Saturday, March 31, 2018

Weekly Mews: March 2018 in Review

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. 

Spring is definitely here. I can feel it in the air. Yesterday was a beautiful day. The high was 89F. Luckily this Easter Bunny knows filling eggs with chocolate that will be is a no no this time of year. We do not have any big plans for Easter, although this Easter Bunny has everything ready for baskets and the egg hunt in the morning. After that, it will likely be a typical day in our house. If you celebrate, I hope you have a nice Easter!

March did not turn out quite out as originally planned, although we had enough advance notice that it did not feel like it all that much. My two week break from blogging was semi-productive. Mouse was sick for the first week, and I was sick for the second week. And now Anjin finds himself under the weather. Add to that our spring allergies . . .On the fun side, we celebrated Mouse's birthday early on in the month, had a visit from my brother and his wife mid-month, and my mom just got into town this past week. I got to see some of the photos from my mom's trip to Greece, and hear about what a great time she had. While I couldn't participate in the March For Our Lives because of a prior commitment, my mom and a good family friend were able to. I was with them in spirit, you can be sure. I loved seeing the crowds of people join together for such a good cause. My mom's dog's health took a turn for the worse recently, and while the medication seems to be working, we are still keeping a watchful eye on her for any more seizures. She's an older dog and the timing couldn't be worse with my mom due to go in for surgery again the second week in April.

Rehearsals for the Wizard of Oz got off to a good start, and Mouse is enjoying her new classes, especially musical theater. Fundraising for the show is in high gear too. I really hate fundraising, but it's a necessary evil. Shows and activities are not free, after all. Report cards came out. Mouse got to go horseback riding with her Girl Scouts troop. The day horse camp was one of the activities the girls wanted to spend their cookie money--that and Disneyland, which we will be doing in April. Mouse's dance studio generously donated a teacher and a classroom and gave the Girl Scout troop a free dance lesson in March as well for one of our meetings. Mouse, of course, was excited to show off her dance studio to her friends. Mouse's school Open House was this past week--and she got an opportunity to take me and her grandmother on a tour of her classroom. I had to take a little quiz to see if I knew my daughter's favorites. I missed a couple, including her favorite book. I guessed Maggie and the Monster. She put War and Peace (she likes it when I read excerpts to her at bedtime).

The new supervisor started in mid-March. I and another supervisor have been tasked with training him. Hopefully having him on board will bring us some relief after having been so short staffed the last couple months.

I hope to get to comments and visiting blogs in the next week or so. It is hard to do when my mom is in town and with my in-laws coming next weekend, my computer time is extremely limited. Thank goodness for the schedule ahead feature for blog posts!

My reading in March was about average for me. The reading fever of the first two months of the year seems to have subsided. I decided to knock off some of the paranormal romance novels that have been lingering on my Kindle because I knew they would be quick and easy reads. I finished the last of my Going Postal Mail books for this round, and enjoyed it quite a bit. I also made sure to read March's TBR List winner, which many of you voted for.

Here is what I read in March:
  • The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez
  • Hooked on a Phoenix by Ashlyn Chase
  • My Tempting Highlander by Maeve Greyson
  • My Seductive Highlander by Maeve Greyson
  • The Storm King by Brendan Duffy
The Book of Unknown Americans is probably my favorite book read in March. The Storm King comes in at a close second. I loved that the weather here was somewhat stormy as I read it--it added to the atmosphere for The Storm King quite nicely! My least favorite is probably Hooked on a Phoenix, but it was entertaining overall. My reviews of all three are still to come.

Book Reviews Posted in March (but not necessarily read in March):
Non-Book Review Posts in March:
New to My Mouse's Shelves in March (you can thank her birthday and the school book fair)

Amelia Bedelia's First Valentine by Herman Parish & Lynne Avril
Fancy Nancy: Oodles of Kittens by Jane O'Connor & Robin Preiss Glasser
The Fish with the Deep-Sea Smile by Margaret Wise Brown
Dear Girl, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Paris Rosenthal & Holly Hatam

Raggedy Ann in the Magic Book by Johnny Gruelle, illustrated by Worth Gruelle

Isadora Moon Goes to School by Harriet Muncaster

The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems
When I Grow Up by Tim Minchin and Steve Antony

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts
Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown

Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
When Sophie Thinks She Can't... by Molly Bang

The Princess in Black and the Mysterious Playdate (The Princess in Black #5) by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Katie Fry, Private Eye #1 by Katherine Cox & Vanessa Brantley-Newton
A Paw-some Mystery (Barbie and Her Sisters in the Great Puppy Adventure) by Mary Man-Kong Space Princess (Barbie Star Light Adventure)

Barbie Video Game Hero Code Racers by Elisabetta Melaranci, Federica Salfo & Francesco Legramandi

And then because I couldn't help myself (for me):

Crimes Against Magic (Hellequin Chronicles #1) by Steve McHugh

A Glimmer of Hope (The Avalon Chronicles #1) by Steve McHugh

Hexed Detective: An Uncanny Kingdom Urban Fantasy by Matthew Stott & David Bussell

What I Watched: I may not have been able to read while sick, but I managed to watch the second season of Dark Matter. I also am in the middle of the second season of Jessica Jones. My daughter and I have started re-watching Mia and Me, a part live action, part animated show about a teen girl facing various obstacles in her real life and then stepping into the shoes of an elf and solving problems there as well. We also have been watching the television show Spirit Riding Free, which we both love. We haven't actually seen the movie the show is a spin-off of yet, but one of these days I am sure we will.

Those of you who watch The Walking Dead, how are you feeling about this season so far? The Saviors latest "weapon" is sure a doozy! 

What I Am Grateful For:  My mom's safe arrival for her spring visit. I am also grateful for the generosity of the dance studio directors for opening their doors for our Girl Scout troop--they are a great group all around. The fun time we had at the horse ranch. The girls had a blast. And I love seeing Mouse so happy. And I appreciate my boss's willingness to cover for me so I can attend Mouse's award ceremony at school this past week.

What I Am Looking Forward To: Disneyland with Mouse and her Girl Scout troop in April. Life getting back to some semblance of order in another week or two.

Challenge Update:

#COYER Winter Switch ~ The challenge ended on the 9th of March, and I did better than I anticipated. I completely forgot to link any of my book reviews to the website though--which seems to be a common problem for me. Oh well. I am satisfied with how it turned out just the same.
What's In A Name Reading Challenge ~ I still stand at only having read one book for this challenge. I probably should work on this one more.

The Grand World of Books Reviews Bingo ~ I am sure I can cross some books off of this list, but I just haven't had time to fit what I have read into the categories. Hopefully I can do that by next month's wrap up.

Unruly Reader Bingo ~ See above comment.

2018 Witches and Witchcraft Reading Challenge ~ I have read the first three Innkeeper Chronicle novels by Ilona Andrew so far, which fit into this challenge. I plan to post my reviews soon.

2018 Discussion Post Challenge ~ I have only managed to post one discussion post so far this year. I have ideas. I just need time to write the posts!

2018 Blog All About It Challenge ~ I have been able to stay on top of this one. This month I wrote about Favorite Scents.

Les Misérables Read-Along ~ I understand now why many people seem to get stuck on Waterloo. Yeah. I would too if I wasn't determined to read this book. I was so relieved when I saw Thenardier's name pop up at the end of the Waterloo section. A connection to the rest of the book! I am now about two chapters ahead in my reading.

War and Peace Read-Along ~ Although I am a bit behind, I find myself enjoying my time with War and Peace these days.  I still do not have all of the characters straight, but several stand out to me now and I find myself interested in their stories. Surprisingly, I am most enjoying the scenes on the battle field and with the soldiers. Although I was really curious to see whether a particular proposal would be accepted or not--and I thought it was perfect the way that one played out. I'm anxious to get back to those characters and find out what the fallout is going to be. My daughter has become a fan of War and Peace. She says because there is a prince and princesses. A good friend of mine suggests it might have more to do with the fact that my daughter enjoys my reading to her--and sharing my own books with her. While I am not reading the entire book to her, I do read passages to her at bedtime.

How did your March shape up reading and life wise? What was your favorite book you read in March? I hope you all have a wonderful April! Happy Reading!

Mouse's Birthday Cake

 Unicorn in a box

 Glow in the dark miniature golf

Cuddling with the baby

 Mama and her 6 week old

Horse Painting. Literally. 

Grooming Rambo as he makes a funny face for the camera

Riding Rambo 

 © 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, March 27, 2018

Wishing for Wednesday: Noir & School of Psychics

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by 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. (Based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.)

Noir by Christopher Moore
Release Date: April 17, 2018 by William Morrow
San Francisco. Summer, 1947. A dame walks into a saloon . . .

It’s not every afternoon that an enigmatic, comely blonde named Stilton (like the cheese) walks into the scruffy gin joint where Sammy "Two Toes" Tiffin tends bar. It’s love at first sight, but before Sammy can make his move, an Air Force general named Remy arrives with some urgent business. ’Cause when you need something done, Sammy is the guy to go to; he’s got the connections on the street.

Meanwhile, a suspicious flying object has been spotted up the Pacific coast in Washington State near Mount Rainer, followed by a mysterious plane crash in a distant patch of desert in New Mexico that goes by the name Roswell. But the real weirdness is happening on the streets of the City by the Bay.

When one of Sammy’s schemes goes south and the Cheese mysteriously vanishes, Sammy is forced to contend with his own dark secrets—and more than a few strange goings on—if he wants to find his girl.
[Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: My first attempt at reading a Christopher Moore novel didn't turn out as well as I hoped, but I would like to give his work another try. A visit to his website, and I find him infinitely funny. I want to like this work, and this one sounds like a lot of fun.


School for Psychics by K.C. Archer
Release Date: April 3, 2018 by Simon Schuster
An entrancing new series starring a funny, impulsive, and sometimes self-congratulatory young woman who discovers she has psychic abilities—and then must decide whether she will use her skills for good or…not.

Teddy Cannon isn’t your typical twenty-something woman. She’s resourceful. She’s bright. She’s scrappy. She can also read people with uncanny precision. What she doesn’t realize: she’s actually psychic.

When a series of bad decisions leads Teddy to a run-in with the police, a mysterious stranger intervenes. He invites her to apply to the School for Psychics, a facility hidden off the coast of San Francisco where students are trained like Delta Force operatives: it’s competitive, cutthroat, and highly secretive. They’ll learn telepathy, telekinesis, investigative skills, and SWAT tactics. And if students survive their training, they go on to serve at the highest levels of government, using their skills to protect America, and the world.

In class, Teddy befriends Lucas, a rebel without a cause who can start and manipulate fire; Jillian, a hipster who can mediate communication between animals and humans; and Molly, a hacker who can apprehend the emotional state of another individual. But just as Teddy feels like she’s found where she might belong, strange things begin to happen: break-ins, missing students, and more. It leads Teddy to accept a dangerous mission that will ultimately cause her to question everything—her teachers, her friends, her family, and even herself.

Set in a world very much like our own, School for Psychics is the first book in a stay-up-all night series. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: I do love the paranormal, and am curious about this school for psychics and the students who attend--it sounds like it's got some trouble of its own. I am hoping this one will live up to the advertising and keep me up all night reading.

What do you think? Do either of these appeal to you?
What upcoming releases are you looking forward to?

© 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, March 26, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That Take Place In Another Country

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

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is the Top Ten Books That Take Place In Another Country. I love reading books set in other countries, and so coming up with this list was a bit of a challenge. There are so many good ones out there! All of these books are among my absolute favorites, although there are many more I could easily have included as well. (With the exception of Stones from a River which I read during my pre-blogging days, all other covers are linked to my thoughts on each of the books.)


Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)


Haunting Bombay by Shilpa Agarwal (India)


The Ghost Bride by Yangszee Choo (Malaysia)


Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show by Frank Delaney (Ireland)


When the Moon is Low by Nadia Hashimi (Afghanistan/Iran/Turkey/Greece)


Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi (Germany)


Moonlight Downs by Adrian Hyland (Australia)


The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See 
(China - and partly in the U.S.)


The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli (Vietnam)


The Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary  (Japan)

What are some of your favorite books set in other countries?

© 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, March 25, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Anne can feel the acid churning in her stomach and creeping up her throat; her head is swimming. ~ Opening from A Couple Next Door 

Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena, narrated by Kirsten Potter
Penguin Books, 2016
Crime Fiction/Thriller; 309 pgs

When I pick up a book like this, my mind automatically starts thinking of all the possibilities. While being right about the direction a book may go can be rewarding in and of itself (Ha! I’m right again!), so can being surprised. What I especially liked about The Couple Next Door is how it nailed both of those feelings with each new twist.

I have mixed feelings about books involving missing children, but there is something about them that I can’t resist in a thriller just the same. I liked that this novel felt like a thriller right from the start and did not get bogged down by the emotions of the grief-stricken parents as sometimes these types of novels can. Shari Lapena does a good job of balancing the grief and fear the parents felt over their missing infant with the mystery of what happened. The parents’ feelings are palpable. What mother wouldn’t be terrified to come home and find her child gone? Feelings of fear and guilt would be overwhelming. They certainly are for both Marco and Anne, whose daughter was taken from her crib in the middle of the night.

When the babysitter had called off, Marco convinced Anne to go through with their plans to attend the next-door neighbor’s party. The two homes are attached, they have their baby monitor with them, and they are taking turns checking on the baby throughout the night. Anne still feels guilty about leaving her daughter, Cora, alone like that. Weighed down by post-partum depression and needing a bit of time away, however, she goes along with her husband’s plan.

What follows is a fast-paced and tense-filled thriller that had me on the edge of my seat. I listened to the audio version, which was very well done. As can be expected for a book like this, everyone has their secrets, including the next door neighbors whose party Anne and Marco attended. It is hard to find a character one can feel completely sympathetic too (with the exception of dear little Cora). I did feel for Anne though. Having suffered from postpartum depression myself, I know how difficult it can be.

I liked that Shari Lapena offers a glimpse into each of her character’s minds, giving us the opportunity to better understand their motives and situations. Each one was a piece of a puzzle, and seeing where and how it fit in was what really made this book the most interesting for me. The Couple Next Door was a wild ride that I was caught up in the moment as I listened to it, and could not wait to see how everything played out.

To learn more about Shari Lapena and her books, please visit the author's website. You can also find the author on GoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter.

To learn more about Kirsten Potter, please visit her 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.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Where Is Your Bookmark? (A peek into The Storm King & My Favorite/Least Favorite Classic)

I am currently well into Brendan Duffy's The Storm King and quite enjoying it. With rain beating against my house, the winds blowing, and threats of flash floods, it seems a fitting novel to be reading right now. It's about a man who returns to the small lake town he grew up in after a long absence for a funeral. His presence and the massive hurricane that is hitting the town stir up old memories and hurts. This is a haunting book in it's own way. I imagine I will be finishing it in the next day or so, and although I have my suspicions about some of what hasn't yet been revealed, I am anxious to find out if I am even close to the mark. 

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

For Nate, Saturdays in the spring means baseball.
His teammates think playing the outfield is ignominious, but he likes it. There's a meditative appeal to a morning spent watching for hard-struck balls as they spin and slow at the height of their parabolas.  

My thoughts: It does not seem as if there is anything particularly revealing about this thriller from the opening paragraphs. It's a meaningful moment though in Nate's life.

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.

And Christ, his face. That way he smiles like a wolf. All teeth. I've seen that look before, but he's never used it on me. Not ever. It's different when those ice-cold eyes are on you. So I ran.  [56%]

My thoughts: This was quite a tense scene in the novel. This teaser doesn't reveal who "he" is, although it's pretty clear who it is to the reader reading the novel. I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of that look, that's for sure!

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


Everyone has a favorite and then we also have something we dislike. Like a coin, there are two sides to every question. Each week, Carrie at The Butterfly Reads and Laura from Blue Eye Books ask participants to list what they like and don't like about that week's topic.

This week's topic is Favorite/Least Favorite Classic Novel:


Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë ~ One of the few books I have read over and over again. And I love it each and every time. I may not think Rochester is all that, but I do love Jane and everything about this novel.

Least Favorite:

Brave New Word by Aldous Huxley ~ It took several attempts, but I finally got through this one last year. I see why it is a classic, but I was not impressed when all was said and done.

What is your favorite and least favorite classic? 

© 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, March 21, 2018

Blog All About It: Favorite Scents

Linking up to the Blog All About It Challenge, hosted by Anna from Herding Cats and Burning Soup 

March's Blog All About It Challenge it topic is "Favorite Scent", a topic I have a difficult time narrowing down in the best of times. I turned to my husband and daughter for inspiration as well as the internet. It turns out my husband and I have a couple in common. My daughter, well, let's just say she needs to experience the world more, I think. It seems there are some common themes on the internet as to favorite scents from coffee to fresh mowed grass or the seaside. One list included gasoline (or petrol). And I know the smell of old or new books is a favorite among booklovers.

Both my husband and I love the smell of pine and the mountain air.  Add to that a camp fire warming us up at night. He and I also like the smell of the first rain. While he would say the first rain on pavement (it's actually quite a common favorite, evidently), I would just say fresh rain in general.

(Taken on our trip to Idyllwild this past summer)

I love the smell of a garden in the spring, even though the season brings out the worst of my allergies. Oh, and how I love the scent of the first hints of fall!

I also love the smell of homemade spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove, or fresh bread baking in the oven. Cinnamon is another favorite of mine. And freshly mopped floors in my house.

If I had to pick just one favorite scent, I would probably go with the Christmas season. Such a wonderful combination of scents all rolled into one! 

What are your favorite scents?

© 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.