, illustrated by Alexander Jansson

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab

The Golden Door (Three Doors #1) by Emily Rodda

As a bonus (and to round out the list to 10), I asked Mouse if she had any reading tips she would like to share. Here are her five tips: 
  1. Don't dogear the pages. 
  2. Don't listen to music while reading because it can be distracting, especially if someone is singing out loud next to you (Mouse swears she doesn't mean me, but, let's be honest, she probably means me).
  3. Try to read the book before you watch the movie to avoid spoilers.
  4. Be careful reading around cats. They  climb all over you and the book, and they hit you in the face with their tails repeatedly so you can't concentrate on actually reading. 
  5. Try not to read when you should be doing your homework or you will forget to do it. 

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

© 2022, 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, December 03, 2022

Weekly Mews: December Is Finally Here (Please Vote in My TBR Poll!)

I am linking up to the Sunday Post hosted by Kim of Caffeinated Book Reviewer and The Sunday Salon (TSS) hosted by Deb Nance of Readerbuzz  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. I am also linking It's Monday! What Are you Reading? hosted by Kathryn of Book Date where readers talk about what they have been, are and will be reading.

I am linking up Stacking the Shelves hosted by Marlene of Reading Reality a meme in which participants share what new books came their way recently.  

I hope your December has gotten off to a good start. I cannot believe the end of the year is nearly here.

We spent the day running errands--getting my car checked out, a stop at the bookstore so my daughter could get the next book in her favorite series (the last book had a cliffhanger and she couldn't wait to read the next), and then a stop at the Dollar Tree for a few items I needed. We dropped by the post office to see about picking up our mail since our community mailbox had been broken into (again), only to find out it must be fixed because the mail person had taken the mail with her on her route today. Fortunately, the packages I was expecting made it safely here. 

We may or may not put up the Christmas decorations tomorrow. Even though I have had Christmas music on the radio, most of my holiday gift shopping is done, and the annual cards are in the mail, I am not quite feeling in the spirit this year. 

What are you up to this weekend? 

Read Recently

It is so nice to read a series where an older woman not only comes into her magic later in life, but is also the only hope for saving the world. I most recently read and enjoyed the second and third books in the series, A Gathering of Crones and Game of Crones, by Lydia M. Hawke.

Reading Now

I am reading The Dark Archive (Invisible Library #7) by Genevieve Cogman at the moment. Someone is trying to assassinate Irene and her friends--there's the usual mix of magic, fae, werewolves, and dragons. This continues to be one of my favorite series. 

Up Next

I could use your help deciding which book to read next! Which of these three books do you think I should read next? 

The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks by Shauna Robinson
I, Maggie Banks, solemnly swear to uphold the rules of Cobblestone Books.

If only, I, Maggie Banks, believed in following the rules.

When Maggie Banks arrives in Bell River to run her best friend's struggling bookstore, she expects to sell bestsellers to her small-town clientele. But running a bookstore in a town with a famously bookish history isn't easy. Bell River's literary society insists on keeping the bookstore stuck in the past, and Maggie is banned from selling anything written this century. So, when a series of mishaps suddenly tip the bookstore toward ruin, Maggie will have to get creative to keep the shop afloat.

And in Maggie's world, book rules are made to be broken.

To help save the store, Maggie starts an underground book club, running a series of events celebrating the books readers actually love. But keeping the club quiet, selling forbidden books, and dodging the literary society is nearly impossible. Especially when Maggie unearths a town secret that could upend everything.

Maggie will have to decide what's more important: the books that formed a small town's history, or the stories poised to change it all. [Goodreads Summary]

High Spirits (A Haunted Haven Mystery #2) by Carol J. Perry
Set during the Christmas season, the latest novel in this exciting new supernatural cozy series from the author of the Witch City Mysteries features a New Englander transplanted to a Florida town along the scenic Gulf of Mexico when she inherits a charming, century-old—and very haunted—inn from a mysterious benefactor. Fans of Amanda Flower and Heather Blake will delight in murder, ghosts, and the heroine’s golden retriever, Finn.

Christmas lights on palm trees and Santa hats on plastic pink flamingoes are far from the snowy landscape Maureen and her beloved golden retriever, Finn, are used to. But Maureen is determined to make this a holiday to remember—which means finding a way to promote Haven House on a shoestring. Fortunately, Haven’s vintage movie theater, the Paramount, has come up with a great “Twelve Days of Christmas” idea. They’ll feature an impressive list of the best classic Christmas movies ever made—shown by one-time movie actor-turned-projectionist Decklin Monroe . . .

But nobody bothered to tell Maureen that the Paramount is haunted by the ghost of a man who was murdered a few years back. Haven’s top cop Frank Hubbard doesn’t believe in ghosts but, believing that Decklin Monroe was somehow involved, he wants a reluctant Maureen’s help.

That plan is derailed when, on the first day of the festival, a fresh murder victim is found at the theater. Now Maureen has to defend her staff and guests, while trying to keep her high-spirited resident ghosts out of the picture—before they have company for the holidays . . . [Goodreads Summary]

Mother Daughter Traitor Spy
 by Susan Elia MacNeal
A mother and daughter find the courage to go undercover after stumbling upon a Nazi cell in Los Angeles during the early days of World War II--a tantalizing novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the Maggie Hope series

June 1940. France has fallen to the Nazis, and Britain may be next--but to many Americans, the war is something happening "over there." Veronica Grace has just graduated from college; she and her mother, Violet, are looking for a fresh start in sunny Los Angeles. After a blunder cost her a prestigious career opportunity in New York, Veronica is relieved to take a typing job in L.A.--only to realize that she's working for one of the area's most vicious propagandists.

Overnight, Veronica is exposed to the dark underbelly of her new home, where German Nazis are recruiting Americans for their devastating campaign. After the FBI dismisses the Graces' concerns, Veronica and Violet decide to call on an old friend, who introduces them to L.A.'s anti-Nazi spymaster.

At once, the women go undercover to gather enough information about the California Reich to take to the authorities. But as the news of Pearl Harbor ripples through the United States, and President Roosevelt declares war, the Grace women realize that the plots they're investigating are far more sinister than they feared--and even a single misstep could cost them everything.

Inspired by the real mother-daughter spy duo who foiled Nazi plots in Los Angeles during WWII, Mother Daughter Traitor Spy is a powerful portrait of family, duty, and deception that raises timeless questions about America--and what it means to have courage in the face of terror. [Goodreads Summary]

Thank you for voting!

My TBR List is 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 let you vote for my next read during that month. My review will follow (unfortunately, not likely in the same month, but eventually--that's all I can promise). 

New to the Shelves

Mouse and I added more books to our bookshelves recently.  Let's take a look!

The Witch with No Name (The Hollows #13) by Kim Harrison
The Vibrant Years by Sonali Dev
An Impossible Return by Caroline Laurent

Mouse has added way more books to her bookshelves than I have in the last couple months. These are her additions: 

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Gracie Lin
The Promised Neverland, Vol. 4 by Kaiu Shirai, illustrations by Posuka Demizu
Map of Flames (Forgotten Five #1) by Lisa McMann
Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin
Lodestar (Keeper of the Lost Cities #5) by Shannon Messenger
Nightfall (Keeper of the Lost Cities #6) by Shannon Messenger
Flashback (Keeper of the Lost Cities #7) by Shannon Messenger
Demon Slayer, Vol. 2 by Koyoharu Gotouge, translated by Antonio Valdez

What new books made it onto your shelf recently? 

What I Have Been Watching

, the latest Star Wars series, was very good. I really hope Disney follows through with a second season like they plan to. My family and I started the Willow series this past weekend and like it so far. We are only two episodes in though so it's early yet to know for sure if it will live up to the original movie.

I was in the mood for the movie Notting Hill the other day, and it started me on a binge of romcoms (mostly holiday themed ones) while I addressed the holiday cards and got them ready to mail. Mouse and I also recently started watching Heartstoppers. I haven't read the graphic novels, but the show looked good--and it is!

What have you watched recently?

This Past Week In Reading Mews

I hope you have a great week and month of December! 
Let me know what you have been reading and watching!

© 2022, 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, November 30, 2022

Bookish Mewsings: Grave Reservations & Flight Risk by Cherie Priest

Leda Foley of Leda Foley's Far-Fletched Flights of Fancy cringed at her phone screen. ~ opening of Grave Reservations

Grave Reservations
 (The Booking Agents #1) by Cherie Priest
Atria, 2021 
Crime Fiction; 304 pgs

Business is not exactly booming for travel agent and inconsistent psychic Leda Foley who is trying to keep her business Foley's Flights of Fancy afloat, but she is managing the best she can. Seattle PD detective Grady Merritt isn't too thrilled when his travel agent changes his flight at the last minute, but it isn't long before he realizes she did it to save his life. As a last ditch effort to solve a cold case he is struggling with, he reaches out to Leda for help. The more Grady and Leda dig, there are signs that a mystery from Leda's past may be connected to Grady's cold case.

Leda, sometimes joined by her best friend Niki, can overwhelm Grady at times, but they make a good team when all is said and done. Leda is not very confident in her psychic abilities, but she is gung ho about helping Grady in his investigation. And if if helps her figure out what happened to her deceased fiancé, all the better.  Grady's more practical thoughtful approach balances out Leda's more impulsive one. Their methods and teaming up may be unconventional, but it makes for an entertaining mystery.

Some of my favorite moments took place at the nightclub Castaways where where Leda hones her psychic skills by performing karaoke, singing whatever song come to mind after she touches someone's personal item. While these scenes may not be directly related to the mystery, they offer more insight into Leda's character and that of her growing abilities. 

Author Cherie Priest mixes humor, the paranormal, and mystery in the first of a promising new series. I enjoyed the back and forth between the characters and the twists and turns of the mystery. Which is why I did not wait too long before jumping into the second book in the Booking Agents series, Flight Risk

The man in the red plaid shirt fought to get away. ~ opening of Flight Risk

Flight Risk (The Booking Agents #2) by Cherie Priest
Atria, 2022
Crime Fiction; 304 pgs

Since her success in helping to solve a murder case in Grave Reservations, people have reached out to Leda to find their missing objects and pets, but now she's being asked to find a missing person. The missing woman's brother is desperate to find her. Leda warns her client her psychic abilities are inconsistent and do not always lead to results, but they both agree she will give it a try. 

Meanwhile, detective Grady and his teenage daughter come across an unexpected discovery while searching for their runaway dog, Cairo, in Mount Rainier National Park. They find him, alright--carrying a detached human leg in his mouth. Through some luck, a DNA match comes back fairly quickly, and Grady has a lead. Although, nothing proves to be quite that easy. Where is the rest of the body? And what exactly happened? 

It's a given Leda and Grady's cases must be related somehow--but I will keep mum to avoid spoilers. Leda and Grady team up to work with each other, along with the occasional help of Leda's bestfriend, Niki. Leda's psychic hunches and Grady's policework can hopefully lead them to the answers they are looking for.

Leda and Grady make a very unusual team--a generation of differences which stand out more in this novel than the last, but those differences work to their advantage more often than not. I admit there were a couple of times I cringed on Grady's behalf when Leda and Niki overstepped the bounds of the investigation--but that could be more because I relate slightly more to Grady as a character. Leda is a great character in her own right though, and I am always rooting for her. 

Like in the last book, Leda's Klairvoyant Karaoke performances were among my favorite moments--I cannot help but wish I could take part in one of her shows! This second book in the series was as funny as the first, the mystery even more tangled (in a good way) and an overall enjoyable read. 

© 2022, 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.