Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Wishing to Read Wednesday: Old & New (#10)

Books from the Backlog is a weekly meme, hosted by the wonderful Carole of Carole's Random Life in Books to spotlight and discuss the neglected books sitting on our shelves still waiting to be read.. Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by the marvelous Tressa at Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released.

The Old

Murder is Binding (Booktown Mystery #1) by Lorna Barrett (Berkley Prime Crime, 2008)
The streets of Stoneham, New Hampshire, are lined with bookstores...and paved with murder.

When she moved to Stoneham, city slicker Tricia Miles met nothing but friendly faces. And when she opened her mystery bookstore, she met friendly competition. But when she finds Doris Gleason dead in her own cookbook store, killed by a carving knife, the atmosphere seems more cutthroat than cordial. Someone wanted to get their hands on the rare cookbook that Doris had recently purchased-and the locals think that someone is Tricia. To clear her name, Tricia will have to take a page out of one of her own mysteries-and hunt down someone who isn't killing by the book. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read it: I love a good cozy and how can I resist this one set in a mystery bookstore?!

*

Villette by Charlotte Brontë (1853)
Villette is Charlotte Brontë's powerful autobiographical novel of one woman's search for true love.
With neither friends nor family, Lucy Snowe sets sail from England to find employment in a girls' boarding school in the small town of Villette. There, she struggles to retain her self-possession in the face of unruly pupils, the hostility of headmistress Madame Beck, and her own complex feelings - first for the school's English doctor and then for the dictatorial professor Paul Emanuel. Drawing on her own deeply unhappy experiences as a governess in Brussels, Charlotte Brontë's autobiographical novel, the last published during her lifetime, is a powerfully moving study of loneliness and isolation, and the pain of unrequited love, narrated by a heroine determined to preserve an independent spirit in the face of adverse circumstances. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read it: Jane Eyre is one of my all time favorite novels, and I have heard wonderful things about Villette too. Someday, I would like to dive into this one set in a girls' boarding school. 

*                     *

The New

Toil Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft by Tess Sharp & Jessica Spotswood
Release Date: August 28, 2018 by Harlequin Teen
A young adult fiction anthology of 15 stories featuring contemporary, historical, and futuristic stories featuring witchy heroines who are diverse in race, class, sexuality, religion, geography, and era.

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

Glinda the Good Witch. Elphaba the Wicked Witch. Willow. Sabrina. Gemma Doyle. The Mayfair Witches. Ursula the Sea Witch. Morgan le Fey. The three weird sisters from Macbeth.

History tells us women accused of witchcraft were often outsiders: educated, independent, unmarried, unwilling to fall in line with traditional societal expectations.

Bold. Powerful. Rebellious.

A bruja’s traditional love spell has unexpected results. A witch’s healing hands begin to take life instead of giving it when she ignores her attraction to a fellow witch. In a terrifying future, women are captured by a cabal of men crying witchcraft and the one true witch among them must fight to free them all. In a desolate past, three orphaned sisters prophesize for a murderous king. Somewhere in the present, a teen girl just wants to kiss a boy without causing a hurricane.

From good witches to bad witches, to witches who are a bit of both, this is an anthology of diverse witchy tales from a collection of diverse, feminist authors. The collective strength of women working together—magically or mundanely--has long frightened society, to the point that women’s rights are challenged, legislated against, and denied all over the world. T
oil & Trouble delves deep into the truly diverse mythology of witchcraft from many cultures and feminist points of view, to create modern and unique tales of witchery that have yet to be explored. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read it: Just mention witches and I am all over it. This collection appeals to me even more because it features a diverse cast of characters from all walks of life. I cannot wait to read it.

*


Stars Uncharted by S.K. Dunstall
Release Date: August 14, 2018 by Ace Books
A ragtag band of explorers are looking to make the biggest score in the galaxy in the brand-new science fiction adventure novel from the national bestselling author of Linesman. 
Three people who are not who they claim to be: 
Nika Rik Terri, body modder extraordinaire, has devoted her life to redesigning people's bodies right down to the molecular level. Give her a living body and a genemod machine, and she will turn out a work of art. 
Josune Arriola is crew on the famous explorer ship the Hassim, whose memory banks contain records of unexplored worlds worth a fortune. But Josune and the rest of the crew are united in their single-minded pursuit of the most famous lost planet of all. 
Hammond Roystan, the captain of the rival explorer ship, The Road, has many secrets. Some believe one of them is the key to finding the lost world. 
Josune's captain sends her to infiltrate Roystan's ship, promising to follow. But when the Hassim exits nullspace close to Roystan's ship, it's out of control, the crew are dead, and unknown Company operatives are trying to take over. Narrowly escaping and wounded, Roystan and Josune come to Nika for treatment--and with problems of her own, she flees with them after the next Company attack. 
Now they're in a race to find the lost world...and stay alive long enough to claim the biggest prize in the galaxy. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: There are certain keywords that are sure to catch my attention and in this one, "ragtag band  of explorers" was it. This sounds like it will be a lot of fun!


Have you read any of these? Do these sound like something you would want to read if not?


© 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.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Weekly Mews: July in Review & My August TBR 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.  

Across California the firefighters have been working long hours with little sleep and doing the best they can to save lives and structures. Multiple fires have engulfed the state. I am very grateful for their efforts. The damage caused has been devastating. So many people and animals displaced and lives lost. My uncle and aunt were forced to evacuate as a fire in the northern part of the state threatened their home (they have since been allowed home--thank goodness). And the Girl Scout camp my daughter will likely go to in a year or two had to evacuate here in Southern California due to another fire. The other day someone said it isn't the earthquakes they fear most, living in California. It is the wildfires. And, honestly, I can say I agree with that 100%. California has an annual fire season for a reason--and it is never good. Please keep the fire fighters and those impacted by the fires, both humans and animals, in your prayers and thoughts.

On a happier note, the 23rd of July was my 12th blog anniversary. When I started blogging in 2006, I was not sure how long it would last. The book blogging community has grown exponentially over all these years. Sometimes I miss the smaller version of our community, how close knit we were, old friends now gone. But there is something to be said for progress too, and I am glad to be a part of this ever evolving community. I am so grateful to all of you who have been with me through the years as well as those of you who I have met along the way, including those who may be visiting for the first time. It is my passion for books and wanting to share that love with others that motivated me to start Musings of a Bookish Kitty, and it is that which keeps me going. Thank you for going on this journey with me, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for all of us!


New to My Shelves in July: 

Recent e-book purchases (can you tell I had witches on the brain?):

Murder Any Witch Way (Brimstone Bay #1) by N.M. Howell
The Bakery Murder (Sweetland Witch) by Zoe Arden
Initiation (Hunters' Watch Brigade #1) by Paula Millhouse
The King Tides (Lancaster & Daniels #1) by James Swain
Whisper Me This by Kerry Anne King
Yuletide Homicide (A Wiccan Wheel Mystery #3) by Jennifer David Hesse
Midsummer Night's Mischief (A Wiccan Wheel Mystery #1) by Jennifer David Hesse
Bell, Book & Candlemas (A Wiccan Wheel Mystery #2) by Jennifer David Hesse

 Proof of Life by J.A. Jance (hand me down from my mom)
Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke (purchase for Mouse)

What I Am Reading: As seems to be my end of the month pattern, I spent some time toward the end of July catching up on my year long reading projects, reading War and Peace and Les Misérables. I need to be better about spreading out the reading throughout the month . . . I am now well into my August reading in both. Outside of that, I am starting August with the 4th book in Jennifer David Hesse's Wiccan Wheel Mystery series, Samhain Secrets, which is coming out later this month.

What I Am Watching: A couple of nights this past month, I curled up on the couch and escaped into Hallmark's Christmas in July movies. We've also been watching The Worst Witch. My daughter introduced my husband and I to Sugar Rush on Netflix, a baking competition show. It's an easy show to binge watch.

Off the Blog: In early July we left behind triple digit heat and thunder storms and made our way north to the also hot Sacramento where we took in the sights and visited with family. Somewhere in there Anjin and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary, and I successfully got Mouse's hair in a bun. After we got home from our trip, we hit the ground running with rehearsals, and it was back to work for my husband and me.

I will not be around this weekend, I am afraid. Mouse has her two big performances, and things are more than a little bit crazy around here with a house full of company coming and going and the shows to prepare for and carry out. I am hoping to catch at least one of the shows as an audience member--as I will be volunteering through the other. Mouse heads back to school in another week. It doesn't seem possible the summer (at least for school year purposes) is already coming to an end. I am not ready! We did not get to do much with all of Mouse's rehearsals, unfortunately, but then again, that has been an adventure all in itself.

 My fur-sister

 California State Railroad Museum

Mouse playing in the high-speed train cockpit at the Railroad Museum 

 Visiting the California State Capitol Building
  
 Have you ever seen so many Jelly Belly Jelly Beans?

 Jelly Belly Factory Tour

Some old fashioned fun 

 Stopping for gas at a rest stop 

 The cats survived their week with the pet sitter.

She's getting so big!

 My Little Flying Monkey

"We Go Together" pose

Passing time as they Lullaby League waits their turn

 Munchkinland (Wizard of Oz Dress Rehearsal)

 Jitterbug Scene (Wizard of Oz Dress Rehearsal)

Here is what I finished reading in July:
  • The Diving Pool by Yōko Ogawa
  • Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire
  • Alchemy by Marie S. Crosswell
  • The Risk of Rogues by Sabrina Jeffries
  • Midsummer Night's Mischief by Jennifer David Hesse
  • Darkest Heart by Juliette Cross
  • Bell, Book & Candlemas by Jennifer David Hesse
  • Yuletide Homicide by Jennifer David Hesse
I may not have had much computer time this past month for blogging, but I was able to get some reading in. Many of the reads were short or lighter reads, which made it easy to devour them pretty quickly. It was a mystery and romance type of month, with a bit of fantasy thrown in.

*

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 Saturday 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). 




Each month I find myself making a list of the books to consider for the TBR List poll. Sometimes I choose a theme. Sometimes I aim strictly for variety. I always struggle with narrowing my list down.  This month I am going with second in the series books, and these are the three that made the cut. I cannot wait to see which one you want me to read!


The King Slayer (The Witch Hunter, #2)  by Virginia Boecker
“I think, in time, you’ll either be my greatest mistake or my greatest victory.”

Former witch hunter Elizabeth Grey is hiding within the magically protected village of Harrow, evading the price put on her head by Lord Blackwell, the usurper king of Anglia. Their last encounter left Blackwell ruined, but his thirst for power grows stronger every day. He’s readying for a war against those who would resist his rule—namely Elizabeth and the witches and wizards she now calls her allies.

Having lost her stigma, a magical source of protection and healing, Elizabeth’s strength is tested both physically and emotionally. War always means sacrifice, and as the lines between good and evil blur once more, Elizabeth must decide just how far she’ll go to save those she loves. [Goodreads Summary]

*

Shelved Under Murder (Blue Ridge Library Mysteries #2) by Victoria Gilbert 
Autumn leaves aren’t the only things falling in the historic Virginia village of Taylorsford—so are some cherished memories, and a few bodies.

October in Taylorsford, Virginia means it’s leaf peeping season, with bright colorful foliage and a delightful fresh crew of tourists attending the annual Heritage Festival which celebrates local history and arts and crafts. Library director Amy Webber, though, is slightly dreading having to spend two days running a yard sale fundraiser for her library. But during these preparations, when she and her assistant Sunny stumble across a dead body, Amy finds a real reason to be worried.

The body belonged to a renowned artist who was murdered with her own pallet knife. A search of the artist’s studio uncovers a cache of forged paintings, and when the sheriff’s chief deputy Brad Tucker realizes Amy is skilled in art history research, she’s recruited to aid the investigation. It doesn’t seem to be an easy task, but when the state’s art expert uncovers a possible connection between Amy’s deceased uncle and the murder case, Amy must champion her Aunt Lydia to clear her late husband’s name.

That’s when another killing shakes the quiet town, and danger sweeps in like an autumn wind. Now, with her swoon-inducing neighbor Richard Muir, Amy must scour their resources to once again close the books on murder. 
[Goodreads Summary]

*

Off the Grid (The Lost Platoon #2) by Monica McCarty
A team of Navy SEALs go on a mission and disappear without a trace--they are The Lost Platoon.

Investigative reporter Brittany Blake may have stumbled upon the story of a lifetime in her search for her missing brother. When he seemingly disappears overnight, she refuses to accept the Navy's less-than-satisfying explanation. She begins her own investigation, which leads her to top-secret SEAL teams, covert ops, and a possible cover up...

John Donovan is having trouble biding his time, waiting for his Commanding Officer to figure out who set up their platoon. John's best friend and BUD/S partner, Brandon Blake, was one of the many lives tragically lost in the attack against his team. When Brandon's sister, Brittany, tracks John down, looking for answers, he realizes that she may be their best bet--or bait--for finding out who is targeting SEAL Team Nine.
[Goodreads Summary]




Thank you for voting! I hope you all have a wonderful August and 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, July 24, 2018

Wishing to Read Wednesday: Old & New (#9)

Books from the Backlog is a weekly meme, hosted by the wonderful Carole of Carole's Random Life in Books to spotlight and discuss the neglected books sitting on our shelves still waiting to be read.. Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by the marvelous Tressa at Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released.

The Old

Cry Wolf (Alpha & Omega, #1) by Patricia Briggs (Ace Books, 2008)
Anna never knew werewolves existed, until the night she survived a violent attack... and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she'd learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. Then Charles Cornick, the enforcer—and son—of the leader of the North American werewolves, came into her life.

Charles insists that not only is Anna his mate, but she is also a rare and valued Omega wolf. And it is Anna's inner strength and calming presence that will prove invaluable as she and Charles go on the hunt in search of a rogue werewolf—a creature bound in magic so dark that it could threaten all of the pack.
[Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read it: I have read several of the author's Mercy Thompson books, which I have loved. I purchased a copy of this book several years ago as a result. I want to read everything Patricia Briggs has written. 

*


Peony in Love by Lisa See (Random House, 2007)
-I finally understand what the poets have written. In spring, moved to passion; in autumn only regret.-

For young Peony, betrothed to a suitor she has never met, these lyrics from The Peony Pavilion mirror her own longings. In the garden of the Chen Family Villa, amid the scent of ginger, green tea, and jasmine, a small theatrical troupe is performing scenes from this epic opera, a live spectacle few females have ever seen. Like the heroine in the drama, Peony is the cloistered daughter of a wealthy family, trapped like a good-luck cricket in a bamboo-and-lacquer cage. Though raised to be obedient, Peony has dreams of her own.

Peony-s mother is against her daughter-s attending the production: -Unmarried girls should not be seen in public.- But Peony-s father assures his wife that proprieties will be maintained, and that the women will watch the opera from behind a screen. Yet through its cracks, Peony catches sight of an elegant, handsome man with hair as black as a cave-and is immediately overcome with emotion.

So begins Peony-s unforgettable journey of love and destiny, desire and sorrow-as Lisa See-s haunting new novel, based on actual historical events, takes readers back to seventeenth-century China, after the Manchus seize power and the Ming dynasty is crushed.

Steeped in traditions and ritual, this story brings to life another time and place-even the intricate realm of the afterworld, with its protocols, pathways, and stages of existence, a vividly imagined place where one-s soul is divided into three, ancestors offer guidance, misdeeds are punished, and hungry ghosts wander the earth. Immersed in the richness and magic of the Chinese vision of the afterlife, transcending even death, Peony in Love explores, beautifully, the many manifestations of love. Ultimately, Lisa See-s new novel addresses universal themes: the bonds of friendship, the power of words, and the age-old desire of women to be heard.
. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read it: Lisa See is one of my favorite authors, but I haven't quite read all her books yet. I am trying though! One I haven't read yet is Peony in Love, which I really must get to.

*                     *

The New

A Dark and Twisting Path (A Writer's Apprentice Mystery, #3) by Julia Buckley
Release Date: August 7, 2018 by Berkley
Writer's apprentice Lena London is happily working on a new collaboration with her idol and bestselling suspense novelist and friend Camilla Graham, but her joy is short-lived when a dark cloud descends upon the quaint town of Blue Lake, Indiana...

Lena's best friend, Allison, is in a panic. On a walk in the woods by her home, Allison discovers the body of her mail carrier, an argumentative man who recently had a falling out with Allison's husband. Lena quickly realizes that Allison has nothing to worry about as the murder weapon points to a different suspect altogether: Lena's embattled boyfriend, Sam West.

Sam was cleared of his wife's murder when she was found alive, and now someone is trying to make him look guilty again. Surveillance video of a break-in at his house shows a shadowy figure trying to incriminate him by stealing the weapon from his desk. Lena and Camilla work on a suspect list, but a threatening note and a violent intrusion at Graham House prove that the devious killer has decided to write them into the plot.
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: I really enjoyed the first book in this series and am anxious to continue with it. I just love Camilla and Lena. Spending time with them is like visiting with old friends.

*

The Butterfly Conspiracy (A Merriweather and Royston Mystery #1) by Vivian Conroy
Release Date: August 7, 2018 by Crooked Lane Books
In late Victorian times, when new inventions cause both excitement and terror, a mysterious death at a zoological lecture brings together two unlikely allies in a quest through London's upper crust and underbelly to unravel the ingenious murder method and killer behind it.

Miss Merula Merriweather is not like other women her age: instead of hunting for a husband at balls and soirees she spends her time in a conservatory hatching exotic creatures. As the Royal Zoological Society won't accept a woman's accomplishments, she has her uncle Rupert take credit for her achievements. But at a zoological lecture, the guest of honor dies after contact with one of Merula's butterflies, and Merula's uncle is arrested for murder.

In an attempt to safeguard evidence to prove his innocence, Merula almost gets killed but for the timely interference of enigmatic Lord Raven Royston. Viewing natural history as a last resort to regain respectability lost by too many dubious business investments, Raven didn't expect his first lecture to take a murderous turn. Feeling partially responsible because he encouraged Merula to release the gigantic butterfly from the glass case in which it was kept, Raven suggests they solve the puzzle of Lady Sophia's sudden death together by looking closer at her relations with estranged friends, long suffering staff and the man groomed to be her heir, so close to her money and yet unable to touch any of it.

With the police looking for them, and every new discovery raising more questions than answers, especially about the murder method which left no traces of foul play on the body, Merula will have to risk her own life to get at the truth and save her uncle from the gallows in 
The Butterfly Conspiracy, Vivian Conroy’s enchanting series debut. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read it: This mystery set in Victorian times about a woman with nontraditional interests is calling my name quite loudly. Can you hear it?


Do these sound like something you would be interested in 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.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert

Anyone who claims there are no stupid questions has never worked in a public library. ~ Opening of A Murder for the Books 


A Murder for the Books (Blue Ridge Library Mysteries #1) by Victoria Gilbert
Crooked Lane Books, 2017
Crime Fiction/Cozy; 336 pgs

I went from liking cozies somewhat to loving them in the last couple years. So many good ones have come out. Or maybe it is just me and my reading mood, and cozies are appealing to me more and more. Thank you to everyone who voted for A Murder for the Books in my May TBR List poll. I enjoyed my time in Taylorsford, Virginia with Amy Webber and her aunt. This particular mystery held a double appeal for me. Not only did it have a modern murder that needed solving, but also an old one. I do love a good (or sordid) family secret!

Our heroine Amy Webber is manager of the local public library, having moved to Taylorsford with her aunt who has been having health issues. One day her handsome new next-door neighbor, Richard Muir, stops by the library to do some research on his family history, hoping to clear the name of the woman whom his great uncle loved, accused of murdering her husband in 1825. She may have been acquitted, but the town folk never believed it. While showing Richard the way to the archives, she never expects to find a body just inside. While the police begin to investigate the more recent murder, Amy and Richard begin digging into the past, finding more than they bargained for. Could a conspiracy be involved? Could the present day murder be tied to events the pair have uncovered about the past; secrets someone(s) wanted to keep buried?

Amy is a very relatable character, a plus-sized librarian, who is witty and smart. She’s come out of a bad relationship and is a little wary of starting a new one, and so when Richard makes his interest known, Amy finds herself backpedaling fast. I liked seeing their relationship evolve over the course of the novel. Richard is a choreographer and dancer who teaches dance at a university. I do think he moved a bit fast for comfort (and so did Amy), but I did like Richard. He comes with his own broken heart story, which plays nicely into the novel. I liked how supportive he is of Amy and tackles her concerns head on while at the same time being willing to give her the space she needs.

Some of the more minor characters are worth noting as well. Oh, I do hope Sunshine, Amy's library assistant, runs for mayor! And I just love Amy’s Aunt Lydia. There is also the mysterious and intimidating Paul Dassin who definitely does not seem to be on the up and up. 

This was such an entertaining novel. Amy comes into the present day murder investigation naturally and it never felt as if I had to suspend my disbelief to buy why she was involved. Victoria Gilbert has created a rich history for her characters, especially their ancestors. I liked that Amy’s own family was tied into it all, and not always in a favorable light. Some may be put off by the romance thread that runs throughout the story, but I did not mind it. Sometimes a side dish of romance does a mystery good. While the mystery itself was not that hard to figure out—the whodunit and why—I really enjoyed my time spent getting from the beginning to the end. I would love to spend more time with Amy.

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.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Where Is Your Bookmark? (A Little Yuletide--and murder--in July)

I am just about to dive in Jennifer David Hesse's Yuletide Homicide. I recently read the first two books of the Wiccan Wheel cozy mystery series featuring attorney Keli Milanni, a vegan and practicing Wiccan, who has a nose for crime solving. I have enjoyed the series so far and am anxious to see what trouble Keli finds herself in next. Plus, I just love her friends Mila and Farrah and her boyfriend Wes.



A weekly meme where readers share the first sentence (or more) of the book they are reading and say what they think. Hosted by the wonderful Gillion Dumas of Rose City Reader.

"Blackmail? Really? Someone is blackmailing Edgar?"
Now there was something you didn't hear every day. Before I could stop myself, an image flashed to mind: Edindale's most prominent silver-haired citizen engaged in a steamy, salacious affair. Scandalous! But with whom? I shifted in my leather seat and smoothed my pencil skirt, as  I waited for my boss to continue. 

My thoughts:  With an opening like that, I have to know more! Who indeed? And who could be blackmailing him?


A weekly meme in which readers share a random sentence or two from page 56 or 56% of the book they are reading. Hosted by the wonderful Freda of Freda's Voice.

Allison looked away. "It was at the ball, in the lounge. He was having yet another drink, and I tried to slow him down. He told me to relax, said he was celebrating. And I said, 'You haven't won yet. The campaign has barely begun.' he grinned at me and said that wasn't it. He said, "I've figured something out. I figured out whose been messing with me, and now I can put an end to it."  [56%]


My thoughts: Given I just started reading this book when I jotted down the first paragraphs for you, I do not know anything about the set up for this conversation. It sounds a bit ominous though, doesn't it? I can't wait to dive in!


What do you think? Does this sound like something you would be interested in reading? What are you reading right now? 


© 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, July 17, 2018

Wishing to Read Wednesday: Old & New (#8)

Books from the Backlog is a weekly meme, hosted by the wonderful Carole of Carole's Random Life in Books to spotlight and discuss the neglected books sitting on our shelves still waiting to be read.. Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by the marvelous Tressa at Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released.

The Old

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (Scribner, 2012)
A captivating, beautiful, and stunningly accomplished debut novel that opens in 1918 Australia - the story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who make one devastating choice that forever changes two worlds.

Australia, 1926. After four harrowing years fighting on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns home to take a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day's journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby's cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom's judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

M. L. Stedman's mesmerizing, beautifully written debut novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel's decision to keep this "gift from God." And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another's tragic loss.
[Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: I so want to read this! I have had my copy for quite a while and cannot help but be curious what the backstory is and how the characters will deal with the consequences of their actions. 

*

The Killing Moon (Dreamblood #1) by N.K. Jemisin (Hatchette Book Group, 2012)
THE CITY BURNED BENEATH THE DREAMING MOON

In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and among the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers - the keepers of this peace. Priests of the dream-goddess, their duty is to harvest the magic of the sleeping mind and use it to heal, soothe...and kill those judged corrupt.

But when a conspiracy blooms within Gujaareh's great temple, the Gatherer Ehiru must question everything he knows. Someone, or something, is murdering innocent dreamers in the goddess's name, and Ehiru must now protect the woman he was sent to kill - or watch the city be devoured by war and forbidden magic.
[Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: N.K. Jemisin's books come highly recommended, and I seem to recall receiving it as a gift (although my memory may be spotty on that). I hope to read this someday!


The New

If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim
Release Date: August 7, 2018 by William Morrow
An emotionally riveting debut novel about war, family, and forbidden love—the unforgettable saga of two ill-fated lovers in Korea and the heartbreaking choices they’re forced to make in the years surrounding the civil war that continues to haunt us today.

When the communist-backed army from the North invades her home, sixteen-year-old Haemi Lee, along with her widowed mother and ailing brother, is forced to flee to a refugee camp along the coast. For a few hours each night, she escapes her family’s makeshift home and tragic circumstances with her childhood friend, Kyunghwan.

Focused on finishing school, Kyunghwan doesn’t realize his older and wealthier cousin, Jisoo, has his sights set on the beautiful and spirited Haemi—and is determined to marry her before joining the fight. But as Haemi becomes a wife, then a mother, her decision to forsake the boy she always loved for the security of her family sets off a dramatic saga that will have profound effects for generations to come.

Richly told and deeply moving,
If You Leave Me is a stunning portrait of war and refugee life, a passionate and timeless romance, and a heartrending exploration of one woman’s longing for autonomy in a rapidly changing world. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read it: Korea is often in the news as is the turmoil in North Korea and refugees around the world. Crystal Hana Kim's novel calls to me, and I want to know more about the characters she has created and the story she has to tell. And what a gorgeous cover, don't you think?

*

Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley
Release Date: August 7, 2018 by Sourcebooks Landmark (released in Canada in April, 2018)
"The house, when I first saw it, seemed intent on guarding what it knew; but we all learned, by the end of it, that secrets aren't such easy things to keep."

It's late summer, war is raging, and families are torn apart by divided loyalties and deadly secrets. In this complex and dangerous time, a young French Canadian lieutenant is captured and billeted with a Long Island family, an unwilling and unwelcome guest. As he begins to pitch in with the never-ending household tasks and farm chores, Jean-Philippe de Sabran finds himself drawn to the daughter of the house. Slowly, Lydia Wilde comes to lean on Jean-Philippe, true soldier and gentleman, until their lives become inextricably intertwined. Legend has it that the forbidden love between Jean-Philippe and Lydia ended tragically, but centuries later, the clues they left behind slowly unveil the true story.

Part history, part romance, and all kinds of magic, Susanna Kearsley's latest masterpiece will draw you in and never let you go, even long after you've closed the last page. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read it: I have only read one of Kearsley's books to date, but I fell in love with her writing and eventually would like to try more of her work. I just love the sound of this one!


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


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

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: Dawn of the Flame Sea & Demons of the Flame Sea by Jean Johnson

Dawn of the Flame Sea (Flame Seas, #1) by Jean Johnson
Intermix, 2016 
 Fantasy; 130 pages
Source: I purchased a copy of this book for my reading pleasure.

Opening Sentence: Energy shimmered into view, at first forming a single rippling, wavering line, then splitting and curving into an arch.
Goodreads Summary: 
They call themselves the Fae Rii, or Fair Traders. Elfin-like beings capable of wielding sophisticated forms of magic, they travel between universes exploring new worlds and establishing settlements for their people to live peacefully among the locals.

The humans of the White Sands tribe, refugees fleeing from powerful enemies, see the Fae as potential invaders stealing their newfound natural resources. Jintaya, the leader of the Fae travelers, manages to forge an alliance, promising to trade skills and knowledge—magical and otherwise—to build a lasting community.

But the Circle Fire Tribe has no desire to share those rich valleys and ravines with the people they’ve hunted to near extinction—or the supposed deities they worship…

I purchased the first in the series, Dawn of the Flame Sea, quite a while ago and admit to forgetting it was on my e-reader. From the synopsis of the book, it is about the fae, however, which is probably why the series initially caught my attention. 

I was quite taken with the world building in this series. Dawn of the Flame Sea walks readers through the two groups finding a way to live together. The White Sands Tribe is fascinated by the magical abilities of the Fae Rii—their ability to shape stone and their environment to best meet their needs. The natives have their own way of using the magic on the planet, but it is a very careful and measured practice done only by their shaman. The tribes of the planet are quite primitive (Bronze Age, I believe), and it is not surprising that some look to the Fae Rii as gods, something the Fae try hard to discourage. While things seem to work out well in terms of the two groups coming together and finding a way to live together, they are not without their troubles. The tribe that had forced the White Sands Tribe off their own land is stalking them, wanting to kill them off and steal their resources.

While I appreciated the author’s detail and care in creating the world her characters lived in, I felt it was at times at the expense of the character development. I wanted less description of the macro scope of the development of their community and more focus on a select few individual characters. Ban, an immortal human who had been taken in by the Fae long before their coming to the new planet, is such an interesting character, and likely my favorite in the book. he is scarred, having seen much more than anyone can imagine. I couldn’t help but be more curious about his past and his relationship with the Fae leader, who herself was a bit of a mystery.

I admit I started to get bored about a third of the way in.  I kept hoping things would speed up the closer the enemy Circle Fire Tribe got to the settlement.  I wish I could say that the book did get better for me, but ultimately, I was disappointed.


Demons of the Flame Sea (Flame Seas, #2) by Jean Johnson
Intermix, 2016
Fantasy; 154 pgs
Source: Review copy provided by publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

Opening Sentence: Old Nandjed didn't do much weaving anymore; her age-gnarled fingers had lost most of their dexterity.
Goodreads Summary: 
Raised to understand and control advanced magics, the Fae Rii know they must be careful with the wild, abundant energies of their new desert homeland. They must also downplay the awe they inspire in the Bronze Age humans around them. Still, they have managed to create some equilibrium between the two factions, primitive versus advanced—at least, until new outworlders arrive, tipping the scales out of balance.

Strict and power-hungry, the ruthless Efrijt take the phrase “deal with the devil” to a new level. A treaty may be possible; however, the solution proposed will in turn give birth to a new problem: A chaos that will dance its way through all three races trying to survive in the burning heat of the Flame Sea…

I was interested enough in the characters and world to continue with the series, and I was curious to see if the second book in the series would pick up. In some respects it did. It is still not a fast paced book. The Fae Rii are peace loving outlanders and will try to find peaceful solutions to every conflict. During one of his expeditions on the planet, the immortal Ban comes across a village in which another outlander group has settled, the Efrijit. Ban has a history with the Efrijit and does not trust them. They are extremely manipulative and take advantage of others weaknesses to profit. The Efrijit had not realized the Fae Rii had laid claim to the planet before them, and insist that they have every right to be there. They are using the local tribe as labor, mining for a liquid that is poisonous to all but the Efrijit. It is making the laborers sick as a result of close and prolonged exposure. The former White Sands Tribe, now known as the Flame Sea Tribe, along with the Fae Rii, enter into negotiations with the Efrijit to determine who has the right to claim the land and its resources. The Efrijits are not known to play nice, and so the others must stay on their toes.

There were some tense moments in Demons of the Flame Sea as the Fae Rii were only able to call in for limited help due to a major event occurring on their home planet. All portals to other settlements must be closed, cutting off communication with their home. It was interesting to see the politics at play between the Fae and the Efrijits.

I felt I got to know some of the individual characters better in this second novel of the series, which was good. The reader gets a closer look at Ban's relationship with the Fae Rii leader, which is a bit complicated given both their backgrounds. There is definite mutual respect between the two characters. I lost count of the number of times Ban "dies" and comes back to life in this one--although more from accidents while on his expedition than in battle.

The book dragged in spots, and I found my attention wandering, like with the first book. I wanted to like these books more than I did, but I found them lacking--of what, I am not sure exactly. More excitement and action? More character development? Perhaps a more compelling story? More something, anyway. In the end, I finished the novel knowing it would be my last in the series. I just do not care enough to go on, although I think some might find this series to their liking. 

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.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton

The first part Lavinia takes Louise to, she makes Louise wear one of her dresses. ~ Opening of Social Creature


Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton
Doubleday, 2018
Crime Fiction/Thriller; 273 pgs
Source: NetGalley

Was this book ever addicting! It was described as such in a snippet I had read when deciding whether I wanted to read and review Tara Isabella Burton’s Social Creature—and the word fits. It was hard not to be sucked into Lavinia’s world. She’s an extremely intense character, and Louise is a compelling unreliable narrator. These are characters I cannot imagine myself ever wanting to know or hang out with in real life. I have never been nor wanted to be a part of their scene. Louise seemingly leads a relatively quiet life, barely making ends meet. She longs for something more—and when Lavinia walks into her life, she is swept up into a world she only ever dreamed of being a part of: attending book readings and parties, excessive drinking and drug use, trespassing, and living the high life in New York City.

I did not know what to make of Lavinia at first. I could whip out my DSM-VI and come up with a host of diagnoses. She latches onto Louise instantly, pulling Louise into her lifestyle. The two become close extremely fast. There were times I could not tell who was more dependent on the other—they both seemed to need each other and were using each other in their own ways. I too felt pulled into Lavinia’s life, right alongside Louise. I had no idea where the author was going to take me. There is definite foreshadowing—even the Goodreads synopsis gives some of it away (which is why I am not posting it here), but how, when and why remained a mystery until it was revealed outright by the author. As the reader, I just knew something bad was going to happen. This is one of those books in which I think the less known going in, the better.

I did not like any of the characters. Maybe a little Rex, but even then, not really. That is not something that bothers me too much though. I do not have to like the characters to enjoy a book, especially a book like this. I have kind of come to expect I will not. There were brief moments I felt sympathy for either Louise or Lavinia, but they were, as I said, brief. It took me a moment with this one to get into the narrative voice. Louise is the one who tells us the story, and she does it in her own way, sometimes flashing back to the past. 

It is not unusual in today’s day and age for social media to make an appearance. It really has to in some respects, doesn’t it, if it is to be believable? At least for a book set in modern times. I liked how the author used Facebook in the novel. While seemingly bringing people closer together, it tends to be a more superficial way to stay in touch.

When I finished the book, I found myself wondering if I liked it. As a thriller, it gave me just what I was looking for. I had a hard time putting this one down, and I couldn’t wait to get back to it when I had to stop reading. It was full of unexpected twists and melodrama. It was compelling and unique. The novel is dark and left me a bit unsettled as I read.


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



© 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, July 03, 2018

Wishing to Read Wednesday: Old & New (#7)

Books from the Backlog is a weekly meme, hosted by the wonderful Carole of Carole's Random Life in Books to spotlight and discuss the neglected books sitting on our shelves still waiting to be read.. Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by the marvelous Tressa at Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released.

The Old

Inherit the Dead  (Simon & Schuster, 2013)
Readers will enjoy an introduction by Lee Child, an afterword by Linda Fairstein, and chapters by bestselling authors Mary Higgins Clark, John Connolly, Charlaine Harris, CJ Box, Mark Billingham, Lawrence Block, Ken Bruen, Alafair Burke, Stephen L. Carter, Marcia Clark, Max Allan Collins, James Grady, Heather Graham, Bryan Gruley, Val McDermid, SJ Rozan, Jonathan Santlofer, Dana Stabenow, Lisa Unger, and Sarah Weinman. What’s more, the editor, Jonathan Santlofer, has arranged to donate any royalties in excess of editor and contributor compensation to Safe Horizon, the leading victim assistance agency in the country—making it a worthy and winning triumph.

Pericles “Perry” Christo is a PI with a past—a former cop, who lost his badge and his family when a corruption scandal left him broke and disgraced. When wealthy Upper East Side matron Julia Drusilla summons him one cold February night, he grabs what seems to be a straightforward (and lucrative) case.

The socialite is looking for her beautiful, aimless daughter, Angelina, who is about to become a very wealthy young woman. But as Christo digs deeper, he discovers there’s much more to the lovely “Angel” than meets the eye. Her father, her best friend, her boy­friends all have agendas of their own. Angel, he soon realizes, may be in grave danger…and if Christo gets too close, he just might get caught in the crossfire.

This classic noir tale twists and turns down New York’s mean streets and along Hamptons’ beaches and back roads during a bitterly cold and gray winter where nothing is as it seems and everyone has something to hide.
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: Besides just being curious if all these authors (many whose work I have enjoyed) can come together to create a seamless mystery novel, I do like the sound of this one. 

*

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (Knopf, 2014)
An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the actor's early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains - this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor's first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: Most of you have probably read this one already. I have really enjoyed the author's other books, and yet I have not read her most popular book! I really need to make time for this one. 


The New

Vox by Christina Dalcher
Release Date: August 21, 2018 by Berkley
Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial--this can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.

Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: I hope she does reclaims her voice for all our sake. I have to find out!

*

Through the Fire (Rocky Mountain K9 Unit, #4) by Katie Ruggle
Release Date: August 7, 2018 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Kit Jernigan despairs of ever fitting in with her new tight-knit K9 unit. They've been through too much to open their arms to a stranger―and as mysterious fires begin raging across Monroe, she can't convince them to trust her long enough to catch the woman she knows is responsible. Wesley March, local fire spotter, knows Kit is right, and he's willing to help her prove it. But the more time they spend together, the closer they get...and the more danger they're in. A member of the K9 unit's inner circle is determined to get revenge―no matter who gets burned in the process. This time, it's personal. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: I enjoy a good romantic suspense novel from time to time, and I have heard wonderful things about Katie Ruggle's books. The mention of K9 means there has to be a dog in the book too--and I do love dogs!

*

A Tale of Two Murders (A Dickens of a Crime #1) by Heather Redmond
Release Date: July 31, 2018 by Kensington
On the eve of the Victorian era, London has a new sleuth . . .

In the winter of 1835, young Charles Dickens is a journalist on the rise at the Evening Chronicle. Invited to dinner at the estate of the newspaper's co-editor, Charles is smitten with his boss's daughter, vivacious nineteen-year-old Kate Hogarth. They are having the best of times when a scream shatters the pleasant evening. Charles, Kate, and her father rush to the neighbors' home, where Miss Christiana Lugoson lies unconscious on the floor. By morning, the poor young woman will be dead.

When Charles hears from a colleague of a very similar mysterious death a year ago to the date, also a young woman, he begins to suspect poisoning and feels compelled to investigate. The lovely Kate offers to help--using her social position to gain access to the members of the upper crust, now suspects in a murder. If Charles can find justice for the victims, it will be a far, far better thing than he has ever done. But with a twist or two in this most peculiar case, he and Kate may be in for the worst of times . . .
Why I want to read it: The cover is what keeps drawing me to this book. I am never sure about reading mysteries featuring real life people, even knowing it is pure fiction, but I do not think I will be able to resist this one. It sounds too good.


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


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