Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Waiting to Read Wednesday: 2666/A Woman of No Importance/Lost Roses



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!


2666 by Roberto BolaƱo, translated by Natasha Wimmer (Picardor, 2009 - originally published in 2004)
Three academics on the trail of a reclusive German author; a New York reporter on his first Mexican assignment; a widowed philosopher; a police detective in love with an elusive older woman—these are among the searchers drawn to the border city of Santa Teresa, where over the course of a decade hundreds of women have disappeared. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this:  I had heard magnificent things about this book and so added it to my TBR shelf. I find the size a bit intimidating, admittedly, which is why it still remains unread. One of these days perhaps. 



Have you read this one? If so, what did you think? What book has been lingering on your shelf for a while that you want to read?

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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.


A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II by Sonia Purnell
Release Date: April 9, 2019 by Viking
The never-before-told story of one woman's heroism that changed the course of the Second World War

In 1942, the Gestapo sent out an urgent transmission: "She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her."

This spy was Virginia Hall, a young American woman--rejected from the foreign service because of her gender and her prosthetic leg--who talked her way into the spy organization dubbed Churchill's "ministry of ungentlemanly warfare," and, before the United States had even entered the war, became the first woman to deploy to occupied France.

Virginia Hall was one of the greatest spies in American history, yet her story remains untold. Just as she did in Clementine, Sonia Purnell uncovers the captivating story of a powerful, influential, yet shockingly overlooked heroine of the Second World War. At a time when sending female secret agents into enemy territory was still strictly forbidden, Virginia Hall came to be known as the "Madonna of the Resistance," coordinating a network of spies to blow up bridges, report on German troop movements, arrange equipment drops for Resistance agents, and recruit and train guerilla fighters. Even as her face covered WANTED posters throughout Europe, Virginia refused order after order to evacuate. She finally escaped with her life in a grueling hike over the Pyrenees into Spain, her cover blown, and her associates all imprisoned or executed. But, adamant that she had "more lives to save," she dove back in as soon as she could, organizing forces to sabotage enemy lines and back up Allied forces landing on Normandy beaches. Told with Purnell's signature insight and novelistic panache, A Woman of No Importance is the breathtaking story of how one woman's fierce persistence helped win the war. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read it: I enjoy reading novels featuring women in nontraditional roles, and this nonfiction book caught my attention in particular given the time period and Virginia Hall's role in the war.


Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly
Release Date: April 9, 2019 by Ballantine Books
The runaway bestseller Lilac Girls introduced the real-life heroine Caroline Ferriday. This sweeping new novel, set a generation earlier and also inspired by true events, features Caroline's mother, Eliza, and follows three equally indomitable women from St. Petersburg to Paris under the shadow of World War I.

It is 1914 and the world has been on the brink of war so many times, many New Yorker's treat the subject with only passing interest. Eliza Ferriday is thrilled to be traveling to St. Petersburg with Sofya Streshnayva, a cousin of the Romanov's. The two met years ago one summer in Paris and became close confidantes. Now Eliza embarks on the trip of a lifetime, home with Sofya to see the splendors of Russia. But when Austria declares war on Serbia and Russia's Imperial dynasty begins to fall, Eliza escapes back to America, while Sofya and her family flee to their country estate. In need of domestic help, they hire the local fortuneteller's daughter, Varinka, unknowingly bringing intense danger into their household. On the other side of the Atlantic, Eliza is doing her part to help the White Russian families find safety as they escape the revolution. But when Sofya's letters suddenly stop coming she fears the worst for her best friend.

From the turbulent streets of St. Petersburg to the avenues of Paris and the society of fallen Russian emigre's who live there, the lives of Eliza, Sofya, and Varinka will intersect in profound ways, taking readers on a breathtaking ride through a momentous time in history.  [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: Not the best time to be traveling to Russia, I imagine, but what an intriguing story line this promises to be!


Do these interest you too? What upcoming releases are you looking forward to getting your hands on and reading?


© 2019, 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, March 14, 2019

Where Is Your Bookmark? (A Peek Into Broken Girls by Simone St. James)

I am in the middle of reading this month's TBR poll winner (thank you again to all who voted!). Broken Girls by Simone St. James is as good as so many of you have said! 

Vermont, 1950. There's a place for the girls whom no one wants--the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It's called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it's located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming--until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .
Vermont, 2014. As much as she's tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister's death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister's boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can't shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.
When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past--and a voice that won't be silenced. . . . [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 sun vanished below the horizon as the girl crested the ridge of Old Barrons Road. Night, and she still had three miles to go. 

My initial thoughts: It's dark and she is on foot with a long way to go to her destination. This doesn't bode well for her, I think.


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.

Fiona stared at her ceiling in the dark, her eyes burning. It was incredible that tens of thousands of people could vanish from history without a single record. "Were the women Jews?" she asked. 
"Very few, in fact," Ginette said. They were prisoners from countries occupied by the Nazis, communists, members of the Resistance, Gypsies, captured spies. There was also a certain type of prisoner the Nazis termed 'asocial.'"
"Asocial?"
"Prostitutes, destitute women, addicts and alcoholics, the mental ill. Women the Nazis simply didn't want society to support anymore, or women considered of low morals."
"Jesus Christ," Fiona said. "How horrible." [56%]

My initial thoughts: How horrible, indeed. Such a terrible time in our history.

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Every Friday Coffee Addicted Writer from Coffee Addicted Writer poses a question which participants respond on their own blogs within the week (Friday through Thursday). They then share their links at the main site and visit other participants blogs.

Do you use NetGalley, Edelweiss, both, or neither? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)

I use both NetGalley and Edelweiss. More than I probably should given I have so many of my own books still to read that I keep putting off in order to read review books. I want to read all the books! 

What about you?


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


© 2019, 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, March 12, 2019

Waiting to Read Wednesday: The Thing Around Your Neck/Finder/Someone Knows



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!


The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Knopf, 2009)
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie burst onto the literary scene with her remarkable debut novel, Purple Hibiscus, which critics hailed as "one of the best novels to come out of Africa in years" (Baltimore Sun), with "prose as lush as the Nigerian landscape that it powerfully evokes" (The Boston Globe); The Washington Post called her "the twenty-first-century daughter of Chinua Achebe." Her award-winning Half of a Yellow Sun became an instant classic upon its publication three years later, once again putting her tremendous gifts - graceful storytelling, knowing compassion, and fierce insight into her characters' hearts - on display. Now, in her most intimate and seamlessly crafted work to date, Adichie turns her penetrating eye on not only Nigeria but America, in twelve dazzling stories that explore the ties that bind men and women, parents and children, Africa and the United States.

In "A Private Experience," a medical student hides from a violent riot with a poor Muslim woman whose dignity and faith force her to confront the realities and fears she's been pushing away. In "Tomorrow is Too Far," a woman unlocks the devastating secret that surrounds her brother's death. The young mother at the center of "Imitation" finds her comfortable life in Philadelphia threatened when she learns that her husband has moved his mistress into their Lagos home. And the title story depicts the choking loneliness of a Nigerian girl who moves to an America that turns out to be nothing like the country she expected; though falling in love brings her desires nearly within reach, a death in her homeland forces her to reexamine them.

Searing and profound, suffused with beauty, sorrow, and longing, these stories map, with Adichie's signature emotional wisdom, the collision of two cultures and the deeply human struggle to reconcile them.
The Thing Around Your Neck is a resounding confirmation of the prodigious literary powers of one of our most essential writers. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: I have a lot of admiration for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, both as a writer and as a person. I purchased this collections years ago, planning to read it, but there it sits on my shelf still waiting its turn. I tend to gravitate more towards novels than short stories, and that is in part why this remains unread. Still, I would like to reread it one day. 


Have you read this one? If so, what did you think? What book has been lingering on your shelf for a while that you want to read?

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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.


Finder by Suzanne Palmer 
Release Date: April 2, 2019 by DAW
From Hugo Award-winning debut author Suzanne Palmer comes an action-packed sci-fi caper starring Fergus Ferguson, interstellar repo man and professional finder

Fergus Ferguson has been called a lot of names: thief, con artist, repo man. He prefers the term finder.

His latest job should be simple. Find the spacecraft Venetia's Sword and steal it back from Arum Gilger, ex-nobleman turned power-hungry trade boss. He'll slip in, decode the ship's compromised AI security, and get out of town, Sword in hand.

Fergus locates both Gilger and the ship in the farthest corner of human-inhabited space, a gas-giant-harvesting colony called Cernee. But Fergus' arrival at the colony is anything but simple. A cable car explosion launches Cernee into civil war, and Fergus must ally with Gilger's enemies to navigate a field of space mines and a small army of hostile mercenaries. What was supposed to be a routine job evolves into negotiating a power struggle between factions. Even worse, Fergus has become increasingly--and inconveniently--invested in the lives of the locals.

It doesn't help that a dangerous alien species thought mythical prove unsettlingly real, and their ominous triangle ships keep following Fergus around.

Foolhardy. Eccentric. Reckless. Whatever he's called, Fergus will need all the help he can get to take back the Sword and maybe save Cernee from destruction in the process. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: I keep saying I will read more science fiction, but it did not happen this past year like I hoped. I keep being drawn to the novels though, and this one is no different. It sounds like it will be a lot of fun.


Someone Knows by Lisa Scottoline
Release Date: April 9, 2019 by  G.P. Putnam's Sons

From the New York Times-bestselling author comes a pulse-pounding domestic thriller about a group of friends who have been bound for twenty years by a single secret—and will now be undone by it. Someone Knows is an emotional exploration of friendship and family, as well as a psychological exploration of guilt and memory.

Twenty years ago, in an upscale suburb of Philadelphia, four teenagers spent a summer as closest friends: drinking, sharing secrets, testing boundaries. When a new boy looked to join them, they decided to pull a prank on him, convincing him to play Russian roulette as an initiation into their group. They secretly planned to leave the gun unloaded—but what happened next would change each of them forever.

Now three of the four reunite for the first time since that horrible summer. The guilt—and the lingering question about who loaded the gun—drove them apart. But after one of the group apparently commits suicide with a gun, their old secrets come roaring back. One of them is going to figure out if the new suicide is what it seems, and if it connects to the events of that long-ago summer. Someone knows exactly what happened—but who? And how far will they go to keep their secrets buried? [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: Lisa Scottoline writes a good thriller and this one caught my eye. A secret from the past coming back to haunt the friends . . . I can't wait to dive in!


Do these interest you too? What upcoming releases are you looking forward to getting your hands on and reading?


© 2019, 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, March 10, 2019

Bookish Thoughts: Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

I type, "Should I see a therapist?" ~ Opening of Beautiful Bad


Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward
Park Row, 2019
Crime Fiction/Thriller; 368 pgs

A 9-1-1 call brings the police to Maddie and Ian’s suburban home, in which clearly, danger is afoot. As the novel unfolds, we are given glimpses of the far and recent past, as well as what is occurring in real time. Tension is high as the first police officer on scene breaks protocol of waiting for back-up before entering the home. A child’s life may be at stake. A few weeks before that, Maddie began seeing a writing therapist, hoping to work through her anxiety about her son’s safety, her husband’s PTSD, and the camping accident that left her terribly scarred. Maddie and Ian recall their past: the day they met and their complicated relationship with each other, as well as their tumultuous friendship with Maddie’s best friend Joanna.

It is impossible to know who to trust as the novel starts out—and even most of the way through it. Being a reader of thrillers like this, my mind naturally starts sorting through the various scenarios an author might take the reader right from the start. I cannot turn off that part of my brain no matter how hard I try. Everyone or anyone could be guilty of anything—something. Exactly what, I may not know. In Beautiful Bad, it’s implied someone died. Who? Why? There are plenty of motives offered up and many directions the novel could have gone. I love that nearly every one of those was a strong contender. That says a lot about author Annie Ward’s ability to write a compelling thriller. But even for the reader who does figure out the who early on, there is still the question of how and what exactly happened that keeps us wanting to turn those pages.

I do not particularly have to like a character to enjoy a book like this, but there’s usually something about the characters that draws me to them, and it was no different in this case. I enjoyed the portions of the books narrated by Maddie, whose childhood in Kansas seemed rather ordinary, with the exception of her near death experience in the boat accident. It is clear not all is right in Maddie’s world, however, which we see as the story unfolds. Less is offered about her friend Joanna’s past, but I suppose that really isn’t significant to the story. However, what happens to her in Macedonia—it is. Ian brings with him his own baggage. An obsessive ex-girlfriend who doesn’t understand the word no. And all that he experienced in his career as a soldier and eventual mercenary. . . There is one scene in particular that still haunts me—and for anyone to have to actually go through that, I can’t even begin to imagine how that would torment them. Is it any wonder he is so broken and damaged?

As you can see, I enjoyed Beautiful Bad. I did find it slow going at times, especially during the first half of the book as we got to know more about the characters’ backstories. I liked the formatting of the book—the jumps back in time as the characters remembered different aspects of their past as well as the tense present day scene of Diane, the police officer, cautiously making her way through the house, not knowing what she would find around each corner. It made for a suspenseful read. I am anxious to see what Annie Ward comes up with next!


Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Connect with Annie

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Annie’s sophomore novel and first psychological thriller BEAUTIFUL BAD will be published by Harper Collins/Park Row books in March, 2019.

Annie received a BA in English Lit with an emphasis in Creative Writing from UCLA and an MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute. While studying at AFI, she sold her first short screenplay to MTV/ BFCS Productions. Starring Adam Scott, STRANGE HABIT became a Grand Jury Award Winner at the Aspen Film Festival and a Sundance Festival Official Selection.

After film school, Annie moved to Eastern Europe to work for Fodor Travel Guides, covering regions of Spain and Bulgaria. She remained in Bulgaria for five years spanning a civilian uprising and government overthrow. The novel THE MAKING OF JUNE, which Annie wrote with the Bulgarian revolution and Balkan crisis as its backdrop was sold to Penguin Putnam and published to critical acclaim in 2002.

During Annie’s five years in the Balkans she received a Fulbright Scholarship, taught at the University of Sofia, and script doctored eight screenplays for Nu-Image, an Israeli/American film company that produced a number of projects in Bulgaria for the SyFy Channel. She was later the recipient of an Escape to Create artist residency.

She lives in Kansas City, Kansas with her family.


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




I hope you will check out what others had to say about Beautiful Bad 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.





 © 2019, 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.

March TBR Winner!

Thank you for helping me decide what book from my TBR collection I should read next:

My TBR List is a meme hosted by the awesome Michelle at Because Reading. It’s a fun way to choose a book from your TBR pile to read. The 1st Sunday 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). 




We are in the middle of birthday weekend festivities, and so I have not been able to do much blog hopping the last several days. I will see you soon though! I appreciate your patience. I wanted to at least post my March TBR Poll Winner. I am really excited about this month's winner. I would have been pleased with any of the choices winning, of course, but this one especially has been begging to be read.

City of Lies by Victoria Thompson came in with 20% of the votes (5 votes) with A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn taking 32% of the votes (8). Ultimately though, Broken Girls by Simone St. James won with 48% of the votes (12), beating out the other two.

I have only had a chance to read the prologue of Broken Girls so far, but I am already thinking I am going to enjoy the book.


Broken Girls by Simone St. James
Vermont, 1950. There's a place for the girls whom no one wants--the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It's called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it's located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming--until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .
Vermont, 2014. As much as she's tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister's death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister's boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can't shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.
When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past--and a voice that won't be silenced. . . . [Goodreads Summary]

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


© 2019, 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.