Saturday, October 20, 2018

Mouse's Corner, Sunday Edition: OC Children's Book Festival

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.

We recently attended the OC Children's Book Festival with Mouse's Girl Scout troop. We had a chance to wander around and attend a few of the talks at the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) stage. It was a lot of fun. I just wish we had been able to stop and chat with a few more of the authors at their booths. It was a beautiful day for a book festival.

With the ease of access to the internet by children today, teaching cyber safety is even more important than it ever has been before. As a parent, I want to know the best ways to protect my daughter, and I also want her to know how to navigate the internet safely on her own.

Once a Girl Scout herself, author and teacher Kimberly Franklin invited our Girl Scout troop to help with her Max and the Mouse Safe in Cyberspace presentation, along side the author's granddaughters. The girls learned the ABC's of online safety and were each given a copy of the book. Kimberly Franklin even offered to arrange to come speak with the troop at one of their upcoming meetings! After the talk and the girls had earned their Cyber Safety Certificates, we gathered outside for autographs and pictures.

Author Kimberly Franklin and her amazing granddaughters, Lunabelle & Cassandra-Jadel

Mouse & author Kimbery Franklin

We had a little time to spare before attending the next couple of presentations we hoped to see. Some of the girls went off to have lunch, while others wandered through the festival. 

Animal and Nature Stage

John Archambault singing his book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Author Donna Zellers signing her book Witches Ball for Mouse

Mouse fell in love with author Laura Knight whose presentation of her two books Spot: A Sea Pup's Survival Guide and Kid Astronaut: Space Adventure, was quite a hit with the girls. Kid Astronaut especially caught Mouse's attention. A choose your own adventure story written in screenplay form, it was right up Mouse's alley. We met up with the author at her booth later that afternoon and she took the time to read more of her book with Mouse. Kid Astronaut was the first book Mouse could not wait to read when she got home. 

Author Laura Knight

The big event of the day was getting the opportunity to meet astronaut and artist, Nicole Stott. The room was crowded, with people standing up along the walls. Ms. Stott talked about her background and what led her to where she is today. She mentioned that research has shown that boys can look at anyone, no matter their gender, and see themselves striving toward whatever goal they set their minds to. Girls, however, tend to look for the women in the crowd. That's one of the reasons she puts herself out there and talks about her experiences. So girls can see what is possible--and perhaps aim even higher.

Instead of lecturing to the group, Ms. Stott opened the floor to questions right away. Hands shot up, especially among the children. We learned it takes the shuttle 8 1/2 minutes to get into orbit, what the astronauts ate in space, what life was like on the space station, what it felt like to be weightless and how it felt when returning to earth. She talked about her experience water painting in space.  She also told us that plans are being made for humanity to set up camp on the moon--or rather in a moon cave. Ms. Stott discussed how well the astronauts from around the world worked together on the space station no matter the country they came from.

Astronaut Nicole Stott

Mouse ended her day at the festival with a couldn't-pass-up jump in a bounce house. And then it was time to head home.

New to Mouse's Shelves:

Surprisingly, we only came home with four books from the book festival. I let Mouse take the lead, otherwise, I would have probably come home with a lot more.

Witches Ball by Donna Zellers, illustrated by Jack Rogers
Superhero Kids: Saving and Investing Book by Hugh Nguyen, illustrated by Maruf Hasan
Max and the Mouse Safe in Cyberspace by Kimberly Franklin, illustrated by Justine Armentrout

Some of the books Mouse has read this month (along with Amelia Bedelia, Rainbow Magic, and ABC  Calendar Mysteries):
Part-Time Princess by Part-time Princess by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Cambria Evans
Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel
Dog on a Frog by Dog on a Frog? by Kes Gray, Claire Gray, Jim Field
Creepy Carrots! by Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown
Fancy Nancy: Fancy Day in Room 1-A by Jane O'Connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser & Ted Enik
Pet Parade by Daisy Meadows
You're Safe With Me by by Chitra Soundar, illustrated by Poonam Mistry
Splat the Cat: I Scream for Ice Cream by Rob Scotton, Laura Driscoll & Robert Eberz
A Unicorn Named Sparkle by Amy Young
Camilla, the Cupcake Fairy by Tim Bugbird

I hope you all had a great week! What have you been up to? What are you reading? 

Happy Reading!

© 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, October 16, 2018

Waiting to Read Wednesday (#19)

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 Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna van Praag
(Ballantine, 2014)
For fans of Alice Hoffman, Sarah Addison Allen, and Adriana Trigiani, The Dress Shop of Dreams is a captivating novel of enduring hopes, second chances, and the life-changing magic of true love.

Since her parents’ mysterious deaths many years ago, scientist Cora Sparks has spent her days in the safety of her university lab or at her grandmother Etta’s dress shop. Tucked away on a winding Cambridge street, Etta’s charming tiny store appears quite ordinary to passersby, but the colorfully vibrant racks of beaded silks, delicate laces, and jewel-toned velvets hold bewitching secrets: With just a few stitches from Etta’s needle, these gorgeous gowns have the power to free a woman’s deepest desires.

Etta’s dearest wish is to work her magic on her granddaughter. Cora’s studious, unromantic eye has overlooked Walt, the shy bookseller who has been in love with her forever. Determined not to allow Cora to miss her chance at happiness, Etta sews a tiny stitch into Walt’s collar, hoping to give him the courage to confess his feelings to Cora. But magic spells—like true love—can go awry. After Walt is spurred into action, Etta realizes she’s set in motion a series of astonishing events that will transform Cora’s life in extraordinary and unexpected ways.
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: I fell in love with The House at the End of Hope Street and meant to read this one as soon as it came out. Only, it has ended up sitting on my shelf waiting instead. Doesn't this sound delightful? I am sure I will enjoy it!

No Humans Involved (Otherworld #7) by Kelley Armstrong
(Bantam Spectra, 2007)
In her acclaimed Women of the Otherworld series, bestselling author Kelley Armstrong creates a present day in which humans unwittingly coexist with werewolves, witches, and other supernatural beings. Now, in this spellbinding new novel, a beautiful necromancer who can see ghosts must come to terms with her power—and with an evil she never thought possible.

It’s the most anticipated reality television event of the season: three spiritualists gathered together in one house to raise the ghost of Marilyn Monroe. For celebrity medium Jaime Vegas, it is to be her swan song—one last publicity blast for a celebrity on the wrong side of forty. But unlike her colleagues, who are more show than substance, Jaime is the real thing.

Reluctant to upstage her fellow spiritualists, Jaime tries to suppress her talents, as she has done her entire life. But there is something lurking in the maze of gardens behind the house: a spirit without a voice. And it won’t let go until somehow Jaime hears its terrible story. For the first time in her life, Jaime Vegas understands what humans mean when they say they are haunted. Distraught, Jaime looks to fellow supernatural Jeremy Danvers for help.

As the touches and whispers from the garden grow more frantic, Jaime and Jeremy embark on an investigation into a Los Angeles underworld of black magic and ritual sacrifice. When events culminate in a psychic showdown, Jaime must use the darkest power she has to defeat a shocking enemy—one whose malicious force comes from the last realm she expected. . . .

In a world whose surface resembles our own, Kelley Armstrong delivers a stunning alternate reality, one where beings of the imagination live, love, and fight a never-ending battle between good and evil.  [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: I seem to be stuck in the middle of quite a few series (I can't stop myself from starting new ones, what can I say?) I have enjoyed this series quite a bit and need to get back to it. I bought a copy of this book when it first came out in hardback. 


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.

Deadly News (A Britton Bay Mystery #1) by Jody Holford
Release Date: October 30, 2018 by Lyrical Underground
Former Army brat Molly Owens is ready to put down roots, and the picturesque seaside town of Britton Bay on the Oregon Coast seems like the perfect place for it. Especially when she lands a job as editor of the local paper. But she’s got one colleague who’s very bad news . . .

As an experienced journalist, Molly is eager to bring the struggling Britton Bay Bulletin up to speed. But when she pushes Vernon, one of her less welcoming reporters, to dig a little deeper into the story of a prominent local family, the man ends up dead. The fact that he wasn’t well-liked makes finding the killer extra complicated. The lists of suspects range from his ex-wife to his own son to Molly’s boss, who has a secret of his own. But when Molly’s attempts to sleuth out the truth result in her receiving frightening threats, the trouble is just beginning . . .

The one bright spot is Molly’s newfound flirtation with Sam Alderich. The sexy mechanic is used to taking things apart and piecing them back together, and between the two of them they just might be able to solve this deadly puzzle—if Molly can survive peaceful small-town life long enough . . .
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: If the cute puppy on the cover isn't enough to pull me in, it certainly might be the fact that the heroine is a military brat--something I can relate to. This cozy mystery sounds like fun, and I look forward to reading it.

The Ice Maiden by Sara Sheridan
Release Date: November 1, 2018 by Severn House
As she stows away on a ship bound for Antarctica, a young woman uncovers a shocking betrayal. 
1842. Stranded on Deception Island in the South Atlantic, her whaling captain husband lost at sea, Karina is destitute and desperate. Disguised as a cabin boy, she stows away on a British ship. But Karina is about to get a nasty surprise. 
As she grows closer to ship's surgeon Joseph Hooker, Karina and the rest of the crew find themselves pushed to the limits both physically and emotionally as conditions worsen onboard. Engulfed in the chillingly hostile Antarctic landscape, something extraordinary happens - and Karina's story becomes intertwined with some of the 20th century's bravest Polar explorers ... [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: A woman who disguises herself as a boy, betrayal, Antarctica, and stuck in a dire situation . . . . I must know how it all plays out! 

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
Release Date: November 6, 2018 by Jimmy Patterson Books (Little, Brown & Company)
Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It's the highest honor they could hope for...and the most cruel.

But this year, there's a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she's made of fire.

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it's Lei they're after--the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king's interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king's consort. But Lei isn't content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable--she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she's willing to go for justice and revenge.

TW: violence and sexual abuse [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: I admit the trigger warning which includes sexual abuse gives me pause, but the premise of this new fantasy novel has me wanting to read it just the same. I want to know more about Lei and see her win in the end (I sure hope she wins!). The Malaysian influence on this fantasy novel also is a draw for me.

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

© 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.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: The Diving Pool by Yōko Ogawa

It's always warm here: I feel as though I've been swallowed by a huge animal. ~ Opening of The Diving Pool

The Diving Pool: Three Novellas  by Yōko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder
Picador, 2008 (originally published 1990)
Fiction (Short Stories); 164 pgs

This was my first experience reading this author. I have had this little slip of a book sitting on my shelf for quite a while now, but am just now getting to it. I have mixed feelings about each of the stories. The first with the same title as the collection, The Diving Pool, about a girl with a crush on her foster brother, took me by surprise in the cruelty of the main character. She is the only child to parents who run the Light House, an orphanage. She has seen children come and go from the home, never quite feeling the sense of family life—or that of a home—she wishes she could have. Something normal. She is lonely and bitter. And at times jealous. Jun, the boy she has a crush on, has lived at the Light House for a number of years, the two growing up together in a sense. As Aya secretly watches Jun, sneaking into the pool where he dives every day, observing him at home and plotting to run into him at various times where they can be alone, she does not realize that Jun is also aware of her. He sees how she treats others and knows she visits the pool where he dives. I was satisfied with the way this story was wrapped up, but overall found it disturbing and at times difficult to stomach.

The second story titled Pregnancy Diary was interesting to say the least. An unmarried woman is living with her sister and her husband. She keeps a diary of her sister’s pregnancy, noting the moment the pregnancy was announced to her sister’s behavior and habits during the pregnancy. The woman records her own feelings of discontent and even disgust and eventual retaliation. The story takes a dark turn, just as the first one did, and the reader cannot help but wonder what is real and what isn’t. Not to mention what it is behind the disturbing thoughts and actions of the narrator.

The final story in this trilogy of novellas, Dormitory, is about a woman waiting for word from her husband about their pending move out of the country. She is feeling restless and lonely when approached by a young cousin setting off to college. He needs a place to stay, and she recommends the old dormitory in which she had once stayed. When she first takes her cousin to meet the landlord of the building, I could not help but feel sorry for the landlord. Armless and with one-leg, he has managed to get along on his own for many years, and yet it is clear he is lonely and his health his beginning to fail. The young wife returns to the dormitory under the guise of wanting to visit her cousin (who is never there), and often falls into conversation with the landlord. He tells her the story of a missing student, the subsequent police investigation, and the decrease in interest in his dormitory by students that followed. The story then takes a weird turn, which I have come to expect from Ogawa. Would this turn into a mystery to be solved or a horror story? I wasn’t sure. The ending was a surprise, and I am still not sure what to make of it.

I imagine each reader could take something different away from these three stories. There is a lot left open for interpretation. When all is said and done, my favorite is probably the first story, even despite how disturbed I was by it, only because I seemed to have a better handle on what that story was about. Did I like this collection? I am not sure I can say yes. Not exactly. These three stories will definitely stay with me awhile though. Haunting, indeed.

For more information about the author and her books, visit her author page on Goodreads.

© 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.

My October TBR List Poll 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). 

(last night)

I do not think I have ever had such a close race between all three titles. When I went to close the poll last night, I discovered I had a three way tie. I sent out a tweet asking for help in breaking it--only for it to land in another three way tie! While I would love to read all three books this month, I know that is not realistic. So, I turned to my daughter this morning. She examined the covers, considered the titles, and chose the ultimate winner (because of the lion, she told me).
(this morning after my daughter's vote)

I may still try to read all three. We'll see . . .

The winner is: Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews
Thank you to all who took the time to vote! 

© 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, October 09, 2018

Waiting to Read Wednesday (#18)

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!

U is for Undertow (Kinsey Millhone #21) by Sue Grafton (Putnam, 2009)
It's April 1988, a month before Kinsey Millhone's thirty-eighth birthday, and she's alone in her office catching up on paperwork when a young man arrives unannounced. He has a preppy air about him and looks as if he'd be carded if he tried to buy a beer, but Michael Sutton is twenty-seven, an unemployed college dropout. More than two decades ago, a four-year-old girl disappeared, and a recent newspaper story about her kidnapping has triggered a flood of memories. Sutton now believes he stumbled on her lonely burial and could identify the killers if he saw them again. He wants Kinsey's help in locating the grave and finding the men. It's way more than a long shot, but he's persistent and willing to pay cash up front. Reluctantly, Kinsey agrees to give him one day of her time.

But it isn't long before she discovers Sutton has an uneasy relationship with the truth. In essence, he's the boy who cried wolf. Is his story true, or simply one more in a long line of fabrications?

Moving between the 1980s and the 1960s, and changing points of view as Kinsey pursues witnesses whose accounts often clash, Grafton builds multiple subplots and memorable characters. Gradually we see how everything connects in this thriller. And as always, at the heart of her fiction is Kinsey Millhone, a sharp-tongued, observant loner who never forgets that under the thin veneer of civility is a roiling dark side to the soul. [
Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: Sue Grafton's series is one of my favorite all-time mystery series, but I have not yet managed to read all the books in the series. Yet. This is next up. I just need to make time for it.


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.

Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy
Date of Release: October 23, 2018 by William Morrow
A bold, heartfelt tale of life at Green Gables . . . before Anne: A marvelously entertaining and moving historical novel, set in rural Prince Edward Island in the nineteenth century, that imagines the young life of spinster Marilla Cuthbert, and the choices that will open her life to the possibility of heartbreak—and unimaginable greatness

Plucky and ambitious, Marilla Cuthbert is thirteen years old when her world is turned upside down. Her beloved mother has dies in childbirth, and Marilla suddenly must bear the responsibilities of a farm wife: cooking, sewing, keeping house, and overseeing the day-to-day life of Green Gables with her brother, Matthew and father, Hugh.

In Avonlea—a small, tight-knit farming town on a remote island—life holds few options for farm girls. Her one connection to the wider world is Aunt Elizabeth “Izzy” Johnson, her mother’s sister, who managed to escape from Avonlea to the bustling city of St. Catharines. An opinionated spinster, Aunt Izzy’s talent as a seamstress has allowed her to build a thriving business and make her own way in the world.

Emboldened by her aunt, Marilla dares to venture beyond the safety of Green Gables and discovers new friends and new opportunities. Joining the Ladies Aid Society, she raises funds for an orphanage run by the Sisters of Charity in nearby Nova Scotia that secretly serves as a way station for runaway slaves from America. Her budding romance with John Blythe, the charming son of a neighbor, offers her a possibility of future happiness—Marilla is in no rush to trade one farm life for another. She soon finds herself caught up in the dangerous work of politics, and abolition—jeopardizing all she cherishes, including her bond with her dearest John Blythe. Now Marilla must face a reckoning between her dreams of making a difference in the wider world and the small-town reality of life at Green Gables.
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: Mostly because Sarah McCoy's name is on this one. I have yet to read a book by her I have not liked. Although I haven't yet read Anne of Green Gables, this novel sounds good on its own.

Well-Read Black Girls edited by Glory Edim
Release Date: October 30, 2018 by Ballantine Books
An inspiring collection of essays by black women writers, curated by the founder of the popular book club Well-Read Black Girl, on the importance of recognizing ourselves in literature.  
Remember that moment when you first encountered a character who seemed to be written just for you? That feeling of belonging can stick with readers the rest of their lives--but it doesn't come around as frequently for all of us. In this timely anthology, "well-read black girl" Glory Edim brings together original essays by some of our best black female writers and creative voices to shine a light on how we search for ourselves in literature, and how important it is that everyone--no matter their gender, race, religion, or abilities--can find themselves there. Whether it's learning about the complexities of femalehood from Their Eyes Were Watching God, seeing a new type of love in The Color Purple, or using mythology to craft an alternative black future, each essay reminds us why we turn to books in times of both struggle and relaxation. As she has done with her incredible book-club-turned-online-community Well-Read Black Girl, in this book, Edim has created a space where black women's writing and knowledge and life experiences are lifted up, to be shared with all readers who value the power of a story to help us understand the world, and ourselves.

Contributors include: Jesmyn Ward (
Sing Unburied Sing), Lynn Nottage (Sweat), Jacqueline Woodson (Another Brooklyn), Gabourey Sidibe (This Is Just My Face), Morgan Jerkins (This Will Be My Undoing), Zinzi Clemmons (What We Lose), N. K. Jemisin (The Fifth Season), Tayari Jones (An American Marriage), Nicole Dennis-Benn (Here Comes the Sun), Rebecca Walker (Black, White and Jewish), and more.  [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: One of my favorite quotes about reading is about how a reader can find pieces of themselves scattered in the books we read. I can't remember who said it. It is probably from some random meme on Facebook or Pinterest. Regardless, it is true. And unfortunately, not everyone is able to see themselves as clearly in books as others of us. Whether it be the color of our skin, gender or sexual identity, religion or abilities, among other things. I am so excited about this book, and I am looking forward to reading each of these amazing women's essays.

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

© 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.