Sunday, July 15, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: Dawn of the Flame Sea & Demons of the Flame Sea by Jean Johnson

Dawn of the Flame Sea (Flame Seas, #1) by Jean Johnson
Intermix, 2016 
 Fantasy; 130 pages
Source: I purchased a copy of this book for my reading pleasure.

Opening Sentence: Energy shimmered into view, at first forming a single rippling, wavering line, then splitting and curving into an arch.
Goodreads Summary: 
They call themselves the Fae Rii, or Fair Traders. Elfin-like beings capable of wielding sophisticated forms of magic, they travel between universes exploring new worlds and establishing settlements for their people to live peacefully among the locals.

The humans of the White Sands tribe, refugees fleeing from powerful enemies, see the Fae as potential invaders stealing their newfound natural resources. Jintaya, the leader of the Fae travelers, manages to forge an alliance, promising to trade skills and knowledge—magical and otherwise—to build a lasting community.

But the Circle Fire Tribe has no desire to share those rich valleys and ravines with the people they’ve hunted to near extinction—or the supposed deities they worship…

I purchased the first in the series, Dawn of the Flame Sea, quite a while ago and admit to forgetting it was on my e-reader. From the synopsis of the book, it is about the fae, however, which is probably why the series initially caught my attention. 

I was quite taken with the world building in this series. Dawn of the Flame Sea walks readers through the two groups finding a way to live together. The White Sands Tribe is fascinated by the magical abilities of the Fae Rii—their ability to shape stone and their environment to best meet their needs. The natives have their own way of using the magic on the planet, but it is a very careful and measured practice done only by their shaman. The tribes of the planet are quite primitive (Bronze Age, I believe), and it is not surprising that some look to the Fae Rii as gods, something the Fae try hard to discourage. While things seem to work out well in terms of the two groups coming together and finding a way to live together, they are not without their troubles. The tribe that had forced the White Sands Tribe off their own land is stalking them, wanting to kill them off and steal their resources.

While I appreciated the author’s detail and care in creating the world her characters lived in, I felt it was at times at the expense of the character development. I wanted less description of the macro scope of the development of their community and more focus on a select few individual characters. Ban, an immortal human who had been taken in by the Fae long before their coming to the new planet, is such an interesting character, and likely my favorite in the book. he is scarred, having seen much more than anyone can imagine. I couldn’t help but be more curious about his past and his relationship with the Fae leader, who herself was a bit of a mystery.

I admit I started to get bored about a third of the way in.  I kept hoping things would speed up the closer the enemy Circle Fire Tribe got to the settlement.  I wish I could say that the book did get better for me, but ultimately, I was disappointed.


Demons of the Flame Sea (Flame Seas, #2) by Jean Johnson
Intermix, 2016
Fantasy; 154 pgs
Source: Review copy provided by publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

Opening Sentence: Old Nandjed didn't do much weaving anymore; her age-gnarled fingers had lost most of their dexterity.
Goodreads Summary: 
Raised to understand and control advanced magics, the Fae Rii know they must be careful with the wild, abundant energies of their new desert homeland. They must also downplay the awe they inspire in the Bronze Age humans around them. Still, they have managed to create some equilibrium between the two factions, primitive versus advanced—at least, until new outworlders arrive, tipping the scales out of balance.

Strict and power-hungry, the ruthless Efrijt take the phrase “deal with the devil” to a new level. A treaty may be possible; however, the solution proposed will in turn give birth to a new problem: A chaos that will dance its way through all three races trying to survive in the burning heat of the Flame Sea…

I was interested enough in the characters and world to continue with the series, and I was curious to see if the second book in the series would pick up. In some respects it did. It is still not a fast paced book. The Fae Rii are peace loving outlanders and will try to find peaceful solutions to every conflict. During one of his expeditions on the planet, the immortal Ban comes across a village in which another outlander group has settled, the Efrijit. Ban has a history with the Efrijit and does not trust them. They are extremely manipulative and take advantage of others weaknesses to profit. The Efrijit had not realized the Fae Rii had laid claim to the planet before them, and insist that they have every right to be there. They are using the local tribe as labor, mining for a liquid that is poisonous to all but the Efrijit. It is making the laborers sick as a result of close and prolonged exposure. The former White Sands Tribe, now known as the Flame Sea Tribe, along with the Fae Rii, enter into negotiations with the Efrijit to determine who has the right to claim the land and its resources. The Efrijits are not known to play nice, and so the others must stay on their toes.

There were some tense moments in Demons of the Flame Sea as the Fae Rii were only able to call in for limited help due to a major event occurring on their home planet. All portals to other settlements must be closed, cutting off communication with their home. It was interesting to see the politics at play between the Fae and the Efrijits.

I felt I got to know some of the individual characters better in this second novel of the series, which was good. The reader gets a closer look at Ban's relationship with the Fae Rii leader, which is a bit complicated given both their backgrounds. There is definite mutual respect between the two characters. I lost count of the number of times Ban "dies" and comes back to life in this one--although more from accidents while on his expedition than in battle.

The book dragged in spots, and I found my attention wandering, like with the first book. I wanted to like these books more than I did, but I found them lacking--of what, I am not sure exactly. More excitement and action? More character development? Perhaps a more compelling story? More something, anyway. In the end, I finished the novel knowing it would be my last in the series. I just do not care enough to go on, although I think some might find this series to their liking. 

For more information about the author and her books, visit her website. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.


© 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, July 04, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton

The first part Lavinia takes Louise to, she makes Louise wear one of her dresses. ~ Opening of Social Creature


Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton
Doubleday, 2018
Crime Fiction/Thriller; 273 pgs
Source: NetGalley

Was this book ever addicting! It was described as such in a snippet I had read when deciding whether I wanted to read and review Tara Isabella Burton’s Social Creature—and the word fits. It was hard not to be sucked into Lavinia’s world. She’s an extremely intense character, and Louise is a compelling unreliable narrator. These are characters I cannot imagine myself ever wanting to know or hang out with in real life. I have never been nor wanted to be a part of their scene. Louise seemingly leads a relatively quiet life, barely making ends meet. She longs for something more—and when Lavinia walks into her life, she is swept up into a world she only ever dreamed of being a part of: attending book readings and parties, excessive drinking and drug use, trespassing, and living the high life in New York City.

I did not know what to make of Lavinia at first. I could whip out my DSM-VI and come up with a host of diagnoses. She latches onto Louise instantly, pulling Louise into her lifestyle. The two become close extremely fast. There were times I could not tell who was more dependent on the other—they both seemed to need each other and were using each other in their own ways. I too felt pulled into Lavinia’s life, right alongside Louise. I had no idea where the author was going to take me. There is definite foreshadowing—even the Goodreads synopsis gives some of it away (which is why I am not posting it here), but how, when and why remained a mystery until it was revealed outright by the author. As the reader, I just knew something bad was going to happen. This is one of those books in which I think the less known going in, the better.

I did not like any of the characters. Maybe a little Rex, but even then, not really. That is not something that bothers me too much though. I do not have to like the characters to enjoy a book, especially a book like this. I have kind of come to expect I will not. There were brief moments I felt sympathy for either Louise or Lavinia, but they were, as I said, brief. It took me a moment with this one to get into the narrative voice. Louise is the one who tells us the story, and she does it in her own way, sometimes flashing back to the past. 

It is not unusual in today’s day and age for social media to make an appearance. It really has to in some respects, doesn’t it, if it is to be believable? At least for a book set in modern times. I liked how the author used Facebook in the novel. While seemingly bringing people closer together, it tends to be a more superficial way to stay in touch.

When I finished the book, I found myself wondering if I liked it. As a thriller, it gave me just what I was looking for. I had a hard time putting this one down, and I couldn’t wait to get back to it when I had to stop reading. It was full of unexpected twists and melodrama. It was compelling and unique. The novel is dark and left me a bit unsettled as I read.


For more information about the author and her books, visit her website. You can also find 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.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Wishing to Read Wednesday: Old & New (#7)

Books from the Backlog is a weekly meme, hosted by the wonderful Carole of Carole's Random Life in Books to spotlight and discuss the neglected books sitting on our shelves still waiting to be read.. Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by the marvelous Tressa at Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released.

The Old

Inherit the Dead  (Simon & Schuster, 2013)
Readers will enjoy an introduction by Lee Child, an afterword by Linda Fairstein, and chapters by bestselling authors Mary Higgins Clark, John Connolly, Charlaine Harris, CJ Box, Mark Billingham, Lawrence Block, Ken Bruen, Alafair Burke, Stephen L. Carter, Marcia Clark, Max Allan Collins, James Grady, Heather Graham, Bryan Gruley, Val McDermid, SJ Rozan, Jonathan Santlofer, Dana Stabenow, Lisa Unger, and Sarah Weinman. What’s more, the editor, Jonathan Santlofer, has arranged to donate any royalties in excess of editor and contributor compensation to Safe Horizon, the leading victim assistance agency in the country—making it a worthy and winning triumph.

Pericles “Perry” Christo is a PI with a past—a former cop, who lost his badge and his family when a corruption scandal left him broke and disgraced. When wealthy Upper East Side matron Julia Drusilla summons him one cold February night, he grabs what seems to be a straightforward (and lucrative) case.

The socialite is looking for her beautiful, aimless daughter, Angelina, who is about to become a very wealthy young woman. But as Christo digs deeper, he discovers there’s much more to the lovely “Angel” than meets the eye. Her father, her best friend, her boy­friends all have agendas of their own. Angel, he soon realizes, may be in grave danger…and if Christo gets too close, he just might get caught in the crossfire.

This classic noir tale twists and turns down New York’s mean streets and along Hamptons’ beaches and back roads during a bitterly cold and gray winter where nothing is as it seems and everyone has something to hide.
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: Besides just being curious if all these authors (many whose work I have enjoyed) can come together to create a seamless mystery novel, I do like the sound of this one. 

*

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (Knopf, 2014)
An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the actor's early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains - this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor's first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: Most of you have probably read this one already. I have really enjoyed the author's other books, and yet I have not read her most popular book! I really need to make time for this one. 


The New

Vox by Christina Dalcher
Release Date: August 21, 2018 by Berkley
Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial--this can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.

Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: I hope she does reclaims her voice for all our sake. I have to find out!

*

Through the Fire (Rocky Mountain K9 Unit, #4) by Katie Ruggle
Release Date: August 7, 2018 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Kit Jernigan despairs of ever fitting in with her new tight-knit K9 unit. They've been through too much to open their arms to a stranger―and as mysterious fires begin raging across Monroe, she can't convince them to trust her long enough to catch the woman she knows is responsible. Wesley March, local fire spotter, knows Kit is right, and he's willing to help her prove it. But the more time they spend together, the closer they get...and the more danger they're in. A member of the K9 unit's inner circle is determined to get revenge―no matter who gets burned in the process. This time, it's personal. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: I enjoy a good romantic suspense novel from time to time, and I have heard wonderful things about Katie Ruggle's books. The mention of K9 means there has to be a dog in the book too--and I do love dogs!

*

A Tale of Two Murders (A Dickens of a Crime #1) by Heather Redmond
Release Date: July 31, 2018 by Kensington
On the eve of the Victorian era, London has a new sleuth . . .

In the winter of 1835, young Charles Dickens is a journalist on the rise at the Evening Chronicle. Invited to dinner at the estate of the newspaper's co-editor, Charles is smitten with his boss's daughter, vivacious nineteen-year-old Kate Hogarth. They are having the best of times when a scream shatters the pleasant evening. Charles, Kate, and her father rush to the neighbors' home, where Miss Christiana Lugoson lies unconscious on the floor. By morning, the poor young woman will be dead.

When Charles hears from a colleague of a very similar mysterious death a year ago to the date, also a young woman, he begins to suspect poisoning and feels compelled to investigate. The lovely Kate offers to help--using her social position to gain access to the members of the upper crust, now suspects in a murder. If Charles can find justice for the victims, it will be a far, far better thing than he has ever done. But with a twist or two in this most peculiar case, he and Kate may be in for the worst of times . . .
Why I want to read it: The cover is what keeps drawing me to this book. I am never sure about reading mysteries featuring real life people, even knowing it is pure fiction, but I do not think I will be able to resist this one. It sounds too good.


Have you read any of these? Do any of these appeal to you?


© 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, June 30, 2018

Weekly Mews: June 2018 in Review & Mid-Year Freak Out

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. I am also linking to Stacking the Shelves hosted by the great Team Tynga's Reviews and Marlene of Reading Reality a meme in which participants share what new books came their way recently. I am linking up to Nicole of Feed Your Addiction's Monthly Wrap-Up Post, where any book bloggers who write monthly wrap-up posts can link up and visit other bloggers to see what they have been reading. 





Happy July! We are at the midpoint of the year, can you believe it? I am not sure I can. Two thousand eighteen has been a roller-coaster of a year so far. Both globally and personally. I started writing this post several times, but realized I was sliding quickly into despair. Suffice it to say, it has been a rough first half of the year--socially, politically, health-wise, job-wise, and financially. I would like to say it will get better, but I am not sure I believe that, try as hard as I might to do so. Thank goodness for my family. And books. And chocolate. And cats.

This is how I feel a lot lately-
although, little Nina has a lot better balance than I do.

There have been bright spots--many of them. We still feel the hole that Parker has left in our hearts with his passing last fall, but our new kitten has brought so much joy into our lives as well. Her energy and playfulness cannot help but bring smiles to all our faces. She's such a joy to have around. Even Gracie has warmed up to her some. They play more than they fight these days, and Gracie seems to be relaxing more when the kitten is around.

Mouse finished out a great school year and had an amazing teacher. I am so proud of Mouse. She played a dove in her school play, and definitely has a flair for the stage.

The show! Not a week goes by that we aren't doing something related to the musical. We picked up the costumes this past week, bought Mouse's performance shoes, and now I just need to master the required hairstyle. Our lives will continue to be consumed by rehearsals this month as we race to showtime. It has been a fun experience over all, even if stressful at times.


June itself was a full month. More rehearsals and dance classes. The Celebration of Dance event. End of the season Girl Scout parties. Lots of kitty cuddles. Tense work moments. End of school events. Doctor appointments. And not as much reading as I would have liked. I finished three books. Just three. There is always one month each year like this--and I guess June was it for me this time around. I hope it is the only month this year like it. At least I enjoyed my reading quite a bit. All the books were winners.

Here is what I read in June:
  • The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire
  • Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf
  • Scandal Above Stairs by Jennifer Ashley
June Posts:
Challenge & Read-Along Updates:

With everything going on in my life right now and the direction my reading and blogging have taken as of late, I am making the difficult decision to pull out of several of the challenges I committed to for the year.  I made a little progress in each one and am so glad I had the opportunity to do so. I want to take some of the pressure off myself though, and felt this was one of the ways I could make that happen.

Saying Goodbye to:


I am determined, however, to continue on with my two read-a-longs.

Les Misérables Read-Along ~  I have been doing so well with this one, but June found me falling behind. I am about three weeks behind in my reading.  I have not quite yet met Marius, but I have met Gavroche, one of my favorite characters in the musical version. How did I not know who his parents were?! Well, now I know.

War and Peace Read-Along ~ War and Peace has me hook, line and sinker. I am all caught up with this chunkster, and am eager to read on. I could not turn the pages fast enough to find out how Natasha's situation would turn out with Anatole. 

I am also sticking with the 2018 Witches and Witchcraft Reading Challenge, because, well, witches.
I am unsure about whether a few of the books I have read that contain magic qualify, but I think it is fair to count these toward the challenge so far:

  • Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
  • Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews
  • One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  • Dawn of the Flame Sea by Jean Johnson
  • Demons of the Flame Sea by Jean Johnson
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  • The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire
  • Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf

New to My Shelves In June: 

Gift cards are a booklover's best friend sometimes. Especially when we are in need of a little retail therapy. Here are the books I purchased in June, most of which have been on my wish list for quite some time:


Sins of the Son (Grigori Legacy, #2) by Linda Poitevin
Sins of the Lost (Grigori Legacy, #3) by Linda Poitevin


All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
Wolfskin by W.R. Gingell
Snow White Red-Handed (A Fairy Tale Fatal Mystery #1) by Maia Chance
The Mother by Yvvette Edwards
A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
Discount Armageddon (InCryptid #1) by Seanan McGuire
Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne
Balm by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Flunked (Fairy Tale Reform School #1) by Jen Calonita
Murder on the Last Frontier (A Charlotte Brody Mystery) by Cathy Pegau
Beastly (Kendra Chronicles) by Alex Flinn
Prisoner of the Crown (The Chronicles of Dasnaria #1) by Jeffe Kennedy
Need You for Keeps by Marina Adair
Death Overdue (Haunted Library) by Allison Brook
The Things We Don't Say by Ella Carey

A Hole New World by Pat & Jen from PupularMMOs, illustrated by Dani Jones
Too Many Cats (The Wish Fairy #1) by Lisa Ann Scott


Have you read any of these? What did you think? What new books did you borrow or buy this past month? 

*
Mid-Year Freak Out

So far this year, I have read 32 books. Of those books, two were audio books. Sixteen were new-to-me authors. Four of the books I read were written solely by men and three by a husband/wife team. Eight books earned 4.5 paws on my rating scale. And two books earned only 2 paws.

It was hard fitting just one book into these categories (and in two instances I did list two). I forced myself to though.

1 - Best book I've read/listened to so far in 2018: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

2 - Best sequel I’ve read so far in 2018: Scandal Above Stairs by Jennifer Ashley

3 - Biggest disappointment: Dawn of the Flame Sea by Jean Johnson

4 - Favorite new author (new to me): Victoria Gilbert

5 - Newest fictional crush: Sean Evans from the Innkeeper Chronicles by Ilona Andrews

6 - Newest favorite character: Rose Marshall from The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire

7 - Book that made me cry: The Girl from the Savoy by Hazel Gaynor & The Book of Unknown Americans by Henríquez, Cristina 

8 - Book that made me happy: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

9 - Favorite book cover of a book read this year:


10 - What books do I need to read finish by the end of the year?: Les Misérables by Victor Hugo and War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy


How has the first half of 2018 been to you? What made your favorites list? 

*

What I Am Reading: I am in the middle of Seanan McGuire's Sparrow Hill Road, the first in her Ghostroads series. It is really more of a mash up of short stories, loosely connected, than an actual novel. I accidentally read the second book first, but I think it worked out better that way since that was an actual novel. I am also reading The Diving Pool by Yoko Ogawa, a collection of three novellas. I have read two in the collection so far and am still making my mind up about them.

What I Am Watching: We recently saw the second Incredibles movie and enjoyed it quite a bit. My daughter made us watch The Wizard of Oz again. And I think she's seen it twice more since then--and that's just this past week.

What I Am Worried About: My brother relapsed and has pleurisy again. It is especially concerning given his heart condition. I dropped by phone on my toes and now have bruised and swollen toes on one of my feet. The only shoes my foot is comfortable in are my running shoes, which aren't exactly up to the work dress code. I am not in a lot of pain, but there is some minor pain and discomfort, especially if I put too much weight on them. My toes are doing much better now than they were--but still taking their time to heal. The night it happened, I texted my mom and told her I wanted to be like her. She recently dropped something on her foot and has a small fracture as a result. On a lighter note, I am worried about whether or not I will be able to master the required bun for my daughter's upcoming dress rehearsals and show (I am NOT at hair person).

What I Am Grateful For:  Reassuring dance moms, Iburprofen, my daughter's laughter and love for life, my husband's hugs, Gracie's cuddles and Nina attacking my feet.

Playing Dress Up

New Hiding Place

No kitty is left out of cuddle time.

Treats at the Princess Tea Party at the Dance Studio



Tell me about what you have been up to! What are you reading, listening to and watching? How was your week? Your month? Do you have anything planned for this coming week?

For those who celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful 4th of July!


 © 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, June 26, 2018

Wishing to Read Wednesday: Old & New (#6)

Books from the Backlog is a weekly meme, hosted by the wonderful Carole of Carole's Random Life in Books to spotlight and discuss the neglected books sitting on our shelves still waiting to be read.. Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by the marvelous Tressa at Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released.

The Old

Drood by Dan Simmons (Little, Brown & Company, 2009)
Drood… is the name and nightmare that obsesses Charles Dickens for the last five years of his life.

On June 9, 1865, Dickens and his mistress are secretly returning to London, when their express train hurtles over a gap in a trestle. All of the first-class carriages except the one carrying Dickens are smashed to bits in the valley below. When Dickens descends into that valley to confront the dead and dying, his life will be changed forever. And at the core of that ensuing five-year nightmare is…

Drood… the name that Dickens whispers to his friend Wilkie Collins. A laudanum addict and lesser novelist, Collins flouts Victorian sensibilities by living with one mistress while having a child with another, but he may be the only man on Earth with whom Dickens can share the secret of…

Drood. Increasingly obsessed with crypts, cemeteries, and the precise length of time it would take for a corpse to dissolve in a lime pit, Dickens ceases writing for four years and wanders the worst slums and catacombs of London at night while staging public readings during the day, gruesome readings that leave his audiences horrified. Finally he begins writing what would have been the world’s first great mystery masterpiece, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, only to be interrupted forever by…

Drood. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: Doesn't this just sound dark and delicious? As my husband was dusting the shelves the other day, he mentioned how I had practically begged for an copy of Drood when it first came out (which I promptly received for Christmas that same year), and yet there it sits. On the shelf unread. The size may have something to do with my putting it off, but I am still just as interested in reading it as I was then.

*

The Taken (Celestial Blues #1) by Vicki Pettersson (Harper Voyager, 2012)
Griffin Shaw was a PI when alive. Fifty years later, he’s a celestial Centurion assisting the recently and violently dead. But being an angel doesn’t mean he’s a saint. One small mistake altered fate, and dumped him back on the mortal mudflat to collect another soul – Katherine “Kit” Craig, a journalist whose latest investigation may get her clipped.

Bucking heavenly orders, Grif refuses to let this sable-haired siren with hairpin curves come to harm. He also wants the truth about his killer and revenge for his wife Evie's death. Amid an evil conspiracy, a ruthless killer stalks the new partners. Grif's attraction to Kit could cost their lives -- and his answer to who killed him.
[Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: I have not read too many books featuring angels, and The Taken caught my attention from the cover to the mystery.

*                    *

The New

Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose
Release Date: August 7, 2018 by Atria Books
New York, 1924. Twenty‑four‑year‑old Jenny Bell is one of a dozen burgeoning artists invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists’ colony. Gifted and determined, Jenny vows to avoid distractions and romantic entanglements and take full advantage of the many wonders to be found at Laurelton Hall.

But Jenny’s past has followed her to Long Island. Images of her beloved mother, her hard-hearted stepfather, waterfalls, and murder, and the dank hallways of Canada’s notorious Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women overwhelm Jenny’s thoughts, even as she is inextricably drawn to Oliver, Tiffany’s charismatic grandson.

As the summer shimmers on, and the competition between the artists grows fierce as they vie for a spot at Tiffany’s New York gallery, a series of suspicious and disturbing occurrences suggest someone knows enough about Jenny’s childhood trauma to expose her.

Supported by her closest friend Minx Deering, a seemingly carefree socialite yet dedicated sculptor, and Oliver, Jenny pushes her demons aside. Between stolen kisses and stolen jewels, the champagne flows and the jazz plays on until one moonless night when Jenny’s past and present are thrown together in a desperate moment, that will threaten her promising future, her love, her friendships, and her very life.
[Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read it: New York in the 1920's has an irresistible quality to it, don't you think? And I really enjoy M.J. Rose's work. If the author's name didn't pique my interest immediately in this one, the setting and subject matter would. Just what is in Jenny's past? And how is it coming to haunt her now?

*

As Wide As the Sky by Jessica Pack
Release Date: July 31, 2018 by Kensington Publishing
Five a.m.: Amanda Mallorie wakes to the knowledge that her son Robbie is gone. And a new chapter of her own life must begin. She has spent four years as her son's only support, desperately trying to understand the actions that landed him on death row and to change his fate. Now Amanda faces an even more difficult task--finding a way, and a reason, to move forward with her own life.

Before the tragedy that unfolded in a South Dakota mall, Robbie was just like other people's sons or daughters. Sometimes troubled, but sweet and full of goodness too. That's the little boy Amanda remembers as she packs up his childhood treasures and progress reports, and discovers a class ring she's never seen before. Who does it belong to and why did Robbie have it in his possession? So begins a journey that will remind her not only of who Robbie used to be, but of a time when she wasn't afraid--to talk to strangers, to help those in need, to reach out. Robbie's choices can never be unmade, but there may still be time for forgiveness and trust to grow again. For a future as wide as the sky.
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: Reading this synopsis, so many emotions come to mind. I cannot even imagine what Amanda must be going though. I need to read this book!


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