Saturday, September 22, 2018

Mouse's Corner, The Sunday Edition: Smile by Raina Telgemeier

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.

Happy Sunday! Sundays here have become Mouse's Just Dance days. Just Dance is an interactive game in which Mouse dances to songs in the game and earns points. Sometimes her dad and I join in. It is a good work out!

Mouse is almost a month and a half into the second grade, can you believe it? We are finally settling into our routine for the school year, balancing school and extracurricular activities. Both Girl Scouts and rehearsals for The Nutcracker kicked off earlier this month. There were also princess birthday parties for Mouse's friends, and, all on her own, Mouse started her very own vlog series. So far she has had a prince week, a dragon week, and a Halloween edition. (I am afraid her vlog is not available for the general public--it is strictly an offline affair.)

New to the Shelves: 

Mouse's Book Fair purchases:

Battle of the Bands and Scarlet's Big Break (Major Eights) 
by Melody Reed, illustrated by Émilie Pépin

Barbie You Can Be a Soccer Player
Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures: The Great Cake Race

Half Birthday Gift (picked out by herself):

The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey

What Mouse is Reading: Mouse and her dad did quite a bit of reading together this past summer. Right now they are reading On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers.  I am a little sad she has not asked me to read her more of War and Peace or Les Miserables in the last couple months. Oh well.

On her own, Mouse is currently reading January Joker (Calendar Mysteries) by Ron Roy. She seems to like mysteries.

Mouse's first read for the school year was Raina Telgemeier's graphic memoir, Smile, which she checked out of her classroom library. I had heard of it, but hadn't read it before. Mouse really took to it and enjoyed reading it. I thought it was quite ambitious of her given it's length. One night I took the opportunity to read it for myself and enjoyed it. I can see why Mouse took to it. Raina, like her, is a Girl Scout, and even though Raina is in sixth grade at the beginning of the novel, she is very relateable. 

Smile (Smile #1) by Raina Telgemeier  
Scholastic, 2009
Nonfiction (Graphic Novel); 224 pgs
Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth, and what follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there’s still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly. This coming-of-age true story is sure to resonate with anyone who has ever been in middle school, and especially those who have ever had a bit of their own dental drama. [Goodreads Summary]

I think the opening picture of the Raina and her family going into the dentist's office is a great opening to the story, especially given the context. See how Raina hangs behind? It's clear she doesn't want to be there. The panels that follow say a lot in few words. "Smile!!" And then the camera goes off. The awkwardness of the moment is captured so well.

From page 56:

 These few panels resonate with me. Raina does not like that she has to wear not only braces, but headgear as well. Her mom tries to comfort her by telling her it is something other kids go through too, but do not talk about it. Raina makes a good point in the last two panels on the page. "Well, Maybe someone should start talking about it!!" And silently adds, "Maybe it would make us feel less like freaks." This could apply to so many different experiences and aspects of life . . .

Raina was younger during the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989, and a lot closer to the epicenter than I was. Reading about her experience brought back memories just the same. In fact, a lot of the little details throughout the novel reminded me of my own growing up years. I never had to wear braces, but Mouse likely will. She may not remember this book when the time comes, but it might be one to have on hand and revisit.

I admit to being a little concerned about the section about Raina and her friends hitting puberty, but in the end felt it was age appropriate. I am glad I read the book myself so that I was able to help her with any questions she had.

Mouse gave this book five stars, and I have to say I liked it quite a bit too. The artwork was engaging and Raina Telgemeier's story is one I think will appeal to all ages.

Some of Mouse's other recent reads (and re-reads):
The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation (The Princess in Black #4) by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey
Junie B. Jones and Some Sneaky Peeky Spying (Junie B. Jones #4) by Barbara Park, illustrated by Denise Brunkus
Dear Girl, by Dear Girl, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal, illustrated by Holly Hatam
Pinkalicious: Mother's Day Surprise by Victoria Kann

Flashlight Friday at school

© 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.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Where Is Your Bookmark? (A Peek Into Phoenix Unbound/Cloudy Covers/Polygamous Reading)

I am just over halfway through Lyndsay Faye's Jane Steele and enjoying it quite a bit. Unfortunately, I was in a position yesterday in which I didn't have my copy handy (it's a trade paperback), and so I started reading Grace Draven's Phoenix Unbound on my phone.  I am already hooked.

A woman with power over fire and illusion and an enslaved son of a chieftain battle a corrupt empire in this powerful and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.

Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire's capital--her fate to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village's tithe has been the same woman. Gilene's sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses.

But this year is different.

Azarion, the Empire's most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion--and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery. And unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.

To protect her family and village, she will risk everything to return to the Empire--and burn once more.  [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.
For Gilene, spring was the season neither of rain or planting, but of suffering. 
She waited beside her mother, sister, and brothers as the caravan of shackled women plodded down Beroe's market street toward the town square. The slavers of the Empire guided the line, shoving their cargo forward with harsh commands and the occasional warning crack of a whip. 
My thoughts: Already the oppressiveness of living under the Empire's rule can be felt in just those first two paragraphs.


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.
Summer had finally settled hard on the steppes, chasing away the rains that had lingered for weeks and turned the land into a vast quagmire. The relentless wet had left everyone and everything a soggy, miserable pile of foul-smelling wool. The people, the sheep, the qaras, They all reeked and were in desperate need of drying out. Only the horse herds and the wandering chickens escaped the stench. Today was the first dry day, and the wind galloping across the plains was finally dry instead of damp.  [56%]

My thoughts: I feel miserable just reading this scene. Wet and uncomfortable. It seems like they are in for some relief, at least weather wise.

What do you think? Does this sound like book you would be interested in reading? 

Originally hosted by Books by Proxy, Friday Face Off is now hosted by the fabulous Lynn of  Lynn’s Book Blog. Participants are asked to feature two more more covers of the same book with the week's assigned theme, and pick a favorite. 

This week the theme is a book whose cover features clouds ~ I wandered lonely as a cloud.

I read She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb years ago. I remember being really moved by it.

I found quite a few covers for this one, not all of which I included believe it or not. My personal copy of the book matches the cover in the last row on the left, the head surrounded by water coming out of the water. My favorite of the covers is actually the top middle one with the blue dress. It's simple and yet detailed, and I just love the blue hues. 

Which cover do you prefer? 


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 like to finish one book before starting the next or do you read several at once? (submitted by Cathy @What Cathy Read Next)
I used to be a monogamous reader, preferring to finish one book before starting another. When I began listening to audiobooks, I realized that was not very realistic, especially given how long it takes me to get through just one audiobook. And then I began juggling more than one book at a time, depending on where I was at any given moment and how best to sneak in some reading time. A paper book, a book on my e-reader and another on my phone perhaps? Sometimes it's a matter of wanting something quick to read while in the middle of a longer book. Or something funny and light to take the edge of a more serious or depressing read.

I currently am taking part in two different year long read-alongs, one for Les Misérables and another for War and Peace. As a result, I have had at least three books going at once, sometimes more (four right now, in fact), since the beginning of the year. My fear of forgetting or not being able to keep a story straight hasn't been a problem, thankfully, even when the books are in similar genres. Sometimes I do struggle with which book to read when they all are good

What about 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.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Waiting to Read Wednesday (#15)

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!

Anne Frank: The Book, the Life, the Afterlife by Francine Prose
(Harper Collins, 2010)
In Anne Frank: The Book, the Life, the Afterlife, Francine Prose, author of Reading Like a Writer, deftly parses the artistry, ambition, and enduring influence of Anne Frank’s beloved classic, The Diary of a Young Girl. Approved by both the Anne Frank House Foundation in Amsterdam and the Anne Frank-Fonds in Basel, run by the Frank family, this work of literary criticism unravels the complex, fascinating story of the diary and effectively makes the case for it being a work of art from a precociously gifted writer. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: The Diary of a Young Girl made quite an impression on me when I first read it as it has many people over the years. Francine Prose's book about the famous classic caught my attention years ago. I am looking forward to reading this one.

Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables #1) by L.M. Montgomery (Puffin Classics, originally published in 1908)
As soon as Anne Shirley arrives at the snug white farmhouse called Green Gables, she is sure she wants to stay forever . . . but will the Cuthberts send her back to to the orphanage? Anne knows she's not what they expected—a skinny girl with fiery red hair and a temper to match. If only she can convince them to let her stay, she'll try very hard not to keep rushing headlong into scrapes and blurting out the first thing that comes to her mind. Anne is not like anyone else, the Cuthberts agree; she is special—a girl with an enormous imagination. This orphan girl dreams of the day when she can call herself Anne of Green Gables. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: It is true. I have never read Anne of Green Gables. I bought a copy a couple of years ago so that when the time comes, my daughter might read it. Maybe we will read it together--or me alone. Sometimes giving in to peer pressure is worth 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.

The Sadness of Beautiful Things: Stories by Simon Van Booy
Release Date: October 2, 2018 by Penguin Books
An exquisite new collection of short stories from award-winning author Simon Van Booy.

Over the past decade, Simon Van Booy has been listening to people's stories. With these personal accounts as a starting point, he has crafted a powerful collection of short fiction that takes readers into the innermost lives of everyday people. From a family saved from ruin by a mysterious benefactor, to a downtrodden boxer who shows unexpected kindness to a mugger, these masterfully written tales reveal not only the precarious balance maintained between grief and happiness in our lives, but also how the echoes of personal tragedy can shape us for the better.
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: Simon Van Booy has a way with words that I find irresistible. Where he is writing a novel or short stories, I find myself lost in his words, his characters coming to life. 

Shadow of The Fox (Shadow of the Fox #1) by Julie Kagawa
Release Date: October 2, 2018 by Harlequin Teen
One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: Julie Kagawa is another one of those author's whose work I have been wanting to try, but have yet to do so. The Shadow of the Fox seems like a great place to start. I love the sound of this one!

The Hollow of Fear (Lady Sherlock #3) by Sherry Thomas
Release Date: October 2, 2018 by Berkley
Charlotte Holmes, Lady Sherlock, returns in the Victorian-set mystery series from the USA Today bestselling author of A Conspiracy in Belgravia and A Study in Scarlet Women, an NPR Best Book of 2016.

Under the cover of "Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective," Charlotte Holmes puts her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. Aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, Charlotte draws those in need to her and makes it her business to know what other people don't. When her dear friend Lord Ingram stands accused of the murder of his estranged wife, Charlotte goes under disguise to help prove his innocence to Scotland Yard. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read it: I know, I know. When am I going to read the first two books in this series. Soon. I am sure I will love this series.

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.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall 2018 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely Jana at The Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is the Books On My Fall 2018 TBR. As I do every time I make one of these lists, it comes with a disclaimer. This is merely a list of books I would like to read this fall, but make no promises that I will. It's a rare season I actually do accomplish an entire list, given my penchant for falling into other books so easily--books not on the list. I do love making these lists though, so here goes . . .

Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley ~ This classic horror novel of a scientist and his attempt at creating and better understanding life has long been on my TBR shelf, and this year may be the year I read it! Hopefully.

Making the Monster: The Science Behind Mary Shelley's Frankenstein by Kathryn Harkup ~ A look into Mary Shelley's life, and what was going on in the time she came up with the idea for Frankenstein, including the science trends of the time. I wish I could remember who it was who recommended this would be a good companion read to Frankenstein. It sure sounds like it, doesn't it?

It's a Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt ~ The grim reaper collected 17 year old RJ's soul a bit too early, and now she must replay three moments in her life and make choices that will win her back her soul. This one promises to be a bit quirky and funny.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman ~ A young man is accepted into an unusual college, one of magic. I really want to watch the TV show, but will not let myself until I read the book. Most people I know loved it. 

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli ~ A coming of age story about a gay teenager. That's an understatement, isn't it? I have heard nothing but great things about Albertalli's novel and have wanted to read it for some time now. Plus, there's the movie. I can't see the movie until I read the book.

Seal's Honor by Megan Crane ~ The murder of her roommate has Everly seeking help from her brother's old friend, an ex-army SEAL living in Alaska. Romance and suspense all wrapped up in one book. A nice escape that hopefully will make me swoon and keep me on the edge of my seat.

When Winter Comes by V.A. Shannon ~ Memories of the Donner Party's attempt to cross the Sierra Mountains in 1846 have long haunted her, but it is a secret she felt she must keep to protect her own past. Many of my summers were spent in Donner Pass, not too far from where the Donner Party fought for their survival. It's a time period in history that I have always felt connected to as a result.

Go to My Grave by Catriona McPherson ~ The opening of a bed and breakfast, something seems to familiar to the guests, and a broken vow leading to a deadly game. This sounds like it will keep me up all night. I do enjoy McPherson's writing.

Séances Are for Suckers (An Eleanor Wilde Mystery #1) by Tamara Berry ~ Ellie Wilde is a ghost hunter who doesn't believe in ghosts. I like Ellie already.

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox ~ A family forced out of town because of scandal in 1821 and take up residence at Willow Hall, with all its dark secrets. I do love a good Gothic novel.

Have you read any of these? What books are on your fall TBR pile?

© 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, September 16, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: Scandal Above Stairs by Jennifer Ashley

The clatter of crockery on the flagstone floor broke my heart. ~ Opening of Scandal Above Stairs

Scandal Above Stairs (Kat Holloway, #2) by Jennifer Ashley
Berkley, 2018
Crime Fiction (Historical/Cozy); 320 pgs
Source: First Reads Program

Kat Holloway takes great pride in her work as head cook for a respected family. She also has a nose for getting to the source of a problem, even if it is the theft of priceless artwork or, God forbid murder. When asked by Miss Cynthia, one of her employers to look into the theft of artwork in one of Cynthia’s friend’s wealthy friends, Kat cannot say no. Could the theft be tied to the recent disappearance of antiques from not only private collections in homes but also the British Museum as well? Searching out her good friend, the mysterious Daniel McAdam, Kat finds him playing pawnbroker out to catch a thief of his own. Only, a murder with Daniel as the lead suspect raises the stakes.

There is a new character thrown into the mix in Scandal Above Stairs, a woman McAdam has sent Kat’s way who seems to be in need of some good polishing and help. Tess is street smart and not always the most eloquent, but a quick learner and Kat decides to give her a chance, despite her reservations—and suspicions that Tess is keeping secrets.

I have so much love for this series. I enjoyed this book just as much, if not more, than the first. We get a little more of a glimpse into who Daniel McAdam is—although he is still a mystery. McAdam is quite devoted to our clever and level-headed cook, even if f she is reluctant to admit it. It was also good to join up with some of my other favorite characters from the series, including the eccentric Miss Cynthia and Mr. Thanos, and Daniel McAdam’s son James. I love how Kat has taken James under her wing and is so protective of him. She can relate somewhat to his situation given her own with her daughter Grace.

The mystery in Scandal Above Stairs kept me guessing, taking the reader from the high end homes of the wealthy to the seedy underbelly of London. Seeing Kat in action is always a pleasure, and I most enjoy getting to know and spending time with the various characters in Jennifer Ashley’s series.

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.