Sunday, October 21, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: Jennifer David Hesse's Midsummer Night's Mischief/Bell, Book & Candlemas/Yuletide Homicide

The intruder knew it was wrong to be there. ~ Opening of Midsummer Night's Mischief

Midsummer Night's Mischief (Wiccan Wheel Mystery, #1) 
by Jennifer David Hesse
Kensington, 2016
Crime Fiction; 352 pgs

Occasionally I go on a series binge, and my most recent one was Jennifer David Hesse’s Wiccan Wheel Mysteries featuring attorney Keli Milanni. The first in the series is Midsummer Night’s Mischief. As Summer Solstice approaches things seem to be going relatively well on the work front for Keli. She’s just landed a big case, involving a heirloom worth millions, when suddenly things take a turn for the worst. Her client is found murdered, the Shakespearean heirloom is stolen, and the family is blaming her, putting her job on the line.

I know something about the Wiccan religion, but not a lot, and so it was interesting to get a glimpse of it through Keli’s eyes. It’s presented in a much more realistic way than most of the paranormal cozies I have read featuring witches which lean more heavily in the fantastical direction. In a society that ostracizes those who practice Wicca or other non-traditional religions, it is no wonder Keli tries to keep her own beliefs and practice a secret. Even her best friend does not know.

Midsummer Night’s Mischief introduces several characters who will appear over the course of the series, including Crenshaw, a rather proper and formal sort of lawyer who also works at Keli’s firm. There’s Farrah, Keli’s best friend—the kind of best friend  I always wish I had--who would drop everything and come running when Keli calls. There is also Wes, the photographer, part-time bartender, who Keli feels a distinct attraction to. Wouldn’t you know it that just as Keli gives in to her feelings, Wes becomes one of the suspects in the murder investigation. She does not really know much about him, but she hopes he won’t turn out to be the killer. My favorite character of all, even over Keli though, has to be Mila, the owner of the New Age gift shop in town. Wouldn’t I love to be her friend too?! 

While not an all-around nail-biting suspense novel, Midsummer Night’s Mischief did have some intense moments and it kept me guessing for a while. I think I suspected a number of characters (so many have believable motives), although I kept coming back to the same one. I liked that the detective assigned to investigate the crime seems like a smart and decent. This was a fun mystery overall, and I could not wait to dive into the next book in the series. Which I obviously did right away. 

*                    *                    *

The energy in the air was palpable. ~ Opening of Bell, Book & Candlemas

Bell, Book & Candlemas (Wiccan Wheel Mystery, #2) 
by Jennifer David Hesse
Kensington, 2016
Crime Fiction; 352 pgs

Time flies in Edindale, Illinois although it feels like just yesterday I just finished reading the first book in Jennifer David Hesse’s Wiccan Wheel Mystery series. Talk about taking it up a notch! Hesse certainly does just that in this second installment. Maybe it had something to do with the focus on my favorite character in the series, Mila, but, even then, this one seemed more action packed, suspenseful, and had me guessing pretty much to the end. There was also more description of Wiccan beliefs and traditions, which I appreciated.

Moonstone Treasures, Mila’s New Age gift shop, has been the recent target of vandals.  Threats and accusations of witchcraft have Mila on edge. And no wonder. Keli wants to help her friend, but is very protective of her secret—that she is a practicing Wiccan. Mila has never applied pressure to Keli to join her coven, but makes sure Keli knows she will always be welcome. Keli is joined again by her ever faithful friend, Farrah, and the two do what they can to find out who could be behind the threats and rumors. Could the vandalism of Moonstone Treasures be related to recent burglaries of businesses in the area? Or could it be the real estate agent or a secretive client who is hoping Mila will be scared off and sell?

It was easy to see why Keli would get herself involved in this investigation given her friendship with Mila. She cooperates with the police for the most part, although she has a penchant for picking up evidence and sticking it in her pocket, I have noticed. Again we meet Detective Rhinehart, who tolerates Keli better than I think most police officials might. He is ever the professional though.

In Bells, Book & Candlemas, we get to see another side of Crenshaw that we hadn’t seen before, a more theatrical side. I am still not sure what to make of him to be honest, but he is growing on me. Then there is Wes, with whom Keli hasn’t spoken to in a while—a surprise given how close the two seemed to be getting in the last book. We soon learn why, however—another mystery solved.

I really liked how everything came together in this novel and the growth our heroine has gone through from the beginning of the first novel to the end of this second one.

*                    *                    *

"Blackmail?" ~ Opening of Yuletide Homicide 


Yuletide Homicide (Wiccan Wheel Mystery #3) 
by Jennifer David Hesse
Kensington, 2017
Crime Fiction; 320 pgs

I love how the titles of all the Wiccan Wheel Mysteries coincide with Wiccan holidays. For Wiccans Yuletide is a time to celebrate rebirth. Yuletide Homicide is the third in the series, this one taking on the subject of politics, blackmail and, murder. Keli is teamed up with fellow attorney Crenshaw Davenport III to look into the blackmailing of a wealthy businessman who is running for mayor of Edindale. Keli can think of a million reasons why someone might want to blackmail someone like Edgar Harrison given his reputation. When Keli discovers his body at the hotel where the company Chirstmas party had been held the night before, the threat level rises. It turns out Mr. Harrison isn’t the only one being blackmailed.

With an ex-boyfriend showing up in town unexpectedly—and then disappearing, and her boss, who obviously hasn’t told Keli everything, telling her to drop her investigation, Keli must know more. Detective Rineheart deserves some sort of award for his patience and tolerance of Keli. Or maybe he knows she’ll solve the crime faster. Although I suspected who was behind everything in this one, I did not know the motive until it was revealed.

I like Keli, but she does not always have the best judgement, and too often finds herself in situations she could have easily avoided if she had been more cautious. This was another fun book in the series. I like that Keli’s best friend and boyfriend are now aware of her religion—it makes things easier for Keli, no doubt, in that she no longer has to keep such an important part of who she is from these two important people in her life. Yuletide Homicide was a great addition to the 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.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

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


I am linking up to the Sunday Post hosted by the wonderful Kim of Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where participants recap our week, talk about what we are reading, share any new books that have come our way, and whatever else we want to talk about. I am also linking to Stacking the Shelves hosted by the great Team Tynga's Reviews and Marlene of Reading Reality a meme in which participants share what new books came their way recently.


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



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

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

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

Mouse & author Kimbery Franklin

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

Animal and Nature Stage

John Archambault singing his book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Author Donna Zellers signing her book Witches Ball for Mouse

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

Author Laura Knight

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

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

Astronaut Nicole Stott

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

New to Mouse's Shelves:

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


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


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

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

Happy Reading!


© 2018, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Waiting to Read Wednesday (#19)



The Old(er) 
I have an embarrassing number of unread books sitting on the shelves in my personal library. Carole of Carole's Random Life in Books has given me the perfect excuse to spotlight and discuss those neglected books in her Books from the Backlog feature. After all, even those older books need a bit of love! Not to mention it is reminding me what great books I have waiting for me under my own roof still to read!


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

*

The New
Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by the marvelous Tressa at Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss upcoming release we are excited about that we have yet to read.


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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


© 2018, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: The Diving Pool by Yōko Ogawa

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2018, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

My October TBR List Poll Winner

Thank you for helping me decide what book from my TBR collection I should read next:

My TBR List is a meme hosted by the awesome Michelle at Because Reading. It’s a fun way to choose a book from your TBR pile to read. The 1st Sunday of every month, I will list 3 books I am considering reading and take a poll as to which you think I should read. I will read the winner that month, and my review will follow (unfortunately, not likely in the same month, but eventually--that's all I can promise). 



(last night)

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

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

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


© 2018, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Waiting to Read Wednesday (#18)



The Old(er) 
I have an embarrassing number of unread books sitting on the shelves in my personal library. Carole of Carole's Random Life in Books has given me the perfect excuse to spotlight and discuss those neglected books in her Books from the Backlog feature. After all, even those older books need a bit of love! Not to mention it is reminding me what great books I have waiting for me under my own roof still to read!


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

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

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

*

The New
Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by the marvelous Tressa at Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss upcoming release we are excited about that we have yet to read.

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


© 2018, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Longest Books I’ve Ever Read

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


This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is the Longest Books I’ve Ever Read, at least according to Goodreads. Whether I read a longer book before I began keeping track, I cannot say. By the end of the year, I hope to add two more books to this list, Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace and Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.


The Stand by Stephen King (1,439 pgs)





Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Susanna Clarke (1,006 pgs)




The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (973 pgs)



The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber (944 pgs)




I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb (897 pgs)




A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (848 pgs)




The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald (848 pgs)





Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (838 pgs)





Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin (768 pgs)




Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (759 pgs)


What are some the longest  books you have read? 



© 2018, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang

The baby was small. ~ Opening of The Impossible Girl


The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang
Lake Union Publishing, 2018
Fiction (Historical); 364 pgs
Source: NetGalley for TLC Tour

I admit I have been shying away from doing book tours as of late, but when I was offered the chance to read and review this one, I jumped right on it. I love historical fiction and throw in a woman in an unconventional role, and I cannot resist. I knew resurrectionists existed, but did not know much about the field or their role in society. Lydia Kang certainly whet my appetite for wanting to know more. I especially like it when historical fiction novels have strands of truth running through them--and it's clear the author did a lot of research on the time period her novel is set in, Manhattan, 1850. 

I was taken by Cora Lee's confidence and double life immediately. By day she is a lady and by night a rough and tumble man. To the outside world, she is Cora and her twin brother Jacob. She's mastered the two roles she plays so well that they each have their own distinct personalities. Having spent a good part of her life having to pretend to be a boy in order to keep her true identity hidden, it is no wonder she is so well able to fool those around her. Diagnosed at birth with having two hearts, Cora has spent her life protecting her secret. Grave robbers like herself and those, particularly anatomists, who buy the bodies she procures would pay a pretty penny for a woman with two hearts after all.

When a young medical student, Theodore Flint, steps in her path, Cora wants nothing to do with him. He takes a shine to the unusual woman though, struck by her beauty, wit and no nonsense attitude. Not to mention he has heard she, her brother and their team are the best resurrectionists around--and he wants to learn the trade.

Cora has long had an agreement with several doctors in the city that upon the deaths of certain individuals with special health conditions, she will be informed first so that she can collect their bodies. Whether for research or spectacle, these bodies are a hot commodity. Just as hers would be if she were to end up dead. When some of these people seem to be turning up murdered, Cora comes to realize she might be next. Does someone know her secret? She no longer trusts those around her, not even those who claim to be on her side.

Lydia Kang sets the stage for the novel quite well, wrapping it in history, not only capturing the time period in terms of the setting, questionable and medical advances, roles and treatment of women, and the profitability of the strange and the odd. I loved every minute of this deliciously dark novel. I was drawn to both the mystery and the romance, as well as Cora's personal history and relationship--or lack there of--with her biological family. I was hopeful I would like this novel, and I came away loving it--every suspenseful twist and bit of drama.


Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Connect with Lydia

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


I hope you will check out what others had to say about The Impossible Girl 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.





© 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.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Sunday Mews: Wrapping Up September & My October TBR List Poll

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. I am linking up to Nicole of Feed Your Addiction's Monthly Wrap-Up Post, where any book bloggers who write monthly wrap-up posts can link up and visit other bloggers to see what they have been reading.  



Oh how I love October! We have been able to open our windows in the evenings now, and people are starting to put out their fall and Halloween decorations. My daughter's been begging us to put up ours. I guess we should get a start on it! Wouldn't you know it, I hurt my arm early last week; my dominate arm, at that. After a week of being in pain, I finally went to the doctor. Fortunately, it is just as I suspected, a strained, muscle, but, boy, does it ever hurt! As a result, my online presence has been spotty this past week and likely will be for another week or so.


New to My Shelves in September: 

E-Book Purchases:

Zig Zag Girl (Magic Men Mysteries, #1) by Elly Griffiths
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
The Ripper's Shadow (Victorian Mystery, #1) by Laura Joh Rowland
A Matter of Grave Concern by Brenda Novak
Bound (A Doyle Witch Mystery, #1) by Kirsten Weiss (free)
Ground (A Doyle Witch Mystery, #2) by Kirsten Weiss
Gone With the Ghost (Murder by Design, #1) by Erin McCarthy (free)
Murder, Mayhem and Mama by Christie Craig (free)
The Ragged Edge of Night by Olivia Hawker (free)
Wandfasted (Black Witch Chronicles, (0.5) by Laurie Forest

My husband's most recent purchase (he has this manga series in Japanese and is so excited that it is now coming out in English so he can read it):

Dragon Half  (Volume 2) by Ryūsuke Mita

My Birthday Books:

 The Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish
City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong
The Black Witch by Laurie Forest

Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

 Josie: A story of Faith and Survival by Susan Lowe and Diane-Iverson 
(personalized/autographed- gift from my mom)

Someone trying to steal my birthday candy!


What I Am Reading: I am reading The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel by Alyssa Palombo at the moment, and enjoying it. I did sneak in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving first since Palombo's novel is a re-telling of that original short story.

What I Am Watching: Our first month without cable went by without a hitch. I was able to finish the 13th season of Supernatural, and I watched the first season of Jack Ryan, which I really enjoyed. My daughter got me hooked on Mako Mermaids, an Australian show about teenage mermaids. I binge watched The Innocents, a Netflix original, about two teens who run away together and discover one of them is a shapeshifter. I was not sure I would like it at first, but I soon found myself invested in the characters. I enjoyed it, but did not love it. I recently started Netflix's Maniacs. The jury is still out.

Off the Blog: September was a full month. I celebrated my birthday, and Nutcracker rehearsals got underway. Mouse officially started with her new Girl Scout Troop. We spent the last day of September on a Girl Scout outing, enjoying the OC Children's Book Festival, which I will talk more about in a future post. My boss went on vacation for three weeks and left me and another colleague in charge. We had a few bumps, but overall it went well. I am just so glad she was back this week! September was a rough month at work as it was.

Does anyone else hate fundraisers as much as I do? I know there's a need for them (and I am very grateful for what we are able to earn--it really helps), but I hate asking people to buy things or for money. Ugh. Mouse has three going on right now: school, dance and Girl Scouts.

Here is what I finished reading in September:
  • The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang
  • Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye
  • Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven
September was another slow reading month for me. I think I reached a really long portion of War and Peace because I spent a lot of time trying to stay on top of my reading of that. My reading of Les Miserables is still going well. The chapters with that one mostly fly by. Remind me to never do two one-year long read-alongs at the same time again, please. Of the books I finished, I enjoyed them all very much.

I was on top of my blogging in September, and while I wasn't always quick about responding to comments, I feel like I managed pretty well, even with everything going on (I am behind already this month, however, thanks to my arm). I keep hoping I can get ahead in my blogging by more than a week, but so far it hasn't happened. This past month I introduced one new feature (Poetry Corner) and a twist to an old one (Mouse's Corner), both of which I would like to make more regular features on my blog. 

This Past September In Reading Mews:

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

*

Thank you for helping me decide what book from my TBR collection I should read next:

My TBR List is a meme hosted by the awesome Michelle at Because Reading. It’s a fun way to choose a book from your TBR pile to read. The 1st 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). 




As I was deciding what books to include in this month's TBR List Poll, I kept coming back to my last Top Ten Tuesday post featuring books by my favorite authors that I still haven’t read. Here are three books I have had on my shelf for quite some time and am kicking myself for not yet reading. All of these are a part of series I have already begun reading. Which do you think I should read next?


Magic Slays (Kate Daniels, # 5) by Ilona Andrews
Plagued by a war between magic and technology, Atlanta has never been so deadly. Good thing Kate Daniels is on the job.

Kate Daniels may have quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but she’s still knee-deep in paranormal problems. Or she would be if she could get someone to hire her. Starting her own business has been more challenging than she thought it would be—now that the Order is disparaging her good name. Plus, many potential clients are afraid of getting on the bad side of the Beast Lord, who just happens to be Kate’s mate.

So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. But it turns out that this is not an isolated incident. Kate needs to get to the bottom of it—and fast, or the city and everyone dear to her might pay the ultimate price… [Goodreads Summary]


River Marked (Mercy Thompson, # 6) by Patricia Briggs
Being a different breed of shapeshifter-a walker-Mercy Thompson can see ghosts, but the spirit of her long-gone father has never visited her. Until now, on her honeymoon with the Alpha werewolf Adam. An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River-and innocent people are dying. As other walkers make their presence known to Mercy, she must reconnect with her heritage to exorcise the world of the legend known as the river devil... [Goodreads Summary]








The Good, The Bad, and the Undead (The Hollows, #2) by Kim Harrison
It's a tough life for witch Rachel Morgan, sexy, independent bounty hunter, prowling the darkest shadows of downtown Cincinnati for criminal creatures of the night.

She can handle the leather-clad vamps and even tangle with a cunning demon or two. But a serial killer who feeds on the experts in the most dangerous kind of black magic is definitely pressing the limits.

Confronting an ancient, implacable evil is more than just child's play -- and this time, Rachel will be lucky to escape with her very soul. [Goodreads Summary]





Thank you for voting! I hope you all have a wonderful week! Happy Reading!

© 2018, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.