Sunday, November 22, 2020

Bookish Mewsings: Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis & In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

I was ready; so ready for him to ask me. 
~ Opening of Dear Emmie Blue

Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis
Atria/Emily Bestler, 2020
Fiction/Romance; 320 pgs
Source: NetGalley for an honest review.

I have to say I loved Dear Emmie Blue from the moment I began reading straight to the end. This sweet romance was so much more than I expected--and a bit unexpected to boot. The novel opens with Emmie Blue sick in the bathroom of a restaurant having just learned that the crush of her life is engaged to someone else. And will she be the best woman? Of course, she will, but will it rip her heart out in the process? Sound a bit like My Best Friend's Wedding? Well, it's not. 

When Emmie was sixteen she was feeling lost and alone when she released that balloon with a message into the sky over England. Little did she know, it would be caught by a boy her age in France. The two became fast friends, sharing their hopes and dreams and worst fears. Fourteen years of friendship, and the two are the best of friends.

Emmie has long loved Lucas but been afraid to tell him. His life seems so together while hers seems to be going nowhere. Her relationship with her mother is in tatters and she's almost given up on finding her absentee father. She rents a room from an elderly woman she barely talks to.

I adored Emmie. She is such a bright spot in the novel. For everything she has been through and will go through, she has such a positive outlook on life and sees the best in people. And yet, when it comes to her own life, she does not always see what she has right in front of her. Besides Emmie, Louise, Emmie's landlady, was my most favorite character in the novel. She has been through a lot herself over the years.

Dear Emmie Blue is a novel of self-discovery, letting go and taking chances. It is full of heart, at times bittersweet, and, when I reached the end, I was reminded of why I love to read so much.

Call me a harlot.
 ~ Opening of In a Holidaze 

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
Gallery Books, 2020
Romance; 288 pgs
Source: NetGalley for an honest review.

In a Holidaze was my first Christmas themed book of the year and it did not disappoint. Mostly. I was so excited to start this Groundhog Day like story about a young woman who relives the same holiday multiple times--stuck in some sort of time loop--until she gets it right. What exactly "it" is, she isn't sure at first. 

Maelyn Jones has a job she barely tolerates and is back living at home to save on expenses. As they have for all the years past, Mae, her teen brother and her divorced parents join friends at a cabin for the holidays. That cabin in Utah is her favorite place in the world. 

But after a late night romantic interlude that never should have happened and then receiving bad news the next morning, Mae worries all is lost. She makes a single wish just before everything goes dark. She wakes up on the airplane, sure she's been in a car accident, only to find herself back on the plane--not headed home, but headed to the cabin. As if the holiday had not yet happened. She soon discovers she is reliving the past, having been given a second (and more) chance. 

I found In a Holidaze to be just as funny and romantic as I hoped. I loved Mae and I really enjoyed spending time at the cabin with her friends and family. Mae is a relatable character. I wasn't too sure about her love interest at first admittedly and doubted whether he was as into her as she was to him, but as the novel progressed, I began to see things a little differently. My only real complaint about the novel is that I felt the time loop premise was not used to its full advantagel. Even so, I liked the way everything was wrapped up in the end. This was my first novel by the writing team that is Christina Lauren, and it will definitely not be my last. 

© 2020, 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, November 19, 2020

Where Is Your Bookmark? (Sci Fi Fairytale, December Wedding & Must Read Series by New to Me Authors)

I currently am immersed in How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse (The Thorne Chronicles #1) by K. Eason, and oh my gosh, I am loving it so far! 

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse (The Thorne Chronicles #1) by K. Eason 
First in a duology that reimagines fairy tale tropes within a space opera—The Princess Bride meets Princess Leia. Rory Thorne is a princess with thirteen fairy blessings, the most important of which is to see through flattery and platitudes. As the eldest daughter, she always imagined she’d inherit her father’s throne and govern the interplanetary Thorne Consortium. 
Then her father is assassinated, her mother gives birth to a son, and Rory is betrothed to the prince of a distant world.
When Rory arrives in her new home, she uncovers a treacherous plot to unseat her newly betrothed and usurp his throne. An unscrupulous minister has conspired to name himself Regent to the minor (and somewhat foolish) prince. With only her wits and a small team of allies, Rory must outmaneuver the Regent and rescue the prince. 
How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse is a feminist reimagining of familiar fairytale tropes and a story of resistance and self-determination—how small acts of rebellion can lead a princess to not just save herself, but change the course of history. [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 amazing Gillion Dumas of Rose City Reader.

They named the child Rory, because the firstborn of every generation was always a Rory, and had been since the first of that name had cut his way through the cursed briars on the homeworld and saved the kingdom of Thorne--and, incidentally, the princess--from the consequences of poor manners. 

That the latest Rory was a girl and not a boy came as a bit of a surprise. The medical mecha scans had been clear. That little flicker on the screen had been proof of Rory's masculinity. And yet, out she came, the blood-slick product of ten hours of hard work, and the little flicker was nowhere in sight on the flesh-and-blood baby. [opening paragraphs of How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse] 

Initial thoughts: My first thought after "I'm really going to like this book!" was that it is a good thing Rory is a neutral name. 

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.

"My father's up to something," he told the back of her hand, as he brushed his lips across it in a gesture performed especially for the recording devices they both new were concealed in the gym bags left carefully open, just so, all over the room. [excerpt from 56% of How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse]

My thoughts: I have not yet reached this moment in the book, and so am not sure what is going on. But I cannot help but wonder what his father is up to and why the listening devices? What is whoever is recording them hope to learn? 

Does this sound like something you would enjoy reading? What are you reading right now? 

Following the example of  Maria from ReadingMaria who started 
the Last Year I Was Reading feature, I will be looking back to what 
I was reading around this time last year and comparing it to what I am reading now. 

You would think I must not be in a very festive mood given how differently my reading this year is from last year at this time when I had already read several holiday-themed books already. My winter holiday intake has come in the form of movies most recently, I guess you could say. My next book will definitely have more of a holiday-theme to it. 

I am enjoying every minute of my current book, How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse. It's funny and entertaining--at least what I have read so far. K. Eason's book is a YA Science Fiction novel, quite different from the Winter Holiday-themed Romance I was reading last year at this time. I loved A Wedding in December when I read it last year--Sarah Morgan has a way with crafting stories and characters I easily fall in love with and hate to leave. Even though I am not a huge fan of the cold or snow (other than to admire it from a distance, in film/photographs or through my reading), I longed to be in Aspen, Colorado, perhaps staying in one of those resort treehouses. It still sounds heavenly, in fact.

What were you reading at this time last year? How does it compare to what you are reading now?

*                         *                         *

What I was reading five years ago at this  time:

Christmas Bells by Jennifer Chiaverini

Connect Five Friday is a weekly meme where readers share a list of five books, 
read or unread, or bookish things, that share a common theme. 
Hosted by the  Kathryn of of Book Date.

Last week, I featured five books by new to me authors I have read this year that I would like to read more by--that aren't a part of a series. This week I thought I would highlight five of the series I started this year by new to me authors that I cannot wait to continue. There are more than these five I am eager to continue, but I tried to narrow it down to my absolute favorites of the bunch. I have a little problem of starting new series and falling in love with them. Which means I am in the middle of so many series that I cannot keep up. Is it only me?

[The covers are linked to Goodreads if you want to read the books' summaries]

Had anyone told Honorable Harrington Sackville that the investigation into his death would make the name Sherlock Holmes known throughout the land, Mr. Sackville would have scoffed. ~ Opening of The Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock, #1) by Sherry Thomas

Books ran when they grew restless, when they grew unruly, or when they grew real. ~ Opening of The Library of the Unwritten (Hell's Library #1) by A.J. Hackwith

Charlene Morris may be impulsive sometimes, but crazy she was not. ~ Opening from Mrs. Morris and the Ghost (A Salem B&B Mystery #1) by Traci Wilton

Saturday morning, I was lounging in my backyard and enjoying a little sun. ~ Opening of 15 Minutes of Flame (Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery, #3) by Christin Brecher

My aunt lay dead and I was lost in her life. ~ Opening of In My Attic (A Magical Misfits Mystery. #1) by Lina Hansen

Reading has been a struggle at times this year given everything going on in our world and my country. I have found the most comfort and escape in cozy mysteries, and so it is no surprise their presence is heavy on this list.

Who are some of the new to me authors of series you read this year? Do you find yourself gravitating towards one type of book more than others this year or has your reading stayed relatively the same? 

 I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Be sure and tell me what you are reading and are up to!

© 2020, 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, November 17, 2020

Waiting to Read Wednesday: The Dark Archive & Season of the Witch

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

The Dark Archive
(The Invisible Library #7) by Genevieve Cogman

Release Date: December 29, 2020 by Ace
A professional spy for a mysterious Library which harvests fiction from different realities, Irene faces a series of assassination attempts that threaten to destroy her and everything she has worked for.

Irene is teaching her new assistant the fundamentals of a Librarian's job, and finding that training a young Fae is more difficult than she expected. But when they both narrowly avoid getting killed in an assassination attempt, she decides that learning by doing is the only option they have left - especially when the assassins keep coming for them, and for Irene's other friends as well...

In order to protect themselves, Irene and her friends must do what they do best: search for information to defeat the overwhelming threat they face and identify their unseen enemy. To do that, Irene will have to delve deeper into her own history than she ever has before, face an ancient foe, and uncover secrets that will change her life and the course of the Library forever. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: This is the seventh book in one of my favorite series. I am waiting on pins and needles for this one! 

Does The Dark Archive interest you? What upcoming release are you looking forward to reading?

The Old(er) 
I have an embarrassing number of unread books sitting on the shelves in my personal library. Carole of Carole's Random Life in Books has given me the perfect excuse to spotlight and discuss those neglected books in her Books from the Backlog feature. After all, even those older books need a bit of love! Not to mention it is reminding me what great books I have waiting for me under my own roof still to read!

Season of the Witch
by Natasha Mostert (Portable Magic Ltd, 2007)
Season of the Witch tells the story of Gabriel Blackstone: hacker, information thief, and skilled “remote viewer.” Asked by a former lover to investigate the disappearance of her stepson, Gabriel’s suspicions fall on Minnaloushe and Morrighan Monk, two beautiful sisters who live in a rambling Victorian house in London. Independently wealthy, the sisters spend their time dabbling in alchemy and the ancient Art of Memory—invented by the Greeks and used by alchemists and magi such as Giordano Bruno and Leonardo Da Vinci. The sisters are white, or “solar,” witches, who aim to use alchemy not to turn lead into gold but to attain ultimate knowledge and therefore ultimate power. Gabriel soon becomes convinced that his client’s son had been murdered and that one of the women is the killer. But which one?

As Gabriel infiltrates the world of the sisters, he finds himself drawn inexorably deeper— becoming entranced even as he realizes that he is in mortal danger. When he is caught snooping, Gabriel must race to unlock their secrets before they can retaliate. To save himself— and the one he loves, presuming she is not guilty—Gabriel will have to fight one of the sisters within the landscape of her own mind. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: This particular book found its way on my TBR shelf in 2014. The promise of witches and magic wrapped up in a mystery. Doesn't it sound good?

Have you read Season of the Witch? Does this book sound like something you would like to read? 

© 2020, 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.

My Bookish Mewsings: Leads & Lynxes by Rebecca Chastain

I craned to see the everlasting tree through the press of people, a familiar excitement humming through my veins. ~ Opening of Leads & Lynxes

Leads & Lynxes
(Terra Haven Chronicles #1) by Rebecca Chastain
Fantasy; 330 pgs
Source: Thank you for the author for a copy of the book for  an honest review (all thoughts are my own)
Be careful what you ask for... 

Kylie got into journalism to write important stories. Ones about gargoyles and dryads, elemental warriors, and thwarted magical attacks on her city. The bigger the story, the better. So when she lands the opportunity to ask an enchanted everlasting tree for the answer to any question she desires, she doesn’t have to think about it. She wants the story of a lifetime. 

So does her nemesis, Nathan. If anyone is going to write a high-profile story, the senior journalist believes it should be him—and Nathan’s not above playing dirty to get his way. Kylie must work fast or risk losing control of her story. 

But with every new lead forcing Kylie and her gargoyle companion Quinn deeper into a deadly maze of murder, warped magic, and monstrous beasts, rushing could prove fatal. Kylie is determined to write her dream story, but even she is beginning to wonder: Is the story of a lifetime the last story she’ll ever write? 

USA Today bestselling author Rebecca Chastain returns to the beloved world of the Terra Haven Chronicles for a brand-new spellbinding adventure of elemental magic and courageous gargoyles. If you love action-packed stories filled with mythical creatures, brave heroines, and adorable sidekicks, you’ll love Leads & Lynxes[Goodreads Summary]

I loved Rebecca Chastain's Gargoyle Guardian Chronicle series featuring Mika Stillwater and was so excited to learn that a series spinoff had been created featuring Mika's roommate, journalist Kylie Grayson. It felt good to step into their world again, a world in which elemental magic and gargoyles exist. 

Of all the questions a person could ask an enchanted everlasting tree, I was surprised by Kylie's. At first. You really have to know Kylie though to understand the nuances of such a question. She doesn't want to live under the shadow of her parents, wanting to make her own way in the world. Journalism is her calling. Yes, she's ambitious, and combine that with her desire to do good and expose the bad, she really wants to make a difference. Kylie is tenacious and smart. She also has good instincts, and does well under pressure in tight situations.

And Quinn, Kylie's gargoyle companion! Who wouldn't love a character like Quinn? He's loyal and probably would be cuddly if he weren't made out of stone. I adore him (and all the gargoyles really).

I always enjoy reading about the Federal Pentagon Defense warriors in action. The elite squad is very good at what they do--resourceful and well-trained. This time readers get to spend more time with the team leader, Grant Monaghan (and Kylie's crush). He's very good at his job, and it is no wonder he is in charge. It is evident he cares about his squad. Then there is Seradon, who I hope to see again in future books. I imagine she has quite the backstory. 

Leads and Lynxes is a mix of mystery and fantasy, with a good dose of action and a hint of romance. This is the first full-length novel set in and around Terra Haven, and I appreciated being able to spend more time there. I really like the world the author has created, especially the characters. I was most fascinated by the Lunacy Labyrinth, both it's history and current state. There were back to back tense moments when I caught myself holding my breath. It is a wonder anyone got out of there alive!

I haven't had the chance to read the prequel novella Deadlines and Dryads yet, but you can bet I will. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. I have enjoyed everything I have read by Rebecca Chastain so far and would definitely recommend this one as well as her other books. Besides, gargoyles! 

To learn more about author Rebecca Chastain and her work, please visit the author's website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterGoodreadsInstagram, and BookBub.

Leads & Lynxes is available on the following sites:
Barnes and Noble
Apple Books
Google Play

Try the prequel novella Deadlines & Dryads for free today!

© 2020, 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, November 14, 2020

Weekly Mews: Cranberry Orange Scones & How Is It Already the Middle of November?!

I am linking up to the Sunday Post hosted by 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. I am also linking The Sunday Salon hosted by Deb Nance of Readerbuzz where participants discuss what they are reading and other bookish topics. 

What I Am Reading: My reading has been a bit slow so far this month. Or rather, less time for reading just for myself. Mouse and I recently read Ramona and Her Mother by Beverly Cleary and are now reading Katherine Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia. When I do fit in reading time for myself, I am still making my way through the short story collection, Together, Apart. I am enjoying it so far. I also started Leads and Lynxes by Rebecca Chastain, which I plan to finish this weekend.

What I Am Watching: I finished watching the final season of S.H.I.E.L.D. this past week, and started re-watching the first season of The 100. I had seen the first two seasons before, but never got around to watching the third when it came out--and now there's seven seasons! I thought it a good idea to just start from the beginning again. 

As my family and I work our way through Buffy the Vampire Slayer again, we have also started re-watching Angel alongside it, interspersing episodes to follow their timeline. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed these shows. 

I have also been watching holiday rom-com movies on Netflix. 

Off the Blog: This past week was relatively uneventful. Just the usual for us: work, school, Zoom dance classes. My husband had to work Veteran's Day, but Mouse and I had the day off. I did not even get close to half the things done that I had hoped to, but Mouse and I enjoyed having some free time together. 

We have been enjoying evening walks after Anjin and I get off work. The time change the end of October means we go after the dark so it's fairly quiet out. It's starting to get chilly too. A couple of the neighbors have already put up their Christmas decorations. I am looking forward to seeing more go up in the coming weeks.

Not much in the news has changed either this week--the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise around the world and the U.S. President continues to deny he's lost the election as well as many of his supporters despite evidence to the contrary.

What I Am Grateful For: Fuzzy socks and cozy blankets; Starbucks peppermint hot chocolate and cranberry orange scones; reading with my daughter; and all of you. 

Nina didn't want to climb into her new box.

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 this month's poll! How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason won with eight votes over Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan (5 votes) and Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes (3 votes). I am really looking forward to starting Eason's duology!

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

© 2020, 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.