Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017: A Year in Review

I enjoyed answering Jamie's (The Perpetual Page Turner) End of the Year Survey in past years and decided to join in again this year.  I did alter some of the questions and subtracted a few to make it my own.

Some Fun Meaningless 2017 Reading Statistics:

Number Of Books Read: 70
- per Goodreads, my actual total came to 231* books read, 161 of which were children's books. I am not counting these in the below stats.

*statistic is probably slightly lower than reality given I did not start counting re-reads of children's books until the middle of the year. 

Genre Read The Most From:
(Some of what I read falls under more than one genre. Here, I count them under the genre I most identified with the book, Also of note, my categorization of each book by sub-genre using broad definitions).

Fiction - 21
  • 9 Historical Fiction
  • 7 Contemporary Fiction (Literary, Women's, General)
  • 3 Classics
  • 1 Young Adult
  • 1 Short Story Collection
Fantasy/Science Fiction - 14
  • 4 Science Fiction (1 YA)
  • 3 Fantasy Romance
  • 2 Urban Fantasy/Mystery
  • 1 Graphic Novel
  • 1 Compendium/Encyclopedia
  • 1 Superhero Fantasy
  • 1 High Fantasy
  • 1 Short Story Collection with mix of Science Fiction & Fantasy
Romance - 14
  • 8 Fantasy Romance
  • 4 Holiday Romance
  • 1 Romantic Suspense
  • 1 Historical
Crime Fiction - 13
  • 5 Cozies
  • 5 Thrillers
  • 2 Historical
  • 1 Noir 
Nonfiction - 7
  • 4 Memoir
  • 2 History
  • 1 Psychology
Poetry - 1

Of the book I read, 8 were audio books, 15 were trade paperbacks or hardcover books, and 47 were e-books.

11 of the 70 books I read in 2017 were written by men.
58 of the 70 books I read were written by women.
1 of  the 70 was written by both male and female writers.

 36 of the books I read in 2017 were written in 3rd person point of view.
32 of the books I read were written in 1st person.
2 of the books I read was a mixture of both 1st and 3rd person.

Month I Finished the Most Books: March (10)
Months I Finished the Least Books: February (3) & July (3)

Best In Books

1. Favorite Reads in 2017?

This is one of the questions I most look forward to while at the same time dread answering at the end of each year. Some years, it is an easy decision--the books I rate the highest rise to the top without a second thought. Other years, it is more of a struggle to settle on just 5 or 10. Although I no longer share my ratings on my blog, I still rate every book I read. My top rating, 5 paws, means a book held that "wow" factor for me. This means a book has a combination of good writing, well-developed characters, a memorable setting or world-building, an entertaining or thought provoking story, and one that brings out an array of my emotions. It just so happens that this year 5 books earned my top rating. Here they are in no particular order:

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See ~ This was the first book I finished reading in 2017, and it was quite a way to kick off the year. Lisa See is among my favorite authors, and this book is the perfect example of why. 
Lisa See has a gift for creating such real characters and offering us an intimate view into their lives. It is impossible not to become emotionally invested in these characters' lives. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane has so much heart; it is a story about mothers and daughters and the strong bonds of family. It is about tradition as well as progress. And it is about love and fate, as well as being about our choices and their consequences. I loved this book from beginning to end. I hope you will too if you read it. [excerpt from my review]

Monstress, Volume One: Awakening by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda ~ I enjoy graphic novels from time to time, and this one has really stuck with me. The world building is intricate and rich, the artwork beautiful, and the story is not only compelling, but complex and thought provoking as well.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood ~ "What a beautiful and sad book" opens my review of this remarkable book. Written in 1986, it seems eerily relevant today. The Handmaid's Tale is a powerful and thought provoking novel that accentuates how easily human rights and freedoms can be stripped away in the name of protection and "high morals" even in our modern world.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas ~ This is a very relevant and timely novel that feels so necessary in opening and continuing discussion not only about police shootings, but also--and especially--about race relations. It is also about the bonds of family and community, about self-identity, friendship, and so much more. I think everyone should read this book.

The Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb ~ I love historical fiction, and I especially loved this epistolary novel set during World War I about a soldier on the front line and a young woman desperate to find her own role in the war effort at home. I felt a part of their story--right in the middle of the horrors of war, including the helplessness and violence, the fear and grief, as well as seeing the friendship and love grow between them. I hated to see the book end.

2. Book I Was Excited About & Thought I Was Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Two books come to mind, both of which I enjoyed in actuality, but did not love the way I hoped. High expectations? Was it just me? Maybe. Regardless, I eagerly dove into both of these two very different books and came away when finished feeling a bit disappointed I had not liked them more. They are These Violent Delights by Victoria Namkung, a novel about sexual abuse in a boarding school, and Peter Swanson's The Girl With a Clock For a Heart, a noir mystery about a man who cannot say no to a mysterious former girlfriend.

3. Second Chance Books Or Authors That Still Didn't Fare Well?

I thought perhaps the audio version of Aldous Huxley's  Brave New World  would go down better. My several previous attempts to read the book had always ended in utter failure. Well, I finished it. I can now say I read it in its entirety. And I still didn't care for it. 

I had the opportunity to give David Sedaris another try when his book, Holidays on Ice, appeared in the mail one day. I was unable to finish the first book I attempted by him. While I at least finished this one, I have come to the conclusion that this author and I are not a good match.

4. Book I “Pushed” The Most For People To Read? 

While I would like to think I convinced people to read many of the great books I read in 2017, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is the one I recommended the most. I might have even told a few people they "MUST read this book." If you haven't, I think you should too.

5. Best series I started in 2017? 

I keep telling myself I need to catch up on my series reading before starting a new series, but I rarely listen, and 2017 was no different. I started (or jumped into) a number of series, and am already hooked with just one book. These three in particular stand out as favorites, although there were several others I plan to continue as well. 

The Book Club Murders by Leslie Nagel was such a fun cozy with a good mystery and a dash of romance mixed in. I quite enjoyed my time with Charley and Marc.

It was thanks to my husband that I read Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1) by Ann Leckie, which fascinated me given the nature of the main character. I am eager to jump in and read more in the series.

Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley was my final book of the year and what a good one it was! I adore Kat Holloway, a cook living in Victorian England, and cannot wait to read more of her adventures.

6. Favorite Authors I Discovered in 2017?

I know I should narrow this list down more, but I I find it impossible to do so any further. All of these amazing authors are new to me, and I definitely plan to read more of their books at some point in the future.

Hazel Gaynor
Heather Webb
Naomi Novik
Louise Erdrich
Leslie Nagel
Juliette Cross
Hannah Dennison
Sarah-Jane Stratford
Ann Leckie
Donato Carrisi
M.R. Carey
Teresa Messineo
Jenn MacKinlay
B.A. Paris
Jenny Colgan
Emma Newman
Marissa Meyer
Peter Swanson
Catherine Anderson
Jennifer Ashley

7. Most Memorable Character?

Melody from M.R. Carey's The Girl With All The Gifts. If you have read this book, you understand why. What a smart and amazing young girl and a heartbreaking story!

8. Author or Series I Binged On This Year?

I read seven books by Juliette Cross this past spring, many of which were novellas. I read what books I could find in the Vale of Stars series as well as The Nightwing trilogy. I could not help myself. I was addicted to the fantasy world Juliette Cross had created in her Morgon world. I followed those up with the first in her new vampire series,  The Black Lily, which I also enjoyed.

9. Most Thrilling/Unputdownable Book of the Year?

I read a number of hard to put down books in 2017, but without a doubt Shadowed by Karen E. Olson earns the spot for this category. Right from the first page, I found it impossible to put this book down. It was one tense moment after another as the main character tried to keep one step ahead of the people chasing her. 

10. Top Five Favorite Covers of Books I Read in 2017?

Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva

Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford

Monstress, Volume One: Awakening by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda
A Death By Any Other Name by Tessa Arlen

11. Book I Can’t Believe I Waited UNTIL 2017 to Finally Read?

It took me forever to finally get around to reading these two gems which had been sitting on my TBR shelf for a long while. I was motivated to read Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking along with another book blogger as part of a read-along, and am so glad I did. 

I was determined to read Marissa Meyer's Cinder this year and, thanks to all of you who voted in my October TBR List poll, I did just that. Thank you!

12. Shortest Book I Read in 2017? 

Foley, Laura - WTF: Poems - 34 pgs

13.  Longest Book I Read In 2017?

Blum, Jenna - Those Who Save Us - 479 pgs

14. Best World-building/Most Vivid Setting I Read This Year?

I think my favorite aspect of Uprooted by Naomi Novik is its tie to folklore, however the world building, particularly that of the live forest especially intrigued me. Novik has created a rich world that I lost myself in as I was reading.

I cannot help but also mention LaRose by Louise Erdrich, which was half a point shy of being a 5 paw read for me. Erdrich's writing is beautiful. She drew me in, and I could feel what her characters were feeling and experienced what they were going through so vividly. It took me awhile to recover after finishing LaRose s a result.

15. Character I Would Most Like to Cook For Me?

Oh, how I wish I could hire someone like Mrs. Holloway from Jennifer Ashley's Death Below Stairs to cook meals for my family. Not only is she a hard worker, but she sounds like a delicious cook. I wouldn't mind spending time chatting with her in the kitchen either. 

For pastries and desserts, however, I would insist on having Polly Waterford from Jenny Colgan's Christmas At Little Beach Street Bakery on speed dial. 

16. Book That Put A Smile On My Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford was such a fun and entertaining read. Not to mention a look into the the early days of the BBC, including the life of Hilda Matheson (a side character, perhaps, but a fascinating one especially as it is based on the real life woman).

I would love to know what your favorite reads of 2017 were! Please share a link to your favorite's list below if you posted one--or just tell me in the comments. Did we read any of the same books? If so, what did you think?

My Blogging Bookish Life

Two thousand seventeen was the year of mostly escapist reading as the world outside of books seemed to spiral downward: violence, uncertainty, anger, frustration and grief filling our reality.  The end of the year was especially looking pretty grim on the personal front, having to say goodbye to my dear Parker, work related stresses, health issues, and my mother's cancer returning. But then there was light. My mom's first surgery was a success and her prognosis is good. She still has another surgery and radiation to get through, but we are optimistic. My husband ended the year with a job promotion, which is great news for our family.

In 2017, I read more romance novels and cozy mysteries. I ventured into science fiction, a genre I had long neglected, and I turned to humorous and inspiring nonfiction. I continued to read inspiring fiction, reading books by new-to-me authors as well as old favorites.

I refrained from joining any reading challenges, wanting instead to read at whim. I took part in very few book tours--and felt great freedom in that. While I still reviewed books via NetGalley and the occasional author or publisher, I felt less tied to any deadlines. I also was gentler with myself when it came to my blog. I gave up following my stats years ago, which in and of itself lifted a lot of stress off my shoulders, but I still feel bad (and guilty) when I fail to post regularly or stay on top of comments--or even reciprocate comments. As every book blogger knows, however, life does get in the way sometimes, and sacrifices have to be made. Keeping that in mind and giving myself permission to start where I was instead of always trying to catch up when I got far behind helped with my guilt considerably.

In 2017, I began tracking the books I read with my daughter, which gave a huge boost to my Goodreads reading total. My daughter and I enjoyed exploring a variety of children's books together, some new and others classics.

I published 177 blog posts. September was my most prolific month with 24 posts, and July was my slowest with only 5 posts.

It was the third year of my Going Postal Mail Club, and it was another successful one (and it is still going--one more round to go for this cycle because of a late start). Each member selects a book and mails it along with a journal to their specified person on the club member list. We have two months to read the book, journal our thoughts, and then we mail the book to the next person on the list. Like in past years, the books chosen were not necessarily ones on my radar, and some were even ones I would have passed over completely otherwise. That is part of the fun of being a part of a group like this.

Going Postal Mail Club books read in 2017:

In 2017, I continued to take part in Michelle's My TBR List Meme at Because Reading, enlisting your help in choosing one book each month to read. I really enjoyed having you take an active part in selecting what I would read. It can be difficult to choose on my own with so many choices. You wouldn't believe the amount of time I can waste in deciding. Or maybe you can . . . I am grateful to Michelle for coming up with the idea. I plan to continue to participate in the meme in 2018, and hope you will join me! 

Books Read Because Of You (My TBR List Poll Winners of 2017):
I always find when I look back over my year of reading, it seems like so long ago I read many of the books. Was it really just this year? It was a long year overall, although my reading was fairly steady.  Overall, I think it was a good reading year. I read some exceptional books.

In 2017, I took on a word to define my year: Create. I had high hopes and big plans. I wanted to write more and explore my creative side a bit more, applying my word to my work and personal lives. It was my only real goal, you could say. I may have blogged slightly more, but ultimately, my word got lost and forgotten somewhere along the way. Instead of feeling bad about it though, I am of the mind that it just wasn't meant to be. I have tossed the idea of finding a new word around, but I think I will leave that for others who are more motivated and up to the challenge.

Throughout the year, I made some new book blogger friends and enjoyed spending time with my older ones. I tried out new memes, posted reviews, and added pages and pages of books to my wish list. You, my readers, helped me through the roughest of times this year and celebrated my joys right alongside me. You are all amazing and wonderful people. I am glad to be a part of the book blogging community. Thank you for your support and for taking the time to visit me here at my little spot on the internet.

Looking Ahead

I am excited to see where my reading will take me in 2018. Several authors whose work I enjoy have new books coming out, and I always enjoy my time spent with you all.

I am hesitant to come up with reading goals as I tend to rebel against them once they are in place. It is that feeling of obligation that creeps in if I am not careful, I think. Still, I am setting some simple ones for 2018--rather loose ones so that I do not feel too pressured.

Reading Goals:
  • Early in 2017, I had joined the Classics Club, committing to read 50 classics within five years. I have only read two that qualify to date. I would like to spend more time reading the classics on my list this year. I have some really fun ones to get to, and am feeling hopeful I can motivate myself to read them. 
  • Complete the  #COYER Winter Switch Challenge.
  • Complete the  What's In a Name Challenge.
  • Complete as many categories as I can in The Grand World of Books' Book Bingo 2018.
  • Complete as many categories as I can in Unruly Reader Book Bingo.
  • Complete the Witches and Witchcraft Reading Challenge (sign-up post pending). 
  • Read at least one chunkster (500+) pages I have been putting off  (the key here being one I have been putting off).
  • Catch up on at least two favorite series (I'm leaving it open, but Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone series is at the to of my list).
  • Increase the number of audio books I listen to.
I have not ruled out joining another challenge or two, but for now I am content with just the five, which sounds like a lot, but it really isn't when you consider the challenges I have signed up for.

I am thinking of starting a bullet and gratitude journal to help me with productivity and organization. Will it simplify my life or be yet another distraction, I wonder? I think it might be beneficial in some respects, so I may give it a try and see how it goes. Admittedly, my ideas of what I want to include might already be going a bit overboard . . .

My family and I will be bringing in the New Year at home, probably bringing in the New Year with the East Coast and turning in early. We will be celebrating with sparkling cider and sundaes. And banging the pots and pans at 9:00 p.m. on the dot, wishing each other a Happy New Year. I wish the same for you. May 2018 be filled with light. Happy Reading!
  • How did your reading year shape up in 2017? 
  • Do you have any reading goals for 2018?  
  • Do you keep a bullet journal? Is it working for you? 
  • How are you bringing in the New Year? 
I wish you all a productive and wonderful New Year!

© 2017, Wendy Runyon of 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.

2017 Last Sentences of Books Read (*Spoiler Warning*)


Below you will find the last sentences of the books I read in 2017. Please be aware they may contain spoilers. 

My a-ma. ~ The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

To begin perfect happiness at the respective ages of twenty-six and eighteen, is to do pretty well, and professing myself moreover convinced, that the General's unjust interference, so far from being really injurious to their felicity, was perhaps rather conducive to it, by improving their knowledge of each other, and adding strength to their attachment, I leave it to be settled by whomsoever it may concern, whether the tendency of this work be altogether to recommend parental tyranny, or reward filial disobedience. ~ Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

I reached out and took his hand. ~ Uprooted by Naomi Novik

The greatest part of her legacy--Christine Darden and the generation of younger women who were standing on the shoulders of the West Computers--was still in the office. ~ Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

Consider Kits: Within these sacred bones rests a power that our enemies would destroy the world to possess.Monstress, Volume One: Awakening by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

Well . . . You know.As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes, Joe Layden

They were safe in the Library, and the Library would endure. ~ The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman

It was perfect.The Devil Takes a Bride by Julia London

"Darling please," and then a two-word poem: "Come Home."A Death By Any Other Name by Tessa Arlen

Are there any questions?The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood


Ophie joined the moms in shouting, "Key West."Read to Death by Terrie Farley Moran

"What could possibly happen?" ~ The Book Club Murders by Leslie Nagel

I drew in a breath of crisp December air and stood perfectly still, savoring the feel, the sound, and the smell of the world around me, sensations that would have passed by me unnoticed had I never met Carl Iverson. ~ The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

"Forever." ~ Soulfire by Juliette Cross

And my heart. ~ Windburn by Juliette Cross

As I would love him. ~ Nightbloom by Juliette Cross

And our hearts were happier for it. ~ Dragon Heartstrings by Juliette Cross

My Morgon man was full of fire and love, and as I would learn over the years, full of many, pleasurable surprises. ~ Waking the Dragon by Juliette Cross

"When pain and sorrow hurts you too near, then come away . . . come away . . . back home." ~ Dragon in the Blood by Juliette Cross

"That belongs to you."The Black Lily by Juliette Cross

Picture her at twelve, thirteen, fourteen, equal parts Victorian storybook and diffident anti-cool, wondering, asking, answered: every one of us etched on, brokenwhole, fragile, arise. Etched On Me by Jenn Crowell

Some things never changed. ~ The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt

He grinned and said, "I told you to trust me." ~ A Killer Ball At the Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison

Dad survived the Japanese,
now he's receiving an award,
thriving in his post-war
medical practice,
beaming into the camera-
with my pride and feistiness.
~ WTF: Poems by Laura Foley

Josette was staring straight ahead, standing next t him, and her voice was the voice of a woman. ~ LaRose by Louise Erdrich

And if they are ready, they'll know what to do. Planetfall by Emma Newman

Maisie sauntered off into the evening, swinging her holdall beside her. ~ Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford

She was content with her role; she had a muse of her own. ~ Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

There is great unrest. ~ The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

It had never been anything else. ~ Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

"Someone has to be first," I told myself ruefully, joyfully, and swung the door open. ~ Girl in Disguise by Greer Macallister

The corpse opened his eyes. ~ The Lost Girls of Rome by Donato Carrisi

Then the rain sweeps in and it is gone. ~ Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum

Signing off with a big ole crotch-to-crotch hug and not one of those wussy hugs where people stand a foot away from each other and barely touch. ~ I Want My Epidural Back: Adventures in Mediocre Parenting by Karen Alpert

The turkey answered a thin, "You'll see," his voice a little song that hung in the air long after he 'ddisappeared~ Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

I promise. ~ The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Kate is buried at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago, alongside other Pinkerton operatives. ~ The Pinks: The First Women Detectives, Operatives, and Spies With the Pinkerton National Detective Agency by Chris Enss

Greek myths and quadratic equations will come later. ~ The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

And so the ice-cream machine kept churning. ~ The Ice-Cream Makers by Ernest Van der Kwast

And I count them all twice before I realize--it's me Dede, it's me, the one who survived to tell the story. ~ In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

She was alive. ~ The Girl With a Clock For a Heart by Peter Swanson

He was a guy she could count on to get things done--always. ~ Going Dark by Monica McCarty

"I swear it." ~ Sadie's Highlander by Maeve Grayson

South-south-west, south, south-east, east . . .Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

 She would survive it again. Sworn Virgin by Kristopher Dukes

It wasn't perfect, but it was mine.Gin and Panic by Maia Chance

And by now, this shouldn't surprise us. ~ Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

"When the hell did you start talking to elves?"Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish

She exhaled sharply, tugging down the front of her jacket resolutely; then she pulled open the door and stepped into her future. The Fire By Night by Teresa Messineo

They stood very still, hushed, their gleaming black eyes fixed on her, white beaks open in a strange alert anticipation. ~ Miss Jane by Brad Watson

All is as it should be. The Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

The yeti devours anything that strays into its path, though it fears fire and may be repulsed by the skilled wizards. ~ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander and J.K. Rowling

Never. ~ Death in the Stacks by Jenn McKinlay

But they would be looking for a ghost. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

"I'd claimed you a long time ago."Bitten by Deceit by Shawntelle Madison

It was all gone from her mind as she smiled up at the white tiger shifter who'd made her dreams come true. Forbidden by Elle Thorne

"God bless us. Everyone." Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva

I was overwhelmed with the lust and wonder of it all.Lust and Wonder by Augusten Burroughs

"That's what I thought," she says softly. Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

It's absolutely perfect."Snowfall on Haven Point by RaeAnne Thayne

And as he vanished upstairs, she turned, watching the lighthouse beam sweep over the harbor, the little town, out to the  mainland, where the fireworks were already starting to pop, one two three, and just before she switched out the light, she went into the kitchen in her wedding dress, and she laid out the yeast and the flour and the eggs for the morning bread, and kissed Neil, already snuggled in front of the Aga, and put out the light, then ran upstairs, her skirt and a faint wake of flour trailing behind her. ~ Christmas At Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

She ran to meet it. ~ Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

He's Tracker. ~ Shadowed by Karen E. Olson

Life was full of beautiful surprises, and for her, Sam Conacher was one of them. ~ The Christmas Room by Catherine Anderson

This was the season of miracles and she would always be grateful for her own--and it had all started with a song. The Rancher's Christmas Song by RaeAnne Thayne

And while the three cats vied for the pudgy puppy's attention and the tree lights twinkled and snowflakes danced outside, they made each other's dreams come true. ~ Sugar Pine Trail by RaeAnne Thayne

And so we did. ~ "Red to Hide the Blood" from Mrs. Claus: Not the Fairy Tale They Say edited by Rhonda Parrish

"I'm feeling a little bit better already." ~ These Violent Delights by Victoria Namkung

"That's plenty enough for me."Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley

© 2017, Wendy Runyon of 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.

2017 First Sentences of Books Read

Below you will find the first sentences of books I read in 2017.


"No coincidence, no story," my a-ma recites, and that seems to settle everything, as it usually does, after First Brother finishes telling us about the dream he had last night. ~ The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy,would have supposed her born to be an heroine. ~ Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Our Dragon doesn't eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. ~ Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Mrs. Land worked as a computer out of Langley," my father said, taking a right turn out of the parking lot of First Baptist Church in Hampton, Virginia. ~ Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

It took three years to find a name. ~ Monstress, Volume One: Awakening by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

Standing onstage at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, surrounded by cast members and some of the crew, many of whom I've not seen in years, I feel an almost overwhelming sense of gratitude and nostalgia.As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes, Joe Layden


For the love of God, can't you give me anything  challenging? ~ The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman

At the end of the hunting season, before the winter set in, the Earl of Clarendon hosted a soiree at his London home for families of Quality that had come to town. ~ The Devil Takes a Bride by Julia London

Coming home after a holiday is almost as enjoyable as the holiday itself, Edith Jackson surveyed the familiar comfort of her bedroom and parlor, her eyes lingering over beloved objects that she had collected over the years. ~ A Death By Any Other Name by Tessa Arlen

We slept in what had once been the gymnasium. ~ The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

I was in fourth grade and in trouble. ~ Yes, Please by Amy Poehler

In the parking lot of the Read 'Em and Eat Cafe and Book Corner, I stood by the side of a sky blue van with oversized white letters advertising the "Gulf Coast Cab and Van" etched on the center door panel.  ~ Read to Death by Terrie Farley Moran

This day was stomping on her last nerve, and it wasn't even ten o'clock. ~ The Book Club Murders by Leslie Nagel

I remember being pestered by a sense of dread as I walked to my car that day, pressed down by a wave of foreboding that swirled around my head and broke against the evening in small ripples.The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

Thousands of years ago, Radomis, the dragon king of the North, took flight on the last full moon of winter. Soulfire by Juliette Cross

Yeah. ~ Windburn by Juliette Cross

"Would you like to hear the story about tragic Princess Morga and the dreadful dragon king of the North again?" Nightbloom by Juliette Cross

I fidgeted, tapping my thumbs against my pant leg while watching the numbers on the elevator panel. Dragon Heartstrings by Juliette Cross

Tick.Waking the Dragon by Juliette Cross

Strobe lights pulsed in time to the house music--aloud, hard beat, intoxicating the throng into a sensual rhythm.Dragon in the Blood by Juliette Cross

Once upon a time, humans lived in peace across the land of Varis. ~ The Black Lily by Juliette Cross

Have you ever wanted something so much, it's not a desire so much as a beacon? ~ Etched On Me by Jenn Crowell

Katie Trent dragged her feet as she walked down the street towards the park.The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt

"You are absolutely not selling William Dobson, Rupert!"A Killer Ball At the Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison

The night before his imprisonment,
after a truly Russian feast,
toasting each course with vodka, 
he danced and sang all night.
WTF: Poems by Laura Foley

Where the reservation boundary invisibly bisected a stand of deep brush--chokecherry, popple, stunted oak--Landreaux waited. ~ LaRose by Louise Erdrich

Every time I come down here I think about my mother. ~ Planetfall by Emma Newman

She ran, weaving in and out of the startled pedestrians, but her pursuer was still close on her heels. Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford

The Ellsworths of Long Parkmead had the regard of their neighbours in every respect.Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

I remember, in no particular order:
- a shiny inner wrist; 
- steam rising from a wet sink as a hot frying pan is laughingly tossed into it; 
- gouts of sperm circling a plughole, before being sluiced down the full length of a tall house; 
- a river rushing nonsensically upstream, its wave and wash lit by half a dozen chasing torchbeams; 
- another river, broad and grey, the direction of its flow disguised by a stiff wind exciting the surface; 
- bathwater long gone cold behind a locked door. 
  ~ The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

The body lay naked and facedown, a deathly gray, spatters of blood staining the snow around it. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Like any Chicago tavern in deep summer, Joe Mulligan's stank. Girl in Disguise by Greer Macallister

The corpse opened his eyes. The Lost Girls of Rome by Donato Carrisi

The funeral is well attended, the New Heidelburg Lutheran Church packed to capacity with farms and their families who have come to bid farewell to one of their own.Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum

Before I became a mom, I used to hear people say that having a kid is hard.I Want My Epidural Back: Adventures in Mediocre Parenting by Karen Alpert

I was in a coffee shop looking through the want ads when I read, "Macy's Herald Square, the largest store in the world, has big opportunities for out-going, fun-loving people of all shapes and sizes who want more than just a holiday job!" Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

I shouldn't have come to this party. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

When Allan Pinkerton founded the Pinkerton Detective Agency in 1850, he not only became the world's first "private eye," he also established an organization that would set the global standard for investigative and security excellence for generations to come.The Pinks: The First Women Detectives, Operatives, and Spies With the Pinkerton National Detective Agency by Chris Enss

Her name is Melanie. The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Shortly before his eightieth birthday, my father fell in love. The Ice-Cream Makers by Ernest Van der Kwast

She is plucking her bird of paradise of its dead branches, leaning around the plant every time she hears a car. ~ In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

It was dusk, but as he turned onto the rutted driveway he could make out the perimeter of yellow tape that still circled the property. ~ The Girl With a Clock For a Heart by Peter Swanson

SEALs liked to say the only easy day was yesterday. ~ Going Dark by Monica McCarty

"Above all else, I charge ye with the task of keepin' yer mother safe." ~ Sadie's Highlander by Maeve Grayson

A squat grey building of only thirty-four stories. ~ Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

The body lay motionless. ~ Sworn Virgin by Kristopher Dukes

I cannot believe that I, Lola Woodby, am saying this, but there is only so much ornamental ham, puff pastry, and pink fondant icing one can stomach. ~ Gin and Panic by Maia Chance

Montgomery, Alabama. ~ Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

I hate potholes. ~ Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish

The main problem was her hands. ~ The Fire By Night by Teresa Messineo

You would not think someone so afflicted would or could be cheerful, not prone to melancholy or miseries. ~ Miss Jane by Brad Watson

Life is forever changed without her; without the sense of her somewhere near. ~ The Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

In 2001, a reprint of the first edition of my book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was made available to Muggle readers. ~ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander and J.K. Rowling

September in New England was about as perfect a season as there was on earth. ~ Death in the Stacks by Jenn McKinlay

The screw through Cinder's ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle. ~ Cinder by Marissa Meyer

All Emma had to do was open the car door. ~ Bitten by Deceit by Shawntelle Madison

Rafe had thought he'd be past it by now. ~ Forbidden by Elle Thorne

On that unseasonably warm November day at One Devenshire Terrace, Christmas was not in his head at all. ~ Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva

Just when I broke my sobriety and started drinking again in moderate and controlled measure exactly like a normal person, I met this guy who wasn't just a guy but a writer, and not just a writer but the author of one of my favorite books. ~ Lust and Wonder by Augusten Burroughs

The champagne bottle knocks against the marble kitchen counter, making me jump. ~ Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

She really needed to learn how to say no once in a while. ~ Snowfall on Haven Point by RaeAnne Thayne

This story is about one particular Christmas, but it actually starts with a very Bad Thing happening the previous spring. Christmas At Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

You do not enter a race to lose.Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

He is looking for me. Shadowed by Karen E. Olson

Warm August sunlight slanted across the dusty windshield of Cameron McLendon's blue Ford pickup as he drove south on Highway 93. The Christmas Room by Catherine Anderson

The twins were at it again. ~ The Rancher's Christmas Song by RaeAnne Thayne

This was going to be a disaster.Sugar Pine Trail by RaeAnne Thayne

If you look up Santa Claus the top Google result is Wikipedia (because of course it is).Mrs. Claus: Not the Fairy Tale They Say edited by Rhonda Parrish

"What is the point of a high school reunion when you can already see who got fat and bald on Facebook?"These Violent Delights by Victoria Namkung

I had not been long at my post in Mount Street, Mayfair, when my employer's sister came to some calamity. ~ Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley

© 2017, Wendy Runyon of 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.

Books Read in 2017

[Books Read In 2017, Excluding Children's Books Read With My Daughter]

See, Lisa - The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane (2017) - Fiction 
Austen, Jane - Northanger Abbey (1817) - Fiction
Novik, Naomi - Uprooted (2015) - Fantasy
Shetterly, Margot Lee - Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race (2016) - Nonfiction
Liu, Marjorie & Sana Takeda - Monstress, Volume One: Awakening (2015) - Fantasy/Graphic Novel
Elwes, Cary & Joe Layden - As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride (2014) - Nonfiction
Cogman, Genevieve - The Burning Page (2016) - Fantasy

London, Julia - The Devil Takes a Bride (2015) - Romance/Historical
Arlen, Tessa - A Death By Any Other Name (2017) - Crime Fiction/Historical
Atwood, Margaret - The Handmaid's Tale (1986) - Fiction/Dystopia

Poehler, Amy - Yes, Please (2014) - Nonfiction
Moran, Terrie Farley - Read to Death (2016) - Crime Fiction/Cozy
Nagel, Leslie - The Book Club Murders (2016) - Crime Fiction/Cozy
Eskens, Allen - The Life We Bury (2014) - Crime Fiction
Cross, Juliette - Soulfire (Nightwing #1) (2014) - Romance/Fantasy
Cross, Juliette - Windburn (Nightwing #2) (2015) - Romance/Fantasy
Cross, Juliette - Nightbloom (Nightwing #3) (2015) - Romance/Fantasy
Cross, Juliette - Dragon Heartstrings (Vale of Stars 0.5) (2016) - Romance/Fantasy
Cross, Juliette - Waking the Dragon (Vale of Stars 1) (2015) - Romance/Fantasy
Cross, Juliette - Dragon in the Blood (Vale of Stars 2) (2016) - Romance/Fantasy

Cross, Juliette - The Black Lily (Black Lily #1) (2017) - Romance/Fantasy
Crowell, Jenn - Etched On Me  (2014) - Fiction
Sherratt, Mel - The Girls Next Door (Detective Eden Berrisford #1) (2016) - Crime Fiction
Dennison, Hannah - The Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall (Honeychurch Hall Mystery #3) (2016) - Crime Fiction/Cozy
Foley, Laura - WTF: Poems (2017) - Poetry

Erdrich, Louise - LaRose (2016) - Fiction
Newman, Emma - Planetfall (Planetfall #1) (2015) - Science Fiction
Stratford, Sarah-Jane - Radio Girls (2016) - Fiction/Historical
Kowal, Mary Robinette -Shades of Milk and Honey (2010) - Fantasy/Romance/Historical
Barnes, Julian - The Sense of an Ending (2011) - Fiction

Leckie, Ann -Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1) (2013) - Science Fiction
Macallister, Greer -Girl in Disguise (2017) - Fiction (Historical)
Carrisi, Donato - The Lost Girls of Rome (2013) - Crime Fiction
Blum, Jenna - Those Who Save Us (2005) - Fiction (Historical)
Alpert, Karen - I Want My Epidural Back: Adventures in Mediocre Parenting (2016) - Nonfiction
Sedaris, David - Holidays on Ice (1997) -Fiction/Short Stories/Essays

Thomas, Angie -The Hate U Give (2017) - Fiction/YA
Enss, Chris - The Pinks: The First Women Detectives, Operatives, and Spies with the Pinkerton National Detective Agency (2017) - Nonfiction
Carey M.R. -The Girl With All The Gifts (2014) - Science Fiction

Van der Kwast, Ernest - The Ice-Cream Makers (2017) - Fiction
Alvarez, Julia - In the Time of the Butterflies (1994) - Fiction/Historical
Swanson, Peter - The Girl With a Clock For a Heart (2014) - Crime Fiction
McCarty, Monica - Going Dark (2017) - Romance/Suspense
Greyson, Maeve - Sadie's Highlander (2017) - Romance/Paranormal
Huxley, Aldous - Brave New World (1932) - Science Fiction/Classic

Dukes, Kristopher - Sworn Virgin (2017) - Fiction/Historical
Chance, Maia- Gin and Panic (2017) - Crime Fiction/Cozy
Cain, Susan - Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking (2012) - Nonfiction
Charish, Kristi - Owl and the Japanese Circus (2015) - Fantasy/Urban

Messineo, Teresa - The Fire by Night (2017) - Fiction/Historical
Watson, Brad - Miss Jane (2016) - Fiction/Historical
Gaynor, Hazel & Heather Webb - The Last Christmas in Paris (2017) - Fiction/Historical
Scamander, Newt & J.K. Rowling - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2017) - Fantasy
McKinlay, Jenn - Death in the Stacks (2017) - Crime Fiction/Cozy
Meyer, Marissa - Cinder (2017) - Science Fiction/YA
Madison, Shawntelle - Bitten by Deceit (2017) - Romance/Fantasy
Thorne, Elle - Forbidden (2017) - Romance/Fantasy

Silva, Samantha - Mr. Dickens and His Carol (2017) - Fiction/Historical/Holiday
Burroughs, Augusten - Lust and Wonder (2017) - Nonfiction
Paris, B.A. - Behind Closed Doors (2017) - Crime Fiction/Thriller [review pending]
Thayne, RaeAnne - Snowfall on Haven Point (2017) - Romance/Holiday
Colgan, Jenny - Christmas At Little Beach Street Bakery (2017) - Fiction/Holiday
Bardugo, Leigh - Wonder Woman: Warbringer (2017) - Fantasy/YA [review pending]

Olson, Karen E. - Shadowed (2016) - Crime Fiction/Thriller [review pending]
Anderson, Catherine - The Christmas Room (2017) - Romance/Holiday
Thayne, RaeAnne - The Rancher's Christmas Song (2017) - Romance/Holiday
Thayne, RaeAnne - Sugar Pine Trail (2017) - Romance/Holiday
Parrish, Rhonda ed. - Mrs. Claus: Not the Fairy Tale They Say (2017) - Fiction/Fantasy/Science Fiction/Short Stories 
Namkung, Victoria - These Violent Delights (2017) - Fiction [review pending]
Ashley, Jennifer -Death Below Stairs (2018) - Crime Fiction/Historical/Cozy

© 2017, Wendy Runyon of 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, December 29, 2017

December 2017 In Review

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, if you celebrate. My house was full of family with Mouse being the only one under 40. She loved all the attention she received--and, of course, she was spoiled rotten. I did receive one book under the tree thanks to my husband, along with a few gift cards to bookstores. I will be sharing my spoils with you next weekend along with my Stacking the Shelves post.

December was an extremely busy month. Dress rehearsals and then the two holiday showcase performances kept us running around the first half of the month. There was the Girl Scout Christmas party, a house to clean from top to bottom in anticipation of guests, dozens of cookies to bake, all the while still working and hoping my cold wouldn't get worse. It did. I ended up with strep throat and extremely swollen tonsils the week before Christmas. You would think that meant more reading and blogging time, but with my mom in town, that wasn't how things played out. I have barely had a chance to get on the computer and am typing this wrap up Friday night, hoping to get it published by midnight. I have given up on getting the last of my reviews for the year polished and published. They will come out next month if I can get my act together.

Baking Cookies

My mother is doing very well. You would never know she had surgery earlier in the month. My daughter has loved having her grandmother around the past couple weeks. I am sure she runs my mother ragged, although my mom does not complain.

I was heartbroken to hear about author Sue Grafton's death this week. She is one of my favorite mystery writers, and I have long looked up to her. She is a real trailblazer for women in the genre, and an inspiration to many. I was glad to hear her family plans to respect her wishes and not continue with the next book in the series. She had finished up to "Y".  As much as I love the series, I cannot imagine anyone else writing Kinsey Milhone.

We saw the new Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi, this month and my husband and I will be enjoying a rare date night this weekend, hoping to see Pitch Perfect 3. Fingers crossed it is good! Mouse, my brother, his wife, my mom and I all went to see Ferninand the day after Christmas since I had the day off from work. It was cute. 

I will be participating in Jamie's (The Perpetual Page Turner) End of the Year Survey again, wrapping up the year. I at least have that post ready to go the first of the year. I am excited to share my favorite books of 2017 with you along with some of my goals for the upcoming year.

I currently am reading Wicked City by Beatriz Williams for an upcoming book tour. I am really excited about this one. I am listening to the Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena. I do not expect to finish either before the New Year, and so feel fairly safe posting my wrap up post early.

Here is what I read in December:

Solely For Me:
  • Shadowed by Karen E. Olson
  • The Christmas Room by Catherine Anderson
  • The Rancher's Christmas Song by RaeAnne Thayne
  • Sugar Pine Trail by RaeAnne Thayne
  • These Violent Delights by Victoria Namkung
  • Mrs. Claus: Not the Fairy Tale They Say edited by Rhonda Parrish
  • Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley
Some of the Books I Read With My Daughter: 
  • The Littlest Elf by by Brandi Dougherty, illustrated by Kirsten Richards
  • Care Bears: Share Bear's Christmas Wish/i> by Scholastic Inc.
  • Christmas Mice! by Bethany Roberts, illustrated by Doug Cushman
  • Itsy Bitsy Christmas: You're Never Too Little for His Love by Max Lucado, illustrated by Bruno Merz
  • Amelia Bedelia Joins the Club (Young Amelia Bedelia - I Can Read!) by Herman Parish, illustrated by Lynne Avril
  • The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen, illustrated by Dan Hanna
  • Biscuit's Big Friend by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, illustrated by Pat Schories
  • Christmas Eve Good Night by Doug Cushman
  • Jingle Bells by Iza Trapani
  • Christmas Tree! by Florence Minor, Wendell Minor
  • Feminist Baby by Loryn Brantz
  • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
  • Corduroy's Christmas Surprise by Don Freeman, illustrated by Lisa McCue
  • The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet Ahlberg, Allan Ahlberg
  • A Loud Winter's Nap by Katy Hudson
  • Hansel and Gretal by Vera Southgate
  • Elf on the Shelf (The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition, Volume 1) by Carol V. Aebersold
  • Elf Pets A Reindeer Tradition by Chanda A. Bell
  • The Shy Little Kitten (Step into Reading) by Kristen L. Depken, illustrated by Sue DiCicco
My favorite December read is a tie between Karen E. Olson's Shadowed, which I couldn't put down once I started, and Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley in which I fell in love with Kat Holloway and Daniel McAdam.

Non-Book Review Posts in December:

How did your December shape up reading wise? What was your favorite book you read in December?

Waving Goodbye to 2017

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.

© 2017, Wendy Runyon of 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.