Sunday, June 17, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: The Storm King by Brendan Duffy

For Nate, Saturdays in the spring mean baseball. ~ Opening of The Storm King 


The Storm King by Brendan Duffy
Ballantine Books, 2018
Crime Fiction/Thriller; 391 pgs
Source: NetGalley

Nate McHale returns home to Greystone Lake after years of being away. He has long put the lake town behind him, wishing to forget the painful memories of his past. From the tragic loss of his family, the anger and vengeance that ruled his youth, to his girlfriend who went missing. Only, now the dead body of that girlfriend has been found fourteen years later, and Nate wants answers. Past regrets, a lifetime of secrets, old hurts, and childhood pacts have not been forgotten, even if long buried.

There are a lot of layers to this novel. And I mean a lot. The novel alternates between the past and the present as Nate recalls his past and reveals present day events as they unfold. Lucy’s disappearance has always raised eyebrows, even with the note left behind of her planning to run away. Nate is the prime suspect given his relationship with Lucy and their last encounter before she disappeared. Nate is a complicated character, feared by some and revered by others. Upon his return visit and the discovery of Lucy’s body, the past comes back to haunt Nate and his friends tenfold.

I loved the juxtaposition between the events in the novel and the stormy weather. It seemed fitting too that it was raining much of the time as I read. Author Brendan Duffy has the gift of bringing a book to life—pulling me into the pages of the book and making me feel like I am right there with the characters, forgetting I am reading.

I was kind of taken by surprise by Brendan Duffy’s The Storm King, expecting a more fast paced thriller. What I got was so much more. The characters are well fleshed out, the writing is atmospheric, and the plot a complex web of mystery and suspense, coming of age, and the drama that comes from life and friendships, young and old. While I did race through the pages of The Storm King, I also found myself wanting to slow down to take everything possible in.

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.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Wishing to Read Wednesday: Old & New (#4)

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

While dusting off my bookshelves, I re-discovered these two gems I have been wanting to read for awhile:

Midnight Never Come (The Onyx Court #1) by Marie Brennan (Orbit, 2008)
England flourishes under the hand of its Virgin Queen: Elizabeth, Gloriana, last and most powerful of the Tudor monarchs.

But a great light casts a great shadow.

In hidden catacombs beneath London, a second Queen holds court: Invidiana, ruler of faerie England, and a dark mirror to the glory above. In the thirty years since Elizabeth ascended her throne, fae and mortal politics have become inextricably entwined, in secret alliances and ruthless betrayals whose existence is suspected only by a few.

Two courtiers, both struggling for royal favor, are about to uncover the secrets that lie behind these two thrones. When the faerie lady Lune is sent to monitor and manipulate Elizabeth's spymaster, Walsingham, her path crosses that of Michael Deven, a mortal gentleman and agent of Walsingham's. His discovery of the "hidden player" in English politics will test Lune's loyalty and Deven's courage alike. Will she betray her Queen for the sake of a world that is not hers? And can he survive in the alien and Machiavellian world of the fae? For only together will they be able to find the source of Invidiana's power—find it, and break it…

A breathtaking novel of intrigue and betrayal set in Elizabethan England;
Midnight Never Come seamlessly weaves together history and the fantastic to dazzling effect. [Summary from Goodreads]

Why I want to read it: Dare I admit that I received this book in a blogger holiday gift swap in 2009? I have a lot of unread books on my shelves. It's shameful really. This is one that survived two major bookshelf cullings. And I will read it! Someday. This has a mix of two genres I love: historical fiction and fantasy (fairies!). The England setting helps some too. And fairies!  

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Blood Ties (PI Julie Collins, #1) by Lori G. Armstrong (Medallion Press, 2005)
Julie Collins is stuck in a dead-end secretarial job with the Bear Butte County Sheriff’s office, and still grieving over the unsolved murder of her Lakota half-brother. Lack of public interest in finding his murderer, or the killer of several other transient Native American men, has left Julie with a bone-deep cynicism she counters with tequila, cigarettes, and dangerous men. The one bright spot in her mundane life is the time she spends working part-time as a PI with her childhood friend, Kevin Wells. When the body of a sixteen-year old white girl is discovered in nearby Rapid Creek, Julie believes this victim will receive the attention others were denied. Then she learns Kevin has been hired, mysteriously, to find out where the murdered girl spent her last few days. Julie finds herself drawn into the case against her better judgment, and discovers not only the ugly reality of the young girl’s tragic life and brutal death, but ties to her and Kevin’s past that she is increasingly reluctant to revisit. On the surface the situation is eerily familiar. But the parallels end when Julie realizes some family secrets are best kept buried deep. Especially those serious enough to kill for. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this one: This one has been on my shelf since 2007, a book I discovered via author Karen E. Olson, if memory serves me right. Family secrets and murder and a female P.I. are what are drawing me to this one.

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The New

America for Beginners by Leah Franqui
Release Date: July 24, 2018 by William Morrow
Pival Sengupta has done something she never expected: she has booked a trip with the First Class India USA Destination Vacation Tour Company. But unlike other upper-class Indians on a foreign holiday, the recently widowed Pival is not interested in sightseeing. She is traveling thousands of miles from Kolkota to New York on a cross-country journey to California, where she hopes to uncover the truth about her beloved son, Rahi. A year ago Rahi devastated his very traditional parents when he told them he was gay. Then, Pival’s husband, Ram, told her that their son had died suddenly—heartbreaking news she still refuses to accept. Now, with Ram gone, she is going to America to find Rahi, alive and whole or dead and gone, and come to terms with her own life.

Arriving in New York, the tour proves to be more complicated than anticipated. Planned by the company’s indefatigable owner, Ronnie Munshi—a hard-working immigrant and entrepreneur hungry for his own taste of the American dream—it is a work of haphazard improvisation. Pavil’s guide is the company’s new hire, the guileless and wonderfully resourceful Satya, who has been in America for one year—and has never actually left the five boroughs. For modesty’s sake Pival and Satya will be accompanied by Rebecca Elliot, an aspiring young actress. Eager for a paying gig, she’s along for the ride, because how hard can a two-week "working" vacation traveling across America be?

Slowly making her way from coast to coast with her unlikely companions, Pival finds that her understanding of her son—and her hopes of a reunion with him—are challenged by her growing knowledge of his adoptive country. As the bonds between this odd trio deepens, Prival, Satya, and Rebecca learn to see America—and themselves—in different and profound new ways.
[Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read it: The title is what first caught my attention, causing me to want to know more about what this book is about. When I read the synopsis, I was sold. Parent/child stories appeal to me and this particular story especially. Is this a road trip you want to go on as well?

*

Shelved Under Murder (Blue Ridge Library Mysteries #2) by Victoria Gilbert 
Release Date: July 10, 2018 by Crooked Lane Books
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]
Why I want to read it: Thanks to those of you who voted in May's TBR List Poll, I read the first book in the series and loved it. I can't wait to continue with this series and see what Amy is up to next.


Have you read or heard of any of these? Do these sound like books you would enjoy? 


© 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, June 09, 2018

Weekly Mews: Spring Roses, Birthday Wishes, Displaced Cat & My June TBR List Winner

I am linking up to the Sunday Post hosted by the wonderful Kim of Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where participants recap our week, talk about what we are reading, share any new books that have come our way, and whatever else we want to talk about. I am also linking up to Saturday Snapshot hosted by the amazing Melinda Ott of West Metro Mommy Reads.

I hope your weekend has gotten off to a good start. I am hoping I can get in a little reading today while my daughter is in the Wizard of Oz rehearsals. I usually end up chatting with the other parents or peeking through the window or curtain to see how the practice going. Tickets have gone on sale now that the venue is set and I put in my order. We are getting closer!

We are enjoying the weather, but missing the cooler temperatures already. My roses are taking full advantage of the spring season.





We had a quiet birthday for my husband. Check out this cake. It is totally him if ever a cake could be.


My daughter's school play was also this past week. Her class put on several skits of Aesop's Fables with songs match. It was such a cute performance. I could tell the children had put in a lot of hard work  to bring it all together. Mouse has just one more week of school left, and, from the sounds of it, it will be a fun week for the children.

My two cats are getting along more. Gracie still goes into jealous rages (okay, so maybe "rage" is a bit strong of a word) now and then, but I have to admit Nina sometimes deserves a swat given how she teases Gracie.




We are expecting my in-laws, from out of town later today. I spent part of yesterday moving furniture around to make room for the new pieces we are adding in as my in-laws downsize and prepare for their upcoming move. I am already wondering if we haven't said yes to too much.

What I Am Reading:  I am about halfway through Jennifer Ashley's cozy historical mystery, Scandal Above Stairs, the second in the Kat Holloway series, and enjoying it quite a bit. I also have started reading The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire, an urban fantasy novel about a hitchhiking ghost. It is really good as well!

What I Am Watching: I found myself watching the musical television show Galavant earlier in the week about a singing knight, a couple of princesses, and an evil king. I can see why it flopped as it really isn't that good. I watched the entire two seasons though. I could not look away. My husband, daughter and I started watching the first season of The Great British Baking Show. I do not normally like cooking shows of any kind, but I am enjoying this one. Everyone is so nice to each other!

What I Am Listening To: As I was rearranging furniture and cleaning house this week, I started listening to Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. There's something to be said for these relatively short classics.

This Past Week In Reading Mews:

No reviews this week, I am afraid. I have not had time to sit down and really work on them. I just realized my last post was my 2000 published one. That's crazy.
Elsewhere In Blogging Mews:
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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). 



It was so close! I thought for sure Nevernight was going to win given it was in the lead for awhile there, although not by much. In the end, Bring Me Their Hearts by Sarah Wolf won by one vote. I look forward to reading it! Thank you to all who voted.


Thank you for voting! I hope you all have a wonderful April 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.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Where Is Your Bookmark? (A Peek Into My Current Reads & My Favorite Books Beginning with A &Z)

Have you ever started reading a book thinking it was the first in the series, but it was not (it is the second)--and it turns out you have the first book in the series on your shelf and had forgotten? Do you stop reading the second book and read the first so you can be sure to read them in order? Or would you keep reading the second book and go back and read the first book second? My husband voted I continue with the second book first since I am already a ways into it. I have not felt left out so far, and so I am going to take his advice. Even though it goes against my preference for reading the first book first--especially since I have it already. Oh well. Anyhow, I am reading Seanan McGuire's urban fantasy novel The Girl in the Green Silk Gown about a hitchhiking ghost. I am actually quite excited about this series as it is different from anything else I have read involving ghosts.


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.
This is a ghost story. If you're not comfortable with that--if you like the lines between the living and the dead to be a little more cleanly drawn--this is your chance to bail. This is also a love story, in a sideways sort of way, and a story about second chances you never wanted and can't refuse. It's my story.
My name is Rose. 

My thoughts: I really like this opening. It isn't often a character talks to the reader this way--or at least that's how it feels. And when it does happen, it doesn't always work out well. It depends on the writer and the "voice" of the narrator. I am immediately drawn into Rose's story and can't wait to know more.

*

I am doing something a little different this week as I am reading two books at once (not counting my two year long reading projects). This second book is my lunch time book, Jennifer Ashley's Scandal Above the Stairs, the second in the historical cozy mystery series featuring Kat Holloway, everyone's favorite cook. Well, mine least. I loved the first book in the series, and am so glad for the chance to read this second one.


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.
Cynthia flashed me a sudden grin. "That is because you have no idea what it is like to stride around in perfect freedom, able to go where you please, purchase what you wish, and speak as you wish, because people believe you a man. I'll get you into a pair of trousers yet, Mrs. H."
I could not think of anything more appalling. "Indeed no, my lady. I'd look like someone's portly uncle."  [pg 56]

My thoughts: Men certainly do get away with more than women, especially in the time period Scandal Above Stairs is set in. I adore Cynthia, who thinks nothing of putting on a pair of men's trousers, pretending to be a man from time to time (although I'm not sure how many people she actually fools). And I can't quite picture Mrs. Holloway dressed as a man . . .


What do you think? Do these sound like books you would be interested in reading? 

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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 Book Starting with A/Z

I actually have not read that many books that begin with "A"--unless you count the word "a" itself. It just so happens though one of my five star rated books according to Goodreads begins with the the letter "A", however, and so it fit perfectly into today's topic. At least by my Goodreads history, I have only read one book beginning with a "Z"--fortunately, that was a four star read--and so definitely one I can recommend.


Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy ~ beautiful and enchanting and complex. Loving this book is what motivated me to attempt War and Peace so many times (and this time, I am seeing why so many people love that novel too. It may take me a year, but I will finish War and Peace this year).


Zoo Station by David Downing ~ The first in a series, this one a mystery set in the pre-World War II era, right in the heart of Germany at a very pivotal moment in time. I appreciated the author's attention to historical accuracy and found this novel to be entertaining and thought provoking.


Have you read either of these? What would you say is your favorite read starting with "A" or "Z"?


© 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, June 05, 2018

Wishing to Read Wednesday: Old & New (#3)



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.)


Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams
Release Date: July 3, 2018 by William Morrow
In the summer of 1951, Miranda Schuyler arrives on elite, secretive Winthrop Island in Long Island Sound as a naive eighteen year old, still reeling from the loss of her father in the Second World War. Although a graduate of the exclusive Foxcroft Academy in Virginia, Miranda has always lived on the margins of high society. When her beautiful mother marries Hugh Fisher, whose summer house on Winthrop overlooks the famous lighthouse, Miranda is catapulted into a heady new world of pedigrees and cocktails, status and swimming pools. Isobel Fisher, Miranda’s new stepsister—all long legs and world-weary bravado, engaged to a wealthy Island scion—is eager to draw Miranda into the arcane customs of Winthrop society.

But beneath the Island’s patrician surface, there are really two clans--the summer families with their steadfast ways and quiet obsessions, and the working class of Portuguese fishermen and domestic workers who earn their living on the water and in the laundries of the summer houses. Uneasy among Isobel’s privileged friends, Miranda finds herself drawn to Joseph helps his father in the lobster boat, but in the autumn he returns to Brown University, where he’s determined to make something of himself. Since childhood, Joseph has enjoyed an intense, complex friendship with Isobel Fisher, and has a catastrophe that will shatter Winthrop’s hard-won tranquility and banish Miranda from the Island for nearly two decades.

Now, in the summer of 1969, Miranda returns at last, as a renowned Shakespearean actress hiding a terrible heartbreak. On its surface, the Island remains the same--determined to keep the outside world from its shores, fiercely loyal to those who belong. But the formerly powerful Fisher family is a shadow of itself, and Joseph Vargas has recently escaped the prison where he was incarcerated for the murder of Miranda’s stepfather eighteen years earlier. What’s more, Miranda herself is no longer a naive teenager, and she begins a fierce, inexorable quest for justice to the man she once loved . . . even if it means uncovering every last one of the secrets that bind together the families of Winthrop Island.
[Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read it: Whew. That's quite a synopsis. This book had me at Beatriz Williams, but even beyond that point, it sounds like something I would love to read. With the promise of romance, murder, class, power, and dark secrets, I can't help but want to read this one!

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Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World's Most Famous Detective Writer by Margalit Fox
Release Date: June 26, 2018 by Random House
In this thrilling true-crime procedural, the creator of Sherlock Holmes uses his unparalleled detective skills to exonerate a German Jew wrongly convicted of murder.

For all the scores of biographies of Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the most famous detective in the world, there is no recent book that tells this remarkable story--in which Conan Doyle becomes a real-life detective on an actual murder case. In Conan Doyle for the Defense, Margalit Fox takes us step by step inside Conan Doyle's investigative process and illuminates a murder mystery that is also a morality play for our time--a story of ethnic, religious, and anti-immigrant bias.

In 1908, a wealthy woman was brutally murdered in her Glasgow home. The police found a convenient suspect in Oscar Slater--an immigrant Jewish cardsharp--who, despite his obvious innocence, was tried, convicted, and consigned to life at hard labor in a brutal Scottish prison. Conan Doyle, already world famous as the creator of Sherlock Holmes, was outraged by this injustice and became obsessed with the case. Using the methods of his most famous character, he scoured trial transcripts, newspaper accounts, and eyewitness statements, meticulously noting myriad holes, inconsistencies, and outright fabrications by police and prosecutors. Finally, in 1927, his work won Slater's freedom.

Margalit Fox, a celebrated longtime writer for The New York Times, has "a nose for interesting facts, the ability to construct a taut narrative arc, and a Dickens-level gift for concisely conveying personality" (Kathryn Schulz, New York). In Conan Doyle for the Defense, she immerses readers in the science of Edwardian crime detection and illuminates a watershed moment in the history of forensics, when reflexive prejudice began to be replaced by reason and the scientific method. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: I do not read a lot of modern true crime, admittedly, but there is something about historical tales of solving old crimes that do capture my interest. This one in part because it features author Conan Doyle.

Are these something you would want to read too?
What upcoming releases are you looking forward to reading?



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If I am going to draw attention to the upcoming releases I long to add to my TBR pile, why not also give some love to those unread books already sitting on my shelves?


Books from the Back is a weekly meme, hosted by the wonderful Carole of&nnahnbsp;Carole's Random Life in Books to spotlight and discuss the neglected books sitting on our shelves still waiting to be read.. 


London Falling (Shadow Police #1) by Paul Cornell (Tor, 2012)
The dark is rising ...Detective Inspector James Quill is about to complete the drugs bust of his career. Then his prize suspect Rob Toshack is murdered in custody. Furious, Quill pursues the investigation, co-opting intelligence analyst Lisa Ross and undercover cops Costain and Sefton. But nothing about Toshack's murder is normal. Toshack had struck a bargain with a vindictive entity, whose occult powers kept Toshack one step ahead of the law -- until his luck ran out. Now, the team must find a 'suspect' who can bend space and time and alter memory itself. And they will kill again.

As the group starts to see London's sinister magic for themselves, they have two choices: panic or use their new abilities. Then they must hunt a terrifying supernatural force the only way they know how: using police methods, equipment and tactics. But they must all learn the rules of this new game - and quickly. More than their lives will depend on it. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: This is one of those books I was excited to read when it first came out and still am very much looking forward to read. Only, it hasn't happened yet. It has three things I love in a book: mystery, magic and a London setting. Why haven't I read this yet?!

*

Three Souls by Janie Chang (William Morrow, 2014)
An absorbing novel of romance and revolution, loyalty and family, sacrifice and undying love

We have three souls, or so I'd been told. But only in death could I confirm this ... So begins the haunting and captivating tale, set in 1935 China, of the ghost of a young woman named Leiyin, who watches her own funeral from above and wonders why she is being denied entry to the afterlife. Beside her are three souls—stern and scholarly yang; impulsive, romantic yin; and wise, shining hun—who will guide her toward understanding. She must, they tell her, make amends.

As Leiyin delves back in time with the three souls to review her life, she sees the spoiled and privileged teenager she once was, a girl who is concerned with her own desires while China is fractured by civil war and social upheaval. At a party, she meets Hanchin, a captivating left-wing poet and translator, and instantly falls in love with him.

When Leiyin defies her father to pursue Hanchin, she learns the harsh truth—that she is powerless over her fate. Her punishment for disobedience leads to exile, an unwanted marriage, a pregnancy, and, ultimately, her death. And when she discovers what she must do to be released from limbo into the afterlife, Leiyin realizes that the time for making amends is shorter than she thought.

Suffused with history and literature,
Three Souls is an epic tale of revenge and betrayal, forbidden love, and the price we are willing to pay for freedom. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: After reading The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo, I came across Three Souls and was immediately drawn to it. The idea of the three souls fascinates me, and I look forward to reading this one.

Have you read either of these? Do you recommend 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.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Weekly Mews: May in Review & My June 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. 



Happy June! We are approaching the halfway mark for the year, can you believe it? Like the months before it, May seemed to fly by. Our new kitten is growing so fast! She is fitting in well. Mouse adores her. Rehearsals for Oz are going well and are kicking into high gear now that the summer is approaching. Girl Scouts is winding down. We have one more meeting with her old troop--more of  a party as we go our separate ways. This past month, Mouse was able to attend her new troop's Build a Bear party. She's loving the new troop, and, I have to admit, so am I. I think it's a good fit for both of us. Work has had its ups and downs. It's been quite busy, and add in the training days and extra meetings. This past week was an especially tough one, and I am so glad the weekend is finally here.  It was one of those weeks where I came home to my daughter every night and just held her tight.

I desperately need to find time to catch up on my blogging and commenting. I am so behind! Keeping up lately has been next to impossible. I am sure many of you, if not all, can relate! Is anyone else having trouble who has a Blogger blog? I no longer am receiving e-mail comment notifications. As a result, it may take longer for me to approve your comments. It's so much easier with the e-mails. Now I have to go to my site and approve them on the main page, something that isn't so easy to do on my phone when  am out and about. I have tried just about every fix recommended to no avail. I beg for your patience until that gets sorted out.

Peeking around the corner 

Girl Scout Build a Bear Party with her new troop



Rehearsal time with Miss London


A kiss for the kitty

 Growing like a weed!

Vicious! (Caught mid-yawn)

 That's more like it.

Here is what I read in May:
  • Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton
  • The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
  • A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert
  • The Girl From the Savoy by Hazel Gaynor
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
I may not have read much this past month, but it was a good month book wise. I finished both my April and May TBR List winner selections, and enjoyed them immensely. I am not the biggest fan of The Wizard of Oz movie, but oh, how I loved Anne Hathaway's narration of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz book! 

New to My Shelves: 

In honor of Mother's Day, my husband and daughter surprised me with this lovely tote with a Jane Austen quote, a book, a journal, and a gift card, which I promptly spent on a few books.

Making the Monster: The Science Behind Mary Shelley's Frankenstein by Kathryn Harkup
A Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia A. Cole
The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss

A gift from my mom

May also brought the last book fair of the school year at my daughter's school. How could we resist?

Amelia Bedelia Unleased by by Herman Parish, illustrated by Lynne Avril 
I'll Wait, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony
Dreams Come True (Melowy #1) by Danielle Star

I'm a Frog! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems
Tiara Friends: The Case of the Stolen Crown by Paula Harrison
The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris
The Dollmaker of Krakow by R. M. Romero


What I Am Reading: I have been playing catch up with my two year long reads, Les Misérables by Victor Hugo and Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace. I fell a bit behind this past month. I am still lagging behind in War and Peace, but hope to catch up tonight before I drift off to sleep. I have also started reading Jennifer Ashley's cozy historical mystery, Scandal Above Stairs, the second in the Kat Holloway series.

What I Am Watching: I caught the season finale of Timeless and have been able to stay on top of The Fear of the Walking Dead.  May turned into a musical month. I watched Mama Mia, Rent, Sound of Music, and Sister Act--all re-watches, but just as good as the first, second, third, fourth--you get the idea. I also got to see Infinity Wars and ​Solo​. My daughter got me hooked on  R.L. Stine's Monsterville: The Cabinet of Souls the other day.

What I Am Listening To: This past month I listened to L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Since our household is immersed in the musical for the time being, I figured it would be a good time to give the book a try. I may try another J.D. Robb book next.

What I Am Worried About: My brother is slowly recovering from pleurisy, which caused quite a scare. It led to other medical tests which uncovered he has a bicuspid aortic valve that has gone undetected since birth. At least now everyone is aware of the problem and it can be monitored.

One of the co-leaders of my daughter's new Girl Scout troop was recently diagnosed with colon cancer. She's since had surgery and will begin radiation followed by chemotherapy soon. It has spread to her lymph nodes. It's all happened so suddenly. I really hate cancer.

All these health issues certainly put things in perspective. I am worried about what the dentist will say about my tooth when he takes a look at it. More so probably the cost. But this pales in comparison to what my brother and friend are going through.

What I Am Looking Forward To: The end of the school year! It does not really mean much for me--I still have to work and Mouse's musical rehearsals have doubled--but it is something. I am looking forward to seeing Mouse's school play this next week. We will also be celebrating my husband's birthday. Wait until you see a picture of the cake! Also, this next weekend the in-laws are coming. They are planning a big move this summer and have been going through their stuff. Since they are downsizing, we are inheriting a few pieces of their furniture. Hopefully we can find room for everything!

What I Am Grateful For:  Girl-day outings--like our most recent lunch out together. A kitty who tackles my foot or hand and just hangs there upside down. My husband who is willing to go out in the middle of the night to fill my gas tank. And my warm cozy bed which I feel I don't see enough of these days.



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

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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). 




I am feeling a fantasy mood coming on and thought I would pull these three books off my TBR shelf for you to choose between. One has gotten more praise than I can count, another seems to be a love or hate type book, and the other is one that is just about to hit the shelves. All are books I am anxious to read. I hope you will help me decide what to read next--even if you just vote based on the cover (I have to resort to that too sometimes--so no judgement here!).


A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1) by Amanda Bouchet
KINGDOMS WILL RISE AND FALL FOR HER... BUT NOT IF SHE CAN HELP IT

Catalia "Cat" Fisa lives disguised as a soothsayer in a traveling circus. She is perfectly content avoiding the danger and destiny the Gods-and her homicidal mother-have saddled her with. That is, until Griffin, an ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south, fixes her with his steely gaze and upsets her illusion of safety forever.

Griffin knows Cat is the Kingmaker, the woman who divines the truth through lies. He wants her as a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm-until he realizes he wants her for much more than her magic. Cat fights him at every turn, but Griffin's fairness, loyalty, and smoldering advances make him increasingly hard to resist and leave her wondering if life really does have to be short, and lived alone.
[Goodreads Summary]


Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1) by Jay Kristoff
In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?
[Goodreads Summary]


Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf
Zera is a Heartless – the immortal, unageing soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.

Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a Prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum; if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy her heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.

Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him – every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him – until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The Prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.

So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.

Winner takes the loser’s heart.

Literally. [Goodreads Summary]

Have you read any of these? Which one do you think I should read?







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


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