Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Waiting to Read Wednesday: Crime and Poetry, The Affair of the Mysterious Letter, The Stationery Shop, & The Lemon Sisters

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!

Crime and Poetry (A Magical Bookshop Mystery, #1) by Amanda Flower (2016)
From Amanda Flower—who writes the national bestselling Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries as Isabella Alan—comes the first in the new Magical Bookshop Mystery series.

Rushing home to sit by her ailing grandmother’s bedside, Violet Waverly is shocked to find Grandma Daisy the picture of perfect health. Violet doesn’t need to read between the lines: her grandma wants Violet back home and working in her magical store, Charming Books. It’s where the perfect book tends to fly off the shelf and pick you...

Violet has every intention to hightail it back to Chicago, but then a dead man is discovered clutching a volume of Emily Dickinson’s poems from Grandma Daisy’s shop. The victim is Benedict Raisin, who recently put Grandma Daisy in his will, making her a prime suspect. Now, with the help of a tuxedo cat named Emerson, Violet will have to find a killer to keep Grandma from getting booked for good... [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read it: The title and cover say it all, don't they? Murder, a bookstore, and magic. Emily Dickinson! Why haven't I read this one yet?!

Have you read this one? If not, 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 Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall
Release Date: June 18, 2019
In this charming, witty, and weird fantasy novel, Alexis Hall pays homage to Sherlock Holmes with a new twist on those renowned characters.

Upon returning to the city of Khelathra-Ven after five years fighting a war in another universe, Captain John Wyndham finds himself looking for somewhere to live, and expediency forces him to take lodgings at 221b Martyrs Walk. His new housemate is Ms. Shaharazad Haas, a consulting sorceress of mercurial temperament and dark reputation.
When Ms. Haas is enlisted to solve a case of blackmail against one of her former lovers, Miss Eirene Viola, Captain Wyndham finds himself drawn into a mystery that leads him from the salons of the literary set to the drowned back-alleys of Ven and even to a prison cell in lost Carcosa. Along the way he is beset by criminals, menaced by pirates, molested by vampires, almost devoured by mad gods, and called upon to punch a shark.

But the further the companions go in pursuit of the elusive blackmailer, the more impossible the case appears. Then again, in Khelathra-Ven reality is flexible, and the impossible is Ms. Haas' stock-in-trade. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: So this book just sounds fun and different. I cannot wait to get my hands on it. 

The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali
Release Date: June 18, 2019
From the award-winning author of Together Tea—a debut novel hailed as “compassionate, funny, and wise” by Jill Davis, bestselling author of Girls’ Poker Night—comes a powerful love story exploring loss, reconciliation, and the quirks of fate.

Roya is a dreamy, idealistic teenager living in 1953 Tehran who, amidst the political upheaval of the time, finds a literary oasis in kindly Mr. Fakhri’s neighborhood book and stationery shop. She always feels safe in his dusty store, overflowing with fountain pens, shiny ink bottles, and thick pads of soft writing paper.

When Mr. Fakhri, with a keen instinct for a budding romance, introduces Roya to his other favorite customer—handsome Bahman, who has a burning passion for justice and a love for Rumi’s poetry—she loses her heart at once. And, as their romance blossoms, the modest little stationery shop remains their favorite place in all of Tehran.

A few short months later, on the eve of their marriage, Roya agrees to meet Bahman at the town square, but suddenly, violence erupts—a result of the coup d’etat that forever changes their country’s future. In the chaos, Bahman never shows. For weeks, Roya tries desperately to contact him, but her efforts are fruitless. With a sorrowful heart, she resigns herself to never seeing him again.

Until, more than sixty years later, an accident of fate leads her back to Bahman and offers her a chance to ask him the questions that have haunted her for more than half a century: Why did he leave? Where did he go? How was he able to forget her?

The Stationery Shop is a beautiful and timely exploration of devastating loss, unbreakable family bonds, and the overwhelming power of love. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: Such an interesting and tumultuous time period in Iran. And my heart is already aching for Roya and Bahman. But what happened?! I have to know . . .

The Lemon Sisters (Wildstone, #3) by Jill Shalvis
Release Date: June 18, 2019
The New York Times bestselling author of Rainy Day Friends and Lost and Found Sisters returns to Wildstone, California, where two completely opposite sisters—who are still nursing wounds from the past—realize they need each other more than they think.

When Brooke’s older sister, Mindy, shows up at her door with her three kids in tow, she barely recognizes her sibling who looks like she’s on the verge of a total breakdown. While adventurous, wanderlust Brooke was always the problem child, eager to slip free of Wildstone and its small-town constraints, Mindy was the golden child, who never had a hair out of place or a GPA below 4.0. The Mindy that arrives at Brooke’s apartment however, is a far cry from the ever-perfect doctor’s wife.

Brooke’s further stunned when Mindy asks to trade places with her for a few days so she can pick up her pieces and put herself back together. What Mindy doesn’t realize is that Brooke is just as broken. Her sister needs her though, so Brooke takes the kids and returns to Wildstone.

But how does one go home after seven years away and what feels like a lifetime of secrets? It doesn’t take long for Brooke to come face-to-face with her past, in the form of one tall, dark, sexy mistake. But Garrett’s no longer interested, or so he says. Only his words don’t match his actions, leaving Brooke feeling things she long ago shoved deep.

The sisters begin to wonder if the childhood taunts were true, are they lemons in life? In love? True or not, they know one thing—you can’t run far enough to outpace your demons. And when long-dead secrets surface, they’ll have to overcome their differences and learn that sometimes the one person who can help you the most is the one you never thought to ask. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: Jill Shalvis' name on the cover is enough to catch my interest, but this really does sound like an interesting book with characters who both deserve a good turn in their lives after everything they've been dealing with.

Do any of these sound like something you would like to read? What upcoming release are you looking forward 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.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Bookish Thoughts: How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee

She began in the first month of the lunar year. ~ Opening of How We Disappeared

How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee
Hanover Square Place, 2019
Fiction (Historical); 352 pgs
Singapore, 1942. As Japanese troops sweep down Malaysia and into Singapore, a village is ransacked, leaving only two survivors and one tiny child.

In a neighboring village, seventeen-year-old Wang Di is strapped into the back of a troop carrier and shipped off to a Japanese military brothel where she is forced into sexual slavery as a “comfort woman.” After sixty years of silence, what she saw and experienced still haunts her.

In the year 2000, twelve-year-old Kevin is sitting beside his ailing grandmother when he overhears a mumbled confession. He sets out to discover the truth, wherever it might lead, setting in motion a chain of events he never could have foreseen.

Weaving together two time lines and two very big secrets, this stunning debut opens a window on a little-known period of history, revealing the strength and bravery shown by numerous women in the face of terrible cruelty. Drawing in part on her family’s experiences, Jing-Jing Lee has crafted a profoundly moving, unforgettable novel about human resilience, the bonds of family and the courage it takes to confront the past.

I am full of feelings right now, having just finished Jing-Jing Lee's How We Disappeared. I knew the moment I first read a description of this book, I had to read it. 

The chapters alternate between the stories of twelve-year-old Kevin, as he uncovers his grandmother's long held secret, and Wang Di as she reflects and comes to terms with her past. 
"'Listen. Do what helps you. If hoping helps you survive from day to day, then keep hoping that they're going to release you. The truth is, I've never seen them let anyone go. But if it helps you.'" [Excerpt from How We Disappeared]
Wang Di was the oldest child and only daughter of her family. When the Japanese marched into Singapore, they wielded their power cruelly and viciously, gunning down entire villages and kidnapping young girls and women, among other reprehensible actions. At sixteen, Wang Di was forced to be a sex slave for Japanese soldiers. She was one of many, trapped in a life she never asked for. Their living conditions were abysmal and their future uncertain. Despite everything, the shame she felt and the pain she endured, Wang Di found the strength to survive--to persevere. 

The reception the "comfort women" received upon their return home after the war ended was anything but welcoming. While Wang Di was welcomed back into her parents' home, she was still an outcast. Other women were not so fortunate, being turned out and shunned. Shame and grief were carried on all sides. The families of these unfortunate women did not understand or want to acknowledge what the girls had suffered through. And the victims themselves felt ashamed and ruined, afraid to discuss what had happened to them. It just wasn't talked about--and still isn't in many circles. Just think of the stigma surrounding rape victims today. 

Now a widow, Wang Di has many regrets, one of which is not listening to her husband's stories about his time during the war and in not sharing her own story with him while he was alive. For years she refused to listen or talk about the war, not wanting to relive it, at least not out loud. She suffered in silence.  
I realized then, what she meant to say, so for the rest of the time I was in her flat, I made sure not to look away from her so that she would know she didn't have anything to be ashamed about. [Excerpt from How We Disappeared]
Sometimes it was easy to forget Kevin is only twelve-years-old given how tenacious and thoughtful he could be. He loved his grandmother dearly and when she confesses to him a rather big secret on her deathbed, he knows he cannot just let it go. On his own, he sets out to discover the truth, hoping it will bring some solace to his grieving father. 

I came to love both Kevin and Wang Di's through their stories. Often in dual narratives, one side is stronger than the other, but Jing-Jing Lee has found the perfect balance between the voices of her characters. Through Wang Di and Kevin, the reader is introduced to other significant characters, including Wang Di's husband and Kevin's parents. Also the amazingly strong women Wang Di was with during her captivity. I was sad to see the novel come to an end, wanting to spend more time with the characters, and yet also satisfied that their stories had come to a conclusion--at least as far as the author meant to take us. 

I have read a lot of novels set during World War II, but so few that focus on the Pacific (my own fault, and I am trying to remedy that). How We Disappeared is a poignant novel, which focuses on a part of history that has too often been buried that we all need to remember. And not just for the horrors produced so we do not repeat them--although that is important--but also to remember the victims and survivors, of their strength and perseverance, and to give them a voice so they are no longer kept silent.

How We Disappeared is a beautiful and heart-wrenching novel that had me in tears more than once--in sadness and anger, but also in hope and joy; devastating and yet filled with heart. This is my absolute favorite book that I have read so far this year. 

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Connect with Jing-Jing

Website | Twitter | Instagram

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

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.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Waiting to Read Wednesday: Discount Armageddon,Rebel, Murder in Kew Gardens, & The Woman in the White Kimono

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!

Discount Armageddon (Incryptid, #1) by Seanan McGuire (2012)
Cryptid, noun: Any creature whose existence has not yet been proven by science. See also "Monster."

Crytozoologist, noun: Any person who thinks hunting for cryptids is a good idea. See also "idiot."

Ghoulies. Ghosties. Long-legged beasties. Things that go bump in the night...

The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity—and humanity from them.

Enter Verity Price. Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she'd rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and is spending a year in Manhattan while she pursues her career in professional ballroom dance. Sounds pretty simple, right?

It would be, if it weren't for the talking mice, the telepathic mathematicians, the asbestos supermodels, and the trained monster-hunter sent by the Price family's old enemies, the Covenant of St. George. When a Price girl meets a Covenant boy, high stakes, high heels, and a lot of collateral damage are almost guaranteed.

To complicate matters further, local cryptids are disappearing, strange lizard-men are appearing in the sewers, and someone's spreading rumors about a dragon sleeping underneath the city...
[Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read it: Funny story. I fell in love with Seanan McGuire last year when I read the first couple books in her Ghost Roads series. I hadn't realized I had another of her books sitting on my TBR pile I had not yet read. I have heard great things about the Incryptid series though and definitely plan to read this one. Hopefully soon-ish. 


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.

Rebel (Women Who Dare, #1) by Beverly Jenkins
Release Date: May 28, 2019
The first novel in USA Today Bestselling Author Beverly Jenkins' compelling new series follows a Northern woman south in the chaotic aftermath of the Civil War...

Valinda Lacey's mission in the steamy heart of New Orleans is to help the newly emancipated community survive and flourish. But soon she discovers that here, freedom can also mean danger. When thugs destroy the school she has set up and then target her, Valinda runs for her life—and straight into the arms of Captain Drake LeVeq.

As an architect from an old New Orleans family, Drake has a deeply personal interest in rebuilding the city. Raised by strong women, he recognizes Valinda's determination. And he can't stop admiring—or wanting—her. But when Valinda's father demands she return home to marry a man she doesn't love, her daring rebellion draws Drake into an irresistible intrigue. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: Beverly Jenkins' name is not only the first often mentioned as one of the best romance authors of color, but also as one of the best romance writers in general. She's high on my list of must read authors, and her upcoming novel, Rebel, caught my attention when I heard about it. Valinda sounds like a great character, and I cannot wait to get to know her and Drake. And New Orleans! What an awesome setting!

Death in Kew Gardens (Kat Holloway, #3) by Jennifer Ashley
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Kat Holloway steps out from beneath the stairs and into international intrigue, where murder and stolen treasure lurk among the upper echelons of Victorian London.

In return for a random act of kindness, scholar Li Bai Chang presents young cook Kat Holloway with a rare and precious gift—a box of tea. Kat thinks no more of her unusual visitor until two days later when the kitchen erupts with the news that Lady Cynthia's next-door neighbor has been murdered.

Known about London as an "Old China Hand," the victim claimed to be an expert in the language and customs of China, acting as intermediary for merchants and government officials. But Sir Jacob's dealings were not what they seemed, and when the authorities accuse Mr. Li of the crime, Kat and Daniel find themselves embroiled in a world of deadly secrets that reach from the gilded homes of Mayfair to the beautiful wonder of Kew Gardens.
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: This is book three in one of my favorite historical mystery series. There's no way I can pass it up! I just love Kat and Daniel.

The Woman in the White Kimono by Ana Johns
Release Date: May 28, 2019
Oceans and decades apart, two women are inextricably bound by the secrets between them.

Japan, 1957. Seventeen-year-old Naoko Nakamura’s prearranged marriage to the son of her father’s business associate would secure her family’s status in their traditional Japanese community, but Naoko has fallen for another man—an American sailor, a gaijin—and to marry him would bring great shame upon her entire family. When it’s learned Naoko carries the sailor’s child, she’s cast out in disgrace and forced to make unimaginable choices with consequences that will ripple across generations.

America, present day. Tori Kovac, caring for her dying father, finds a letter containing a shocking revelation—one that calls into question everything she understood about him, her family and herself. Setting out to learn the truth behind the letter, Tori’s journey leads her halfway around the world to a remote seaside village in Japan, where she must confront the demons of the past to pave a way for redemption.

In breathtaking prose and inspired by true stories from a devastating and little-known era in Japanese and American history,
The Woman in the White Kimono illuminates a searing portrait of one woman torn between her culture and her heart, and another woman on a journey to discover the true meaning of home. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: Doesn't this just sound like it will pull at the heartstrings over and over? I enjoy dual timelines that cross the generations, not to mention the cultural aspect. I cannot wait to read this one.

Do any of these sound like books you would like to read? What upcoming releases are you looking forward to 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, May 12, 2019

Bookish Thoughts: Nightchaser by Amanda Bouchet

I sat back in my captain's chair and breathed, slowly and deeply, letting my body adjust to traveling at a normal velocity again. ~ Opening of Nightchaser 

Nightchaser (Endeavor, #1) by Amanda Bouchet
Tess Bailey: the galaxy's Most Wanted. Captain Tess Bailey is in deep trouble. She and her crew are on the run, pursued by a tyrant who'll take them dead or alive. Tess's best hope is a tall, dark, and much-too-appealing stranger, Shade Ganavan, who says he can help her. But his motivations are far from clear...

Shade Ganavan: arrogance, charm...and that special something that makes you want to kick him. With the dreaded Dark Watch closing in, what Tess and Shade don't know about each other might get them killed...unless they can set aside their differences and learn to trust each other before it's too late.
 [Goodreads Summary]

I have long wanted to give Amanda Bouchet’s work a try, and Nightchaser seemed a good place to start. Picking this one up right on the heels of a similar science fiction novel about a ragtag group on a space ship on the run, might not have been the smartest choice, but ultimately, it fed my itch to read another space opera, and I came away feeling satisfied and entertained.

Nightchaser is set in a world ruled by an oppressive government that aims for conformity by all. They believe they have brought order where war and lawlessness once ran rampant, whereas there are those who feel the government has gone too far, hungering for power and control, extending beyond its reach.

The novel opens right in the middle of the action as Captain Tess Bailey and her crew flee from the Dark Watch, the military extension of the Galatic Overseer, they’ve just stolen from. Tess hopes to distribute the much needed vaccines to children at the orphanage she grew up. Only, those vaccines aren’t quite what they seem, and the Dark Watch is intent on getting them back at any cost. Risking suicide, Tess and her crew see only one way out, having been found in their quiet hiding place in deep space—right through the center of a wormhole. Somehow, the group survives, finding themselves in another part of the galaxy. With their ship in desperate need for repair, they head for the first place possible to make that happen.

When Tess walks into Shade Ganavan’s shop, Shade instantly takes an interest in Tess who clearly has something to hide. It isn’t long before he learns she is the galaxy’s most wanted and then he has a decision to make. The bounty on her head would solve all of Shade’s problems and then some. With that as the goal, he agrees to help Tess and get closer to her, intent on turning her in for the money. The more he gets to know Tess, the more he delays the inevitable.

I really liked Tess. She is a fighter and survivor. For all of Tess’s reputation and the betrayals in her past, and her struggle with anxiety, one would expect her to be more cautious when it comes to Shade. She trusts him way too easily—which is my only bone of contention with the novel. It could be chalked up to her attraction to him and the loneliness she feels, however. She’s long learned to keep her parentage a secret, and for good reason. Even her crew, whose loyalty to her even after they find out, is unshakable. They are her best friends and have been through a lot together. Tess has a good heart and is of strong moral character. She wants to help those who cannot help themselves, particularly the children at the orphanage.

We get to glimpse into Shade’s mind and life, the novel alternating between his and Tess’s viewpoints, which I enjoyed. He lives on the edge, while trying to make up for past mistakes. I liked that the author did not make the struggle for him easy—having the choose between Tess and the money. He had a lot at stake—his entire life built on it. He seems like a really good guy overall, with good intentions. And I was rooting for him and Tess from the very start.

Given this is the first in a series, I imagine readers will get the chance to know more about the various characters in coming books. I really want to know more about each of them now that Bouchet has given us a peek into each of their lives. Although a minor character, I was, of course, quite taken with the bookstore owner and her cats (and Bonk!). The bookstore itself sounds like a wonderful haven. I hope that isn’t the last we are able to visit there.

With a good mix of science fiction and romance, Nightchaser had me in its grip from page one, and I did not want to put it down for anything. There were several moments when I caught myself holding my breath, hoping everyone would make it out of whatever tight fix they were in. I look forward to not only reading the next in the series, but also Amanda Bouchet’s other novels.

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

© 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.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Sunday Post: May's TBR List Winner

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 The Sunday Salon hosted by the amazing Deb Nance of Readerbuzz where participants discuss what they are reading and other bookish topics. 

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there! Are you doing anything special to celebrate?

What I Am Reading: I am still reading How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee and am enjoying it quite a bit. I imagine I will be finishing it in the next day or two and then will start on my May TBR winner. Mouse and I are in the middle of the latest A to Z Mystery, Grand Canyon Grab by Ron Roy.

What I Am Watching: We did manage to watch Avengers: Endgame last weekend after all and made time for Pokémon Detective Pikachu this weekend. Mouse got to meet a giant Pickachu who was hanging outside the theater and do a little coloring as well. She called out the names of each of the Pokémon as they appeared on the screen, and really enjoyed the film. We also saw Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse this weekend, which I liked much more than I thought I would. 

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). 

The winner for this month's poll was fairly clear from the start, and never lost the edge over the other two books. I am looking forward to reading Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa.

Shadow of The Fox (Shadow of the Fox #1) by Julie Kagawa
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]

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.