Sunday, March 15, 2020

Weekly Mews: School Closures, Social Distancing & Birthday Cake

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. 


Friday afternoon the order came down that all schools in our county close for at least the next three weeks. Given all the other schools in the state and country that had been closing it was just a matter of time really, but it still felt sudden. My husband also got word from his supervisor that he and his coworkers will be working from home until early April. There are still some things that need to happen before he can start that transition, but it will be taking place before the end of this week. As far as I know, I will continue to go into work as usual. My mom is supposed to be traveling down to stay with us for awhile and help with Mouse, but she's got a cold and we're waiting to hear what her doctor says about her visiting given the circumstances.  Everyone's being advised to practice social distancing for the time being to try to slow the spread of the virus. It's all a bit crazy out there right now.


This past week we celebrated Mouse's birthday. We had a small family celebration one evening and brunch with a couple of friends another day. I think she would tell you she's had a good birthday overall!

On to what I have been reading!


In Five Years by Rebecca Serle (Atria, 2020; Fiction; 266 pgs)
Twenty-five. That's the number I count to every morning before I even open my eyes. [Opening]
I've always been waiting, haven't I? For tragedy to show up once again on my doorstep. Evil that blindsides. [excerpt from 81%]
I recently finished reading In Five Years by Rebecca Serle, which I enjoyed. It is about a woman who falls asleep the night of her engagement and has a premonition five years into the future--only she was in a different apartment and appears to be engaged to someone else. She almost convinces herself it is a dream when she actually meets the guy from the premonition. If you are thinking romance, it is not one. But it is sort of a love story in its own way. I could relate to the main character in her penchant to plan and always be prepared. She is thrown for a loop, however, by not only the premonition, but events that follow, her emotions all over the place, and must really take a look at who she is and what she wants in her life. I did not expect In Five Years to be the tearjerker it turned out to be. And while the novel felt a bit predictable much of the time, when it came to the ending . . . well, it really made the book for me.



The Five Year Plan by Carla Burgess (HQ Digital, 2020; Romance; 555 pgs)
'How did you get invited to this exhibition, Orla?' Emma turns to look at me, her loose black hair streaking back from her face as the wind howls down the street towards us. [Opening] 
Before that I read The Five Year Plan by Carla Burgess, which definitely fell into the romance category. Two very different people: a ambitious young journalist who knows just what she wants and has a plan to get there; and an adventurous photojournalist who lives in a tent and takes life as it comes. Neither is interested in a committed relationship when they meet, but they fall in love--and then go their separate ways; their futures headed in two completely different directions. Several years later they meet again and their feelings for each other are as strong as ever. I really liked Aiden and Orla early on: the easy way they talked to each other and how well they complimented one another. I was not as impressed with Aiden years later, however. I imagine he was coming from a place of hurt feelings and so should cut him some slack, but I thought at times he was unkind to Orla and should have given her the benefit of the doubt. One minute he was mad at her and accusing her of not being honest with him (she was confused about her own feelings), and the next, when she asks him to tell her what was wrong, he refused and told her to let him know when she figured it out. I don't know why that bothered me so much. But it was moments like that that that annoyed me about him. Still, I did enjoy The Five Year Plan overall. It was funny, especially in  those early years, and quite charming.


How are you all holding up during these difficult times? What have you been up to? What are you reading? 


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). 





It was no surprise given your comments which book would come out on top in this month's poll! Little Fires Everywhere received 9 votes and 6 went to The Magicians. Twelve of you voted for the winner, Big Little Lies. I am a couple chapters in now and dying to know what happened and to whom! Somehow I have managed to avoid all spoilers to the book since it first came out.


Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
A murder . . . a tragic accident . . . or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.
But who did what?
Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:
Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).
Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.
New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.
Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive. [Goodreads Summary]

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.

Friday, March 06, 2020

Weekly Mews: Illness,Injuries, Good Books, & My March TBR List Poll (Please Vote!)

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. 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.   I am linking to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Team Tynga's Reviews and Marlene of Reading Reality a meme in which participants share what new books came their way recently. 


Happy March everyone! I really do not want to talk about the American Primary Elections or COVID-19, both topics which seem to be all a lot of people want to talk about out there. It is not that they are not important. Only that I need to tune them (and other worldly concerns) out for a little while for my sanity's sake.  Instead, join me in my happy place--at least for a little while, will you?

New to the Shelves:


Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

I am so excited about Downstairs Girl! I told myself I wouldn't buy a copy, but my will power failed me that day. Murder at Half Moon Gate and Plotting for Murder are books that have been on my wish list a while now--given that I have later books already on my TBR pile. I am back-filling my collection, you could say. And Inherit the Stars is another wish list book that's price was too good to pass up this time around. All four I used gift cards for (I have been hoarding quite a stash, actually), and so no money out of my pocket. Always a plus.

Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think? What books have you added to your shelves recently? 


What I Am Reading: I am nearing the end of The Five-Year Plan by Carla Burgess, a sweet British romance novel. I had actually meant to start In Five Years by Rebecca Serle, but accidentally grabbed the wrong title. It worked out well though. I am enjoying my time with Aiden and Orla. Perhaps I will follow up with In Five Years . . .

What I Am Watching: I have been watching The latest season of The Masked Singer with my family, and am watching the first season of The Runaways. It got off to a slow start, but so far I am enjoying it. I have made it to season 6 of The Vampire Diaries. Much of season 5 I had not seen before, although I had seen the previous seasons. I have mixed feelings about the show at this point, but I am enjoying it still, if not as much as the earlier seasons.

I really want to see the documentary series The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez, which I know will have me in tears for all six episodes. It will be a difficult series to watch, and will hit closer to home than I will probably like, but I have heard it is a must see, especially for those of us on the front lines working with abused and neglected children.

Off the Blog: We have been sick. My husband and I both had colds and sinus trouble this past month. The entire family is still struggling with our allergies. Mouse was on antibiotics for a short while there due to an infection. My husband's knee is giving him trouble, and I hurt my hand/wrist. The pain comes and goes, depending on how much I baby it--unfortunately, it is my dominate hand and so it doesn't get as much rest as it probably needs. I can't put much weight on it, holding anything for long is next to impossible,  and sometimes the pain is quite intense.

Rehearsals are going well for Mouse. She gave a Hip Hop class a try this past month,  but ultimately we decided it was just too much to add on to our already packed schedule right now. The Girl Scout Cookie sale is going well. She will not make her goal--not even close--but honestly, I didn't expect her to given past years' sales. That isn't me being pessimistic. Just reality. The Cookie Season will be wrapping up mid-March as well as her school coding club coming to an end. Mouse has enjoyed learning how to code, and I think would be interested in doing more of it at some point in the future.

Mouse has a birthday coming up very soon. My baby is going to be nine! I look at her, and I just cannot believe how old she is now. It doesn't seem possible so much time has passed by already. She is really excited about her special day.


Here is what I finished reading in February:
  • Stars Beyond (Stars Uncharted, #2) by S.K. Dunstall
  • Mimi Lee Gets a Clue (A Sassy Cat Mystery, #1) by Jennifer J. Chow
  • Doomed to Dance (Ivy + Bean, #6) by Annie Barrows & Sophie Blackall
  • Dear Martin by Nic Stone
  • What's the Big Idea? (Ivy + Bean, #7)
  • Big News! (Emma is on the Air, #1) by Ida Siegal
  • Amelia Bedelia Means Business (#1) by Herman Parish & Lynn Avril
  • The Snatchabook by Helen Docherty & Thomas Docherty
  • The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright & Jim Field
  • The Deep by Alma Katsu
I enjoyed my February reading. I excitedly dived into Stars Beyond, the second in the Stars Uncharted series, and was not disappointed. I discovered a new cozy series featuring a precocious cat that I look forward to reading more of in the future (Mimi Lee Gets a Clue). Then there was Alma Katsu's The Deep, which had so many elements I love in a novel. But my favorite of all was my February TBR Poll winner, Dear Martin. I think my favorite of the books I read with Mouse was Big News! by Ida Siegal. I hope we are able to continue with the series.

I neglected my blog for much of the month, only posting here and there. I did not get around to visiting many of your blogs, for which I am sorry. Part of it was due to my busy schedule, and a bigger part due to my hand/wrist injury. I wish I could say March will be much better, but it will be an even busier month--and I really need to work at resting my wrist (wish me luck with that one).

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


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). 




Are you someone who likes to see the movie/television show before reading the book or do you prefer to read the book first? Or does it not matter? I am definitely a read the book before seeing the screen version kind of person. Most of the time (there are always exceptions).  There are quite a few movies and television shows I have not yet watched because I want to read the book first. Which means I have missed out on a lot of great movies---and shows.

My three options this month are all books that have been turned into television series. Please help me choose which one I should start with! Have you read any of these?

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When the Richardsons' friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family – and Mia's.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of long-held secrets and the ferocious pull of motherhood-and the danger of believing that planning and following the rules can avert disaster, or heartbreak. [Goodreads Summary]

The Magicians by Lev Grossman
A thrilling and original coming-of-age novel for adults about a young man practicing magic in the real world.
Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he’s still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.
He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. Something is missing, though. Magic doesn’t bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he dreamed it would. After graduation he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. But the land of Quentin’s fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he could have imagined. His childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.
At once psychologically piercing and magnificently absorbing, The Magicians boldly moves into uncharted literary territory, imagining magic as practiced by real people, with their capricious desires and volatile emotions. Lev Grossman creates an utterly original world in which good and evil aren’t black and white, love and sex aren’t simple or innocent, and power comes at a terrible price. [Goodreads Summary]

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
A murder . . . a tragic accident . . . or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.
But who did what?

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:
Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive. [Goodreads Summary]


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.

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Can't Wait to Read Wednesday: Dreams Underfoot/The Sea Glass Cottage/The Mountains Sing/Murder at the Mena House



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!


Dreams Underfoot (Newford #1) by Charles de Lint (1993)
Welcome to the music clubs, the waterfront, the alleyways where ancient myths and magic spill into the modern world. Come meet Jilly, painting wonders in the rough city streets; and Geordie, playing fiddle while he dreams of a ghost; and the Angel of Grasso Street gathering the fey and the wild and the poor and the lost. Gemmins live in abandoned cars and skells traverse the tunnels below, while mermaids swim in the grey harbor waters and fill the cold night with their song. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: Charles de Lint has long been hailed one of the trailblazers of modern fantasy and I have yet to read any of his work. I added this to my TBR collection after hearing so many good things about it. I am still anxious to give his work a try.


Have you read anything by Charles de Lint? Does it sound like something you would enjoy?


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 Sea Glass Cottage by RaeAnne Thayne
Release Date: March 17, 2020 by HQN Books
The life Olivia Harper always dreamed of isn’t so dreamy these days. The 16-hour work days are unfulfilling and so are things with her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when she hears that her estranged mother, Juliet, has been seriously injured in a car accident, Liv has no choice but to pack up her life and head home to beautiful Cape Sanctuary on the Northern California coast.

It’s just for a few months—that’s what Liv keeps telling herself. But the closer she gets to Cape Sanctuary, the painful memories start flooding back: Natalie, her vibrant, passionate older sister who downward-spiraled into addiction. The fights with her mother who enabled her sister at every turn. The overdose that took Natalie, leaving her now-teenaged daughter, Caitlin, an orphan.

As Liv tries to balance her own needs with those of her injured mother and an obstinate, resentful fifteen-year-old, it becomes clear that all three Harper women have been keeping heartbreaking secrets from one another. And as those secrets are revealed, Liv, Juliet, and Caitlin will see that it’s never too late—or too early—to heal family wounds and find forgiveness. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: RaeAnne Thayne is one of my favorite romance authors and so when I came across this title, I immediately put it on my wish list. I enjoy stories involving multiple generations of women who must come together and let go of their secrets. Thayne has a way with bringing her characters to life and the issues these women face sound so real and relevant. This sounds like it will be a good one. 


The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai
Release Date: March 17, 2020 by Algonquin Books
With the epic sweep of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko or Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing and the lyrical beauty of Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the Banyan, The Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Trần family, set against the backdrop of the Việt Nam War. Trần Diệu Lan, who was born in 1920, was forced to flee her family farm with her six children during the Land Reform as the Communist government rose in the North. Years later in Hà Nội, her young granddaughter, Hương, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Hồ Chí Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that tore not just her beloved country, but her family apart.

Vivid, gripping, and steeped in the language and traditions of Việt Nam, The Mountains Sing brings to life the human costs of this conflict from the point of view of the Vietnamese people themselves, while showing us the true power of kindness and hope.

The Mountains Sing is celebrated Vietnamese poet Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai’s first novel in English. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: The time period and setting are enough to get my attention on their own. This being a multi-generational tale described as being "steeped in language and traditions" also is a big draw for me. From the country to the culture to the story of a family . . . I imagine this one will have me in tears long before the end. 


Murder at the Mena House by Erica Ruth Neubauer
Release Date: March 31, 2020 by Kensington Books
Well-heeled travelers from around the world flock to the Mena House Hotel--an exotic gem in the heart of Cairo where cocktails flow, adventure dispels the aftershocks of World War I, and deadly dangers wait in the shadows . . .

Egypt, 1926. Fiercely independent American Jane Wunderly has made up her mind: she won't be swept off her feet on a trip abroad. Despite her Aunt Millie's best efforts at meddling with her love life, the young widow would rather gaze at the Great Pyramids of Giza than into the eyes of a dashing stranger. Yet Jane's plans to remain cool and indifferent become ancient history in the company of Mr. Redvers, a roguish banker she can't quite figure out . . .

While the Mena House has its share of charming guests, Anna Stainton isn't one of them. The beautiful socialite makes it clear that she won't share the spotlight with anyone--especially Jane. But Jane soon becomes the center of attention when she's the one standing over her unintentional rival's dead body.

Now, with her innocence at stake in a foreign country, Jane must determine who can be trusted, and who had motive to commit a brutal murder. Between Aunt Millie's unusual new acquaintances, a smarmy playboy with an off-putting smile, and the enigmatic Mr. Redvers, someone has too many secrets. Can Jane excavate the horrible truth before her future falls to ruin in Cairo . . . and the body count rises like the desert heat? [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: A historical mystery set in Cairo! This sound sounds right up my alley. 


Do any of these books interest you? What upcoming releases are you looking forward to 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.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Can't Wait to Read Wednesday: The Garden of Evening Mists/The Henna Artist/A Murderous Relation/Darling Rose Gold



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 Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng (2011)
Malaya, 1951. Yun Ling Teoh, the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the jungle-fringed tea plantations of Cameron Highlands. There she discovers Yugiri, the only Japanese garden in Malaya, and its owner and creator, the enigmatic Aritomo, exiled former gardener of the emperor of Japan. Despite her hatred of the Japanese, Yun Ling seeks to engage Aritomo to create a garden in memory of her sister, who died in the camp. Aritomo refuses but agrees to accept Yun Ling as his apprentice “until the monsoon comes.” Then she can design a garden for herself.

As the months pass, Yun Ling finds herself intimately drawn to the gardener and his art, while all around them a communist guerilla war rages. But the Garden of Evening Mists remains a place of mystery. Who is Aritomo and how did he come to leave Japan? And is the real story of how Yun Ling managed to survive the war perhaps the darkest secret of all? [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: This book landed on my TBR shelves a few years ago after I read a review by fellow blogger Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit. I have read a number of World War II related books over the years, and while I find myself growing more picky about which ones I pick up, this one still appeals to me given its themes and how different it is from other World War fiction I have read.


Have you read The Garden of Evening Mists? If so what did you think? Does this sound like something you would enjoy reading?


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 Henna Artist by Alka Joshi
Release Date: March 3, 2020 by Mira
Lakshmi Shastri has spent years carving out a life for herself as a henna artist after fleeing her abusive husband and backward rural village for the Rajasthan capital. Well-versed in apothecary and the miraculous properties of herbs, her services (the effects of which are far more than just aesthetic) are highly sought after by upper-caste women, and Lakshmi’s success brings her within inches from her, and her country’s, ultimate goal: total independence. That is, until the past she has so desperately tried to run from comes knocking at her door... [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: Overcoming one's past can be quite the struggle, and sometimes it follows us no matter how hard we try to escape it. I am already rooting for Lakshmi and want her to have the future she deserves. 


A Murderous Relation (Veronica Speedwell #5) by Deanna Raybourn
Release Date: March 10, 2020 by Berkley
Veronica Speedwell and her natural historian colleague Stoker are asked by Lady Wellingtonia Beauclerk to help with a potential scandal so explosive it threatens to rock the monarchy. Prince Albert Victor is a regular visitor to the most exclusive private club in London, known as the Club de l'Etoile, and the proprietess, Madame Aurore, has received an expensive gift that can be traced back to the prince. Lady Wellie would like Veronica and Stoker to retrieve the jewel from the club before scandal can break.

Worse yet, London is gripped by hysteria in the autumn of 1888, terrorized by what would become the most notorious and elusive serial killer in history, Jack the Ripper--and Lady Wellie suspects the prince may be responsible.

Veronica and Stoker reluctantly agree to go undercover at Madame Aurore's high class brothel, where another body soon turns up. Many secrets are swirling around Veronica and the royal family--and it's up to Veronica and Stoker to find the truth, before it's too late for all of them. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: I have yet to read any of the books in this series, but this is a good reminder that I need to. I cannot believe book five is coming out already. I have some catching up to do. From the time period to the great things I have heard about this historical mystery series, I just know I will love it.


Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel
Release Date: March 3, 2020 by Berkley
Mothers never forget. Daughters never forgive.

In her compulsive, sharply-drawn debut, Stephanie Wrobel peels back the layers of the most complicated of mother-daughter relationships.

For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair and practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers and offering shoulders to cry on, but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.

Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.

After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go and begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes.

Patty insists all she wants is to reconcile their differences. She says she's forgiven Rose Gold for turning her in and testifying against her. But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty Watts always settles a score.

Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling...

And she's waited such a long time for her mother to come home. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: Not too long ago there was a news story about a woman who suffered from Munchhausen Syndrome by Proxy, subjecting her daughter to medical tests and surgeries and the like, convincing everyone her daughter was seriously ill. When I read the description of this novel, I immediately thought of that story. I can't resist a straight from the headlines thriller.


Do any of these books interest you? What upcoming releases are you looking forward to 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.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Six Degrees of Separation: Fleishman is in Trouble to The Maltese Falcon


Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate of Books Are My Favourite and Best in which our lovely host chooses a book and participants take it from there: creating a chain of books, each connected to the one before. Seeing where we end up is half the fun! 


This month's featured title is Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner, a novel about a 40-something year old man who is at the top of his game. Divorced, a successful career, kids on the weekends, and women at his beck and call. But now his ex-wife has disappeared, and he is forced to take a hard look at his life.


Fleishman was able to line up a different hook-up every night through a dating app. Which made me think of Lost in Geeklandia (Geeklandia #1) by E.J. Russell, a novel about an introverted computer engineer who has created the perfect matchmaking program. An investigative reporter is determined to prove the program is a scam and save his previously damaged reputation.  This was a fun romance that reminded me of the movie How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days.


Like Daniel Shaw, the reporter in Lost in Geeklandia, Coleridge Taylor is a down on his luck reporter, kicked off his beat, and desperate to regain his reputation in Last Words (Coleridge Taylor Mystery #1) by Rich Zahradnik, which is is set in New York City, 1973. Zahradnik captures the time period so well as his character follows a lead that takes him to the streets with the homeless community to the filthy rich. This is one of my favorite mysteries series.


Last Words' Taylor lost his brother in the Vietnam War. Tatjana Soli's The Lotus Eaters is set in Vietnam during the war, also in 1975, about an American photojournalist who has fallen in love with a Vietnamese man. The Lotus Eaters is one of my all-time favorite novels: beautiful, dark, and thought provoking.


Another novel with a flower in the title is Mercedes Lackey's The Fire Rose. San Francisco in the early 1900’s is the perfect backdrop for this Beauty and the Beast re-telling. Women have their place in society but are making definite movement towards beginning their struggle for equality. Rose is a woman who has never been content in a traditional role, wanting to get a doctorate and stand on her own two feet. She wears glasses, thinks herself rather plain and is a bookworm. The perfect heroine for this book.


Perhaps then it would seem an odd jump to go from a character like Rose to one like Samuel Spade in The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, Spade being a quintessential ladies' man. The novel is also set in San Francisco, although a few years in the future. Spade is a private investigator who takes on a case to find a woman's missing sister--only nothing goes as planned. I can see why so many mystery authors have been influenced by Dashiell Hammett's writings, including this classic.


Following a chain from a troubled man who relies on a dating app to get women; a reporter determined to write an exposé on a new matchmaking app; another newsman trying to repair his tattered reputation who lost his brother in the Vietnam War; to a photojournalist who has captured so much of the Vietnam War on film and struggles with where she fits in. And from there we go to San Francisco where a woman determines she must uncover the real reason behind her employer's secrecy and secluded lifestyle leading us then to a private investigator whose search for his client's sister turns into a search for a jewel-encrusted bird. From Fleishman is in Trouble to The Maltese Falcon.

Did you participate in this month's Six Degrees of Separation?


March's chain will begin with Wolfe Island by Lucy Treloar
I hope you will join in and give it a try!

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