Saturday, June 30, 2018

Weekly Mews: June 2018 in Review & Mid-Year Freak Out

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 July! We are at the midpoint of the year, can you believe it? I am not sure I can. Two thousand eighteen has been a roller-coaster of a year so far. Both globally and personally. I started writing this post several times, but realized I was sliding quickly into despair. Suffice it to say, it has been a rough first half of the year--socially, politically, health-wise, job-wise, and financially. I would like to say it will get better, but I am not sure I believe that, try as hard as I might to do so. Thank goodness for my family. And books. And chocolate. And cats.

This is how I feel a lot lately-
although, little Nina has a lot better balance than I do.

There have been bright spots--many of them. We still feel the hole that Parker has left in our hearts with his passing last fall, but our new kitten has brought so much joy into our lives as well. Her energy and playfulness cannot help but bring smiles to all our faces. She's such a joy to have around. Even Gracie has warmed up to her some. They play more than they fight these days, and Gracie seems to be relaxing more when the kitten is around.

Mouse finished out a great school year and had an amazing teacher. I am so proud of Mouse. She played a dove in her school play, and definitely has a flair for the stage.

The show! Not a week goes by that we aren't doing something related to the musical. We picked up the costumes this past week, bought Mouse's performance shoes, and now I just need to master the required hairstyle. Our lives will continue to be consumed by rehearsals this month as we race to showtime. It has been a fun experience over all, even if stressful at times.

June itself was a full month. More rehearsals and dance classes. The Celebration of Dance event. End of the season Girl Scout parties. Lots of kitty cuddles. Tense work moments. End of school events. Doctor appointments. And not as much reading as I would have liked. I finished three books. Just three. There is always one month each year like this--and I guess June was it for me this time around. I hope it is the only month this year like it. At least I enjoyed my reading quite a bit. All the books were winners.

Here is what I read in June:
  • The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire
  • Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf
  • Scandal Above Stairs by Jennifer Ashley
June Posts:
Challenge & Read-Along Updates:

With everything going on in my life right now and the direction my reading and blogging have taken as of late, I am making the difficult decision to pull out of several of the challenges I committed to for the year.  I made a little progress in each one and am so glad I had the opportunity to do so. I want to take some of the pressure off myself though, and felt this was one of the ways I could make that happen.

Saying Goodbye to:

I am determined, however, to continue on with my two read-a-longs.

Les Misérables Read-Along ~  I have been doing so well with this one, but June found me falling behind. I am about three weeks behind in my reading.  I have not quite yet met Marius, but I have met Gavroche, one of my favorite characters in the musical version. How did I not know who his parents were?! Well, now I know.

War and Peace Read-Along ~ War and Peace has me hook, line and sinker. I am all caught up with this chunkster, and am eager to read on. I could not turn the pages fast enough to find out how Natasha's situation would turn out with Anatole. 

I am also sticking with the 2018 Witches and Witchcraft Reading Challenge, because, well, witches.
I am unsure about whether a few of the books I have read that contain magic qualify, but I think it is fair to count these toward the challenge so far:

  • Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
  • Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews
  • One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  • Dawn of the Flame Sea by Jean Johnson
  • Demons of the Flame Sea by Jean Johnson
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  • The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire
  • Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf

New to My Shelves In June: 

Gift cards are a booklover's best friend sometimes. Especially when we are in need of a little retail therapy. Here are the books I purchased in June, most of which have been on my wish list for quite some time:

Sins of the Son (Grigori Legacy, #2) by Linda Poitevin
Sins of the Lost (Grigori Legacy, #3) by Linda Poitevin

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
Wolfskin by W.R. Gingell
Snow White Red-Handed (A Fairy Tale Fatal Mystery #1) by Maia Chance
The Mother by Yvvette Edwards
A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
Discount Armageddon (InCryptid #1) by Seanan McGuire
Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne
Balm by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Flunked (Fairy Tale Reform School #1) by Jen Calonita
Murder on the Last Frontier (A Charlotte Brody Mystery) by Cathy Pegau
Beastly (Kendra Chronicles) by Alex Flinn
Prisoner of the Crown (The Chronicles of Dasnaria #1) by Jeffe Kennedy
Need You for Keeps by Marina Adair
Death Overdue (Haunted Library) by Allison Brook
The Things We Don't Say by Ella Carey

A Hole New World by Pat & Jen from PupularMMOs, illustrated by Dani Jones
Too Many Cats (The Wish Fairy #1) by Lisa Ann Scott

Have you read any of these? What did you think? What new books did you borrow or buy this past month? 

Mid-Year Freak Out

So far this year, I have read 32 books. Of those books, two were audio books. Sixteen were new-to-me authors. Four of the books I read were written solely by men and three by a husband/wife team. Eight books earned 4.5 paws on my rating scale. And two books earned only 2 paws.

It was hard fitting just one book into these categories (and in two instances I did list two). I forced myself to though.

1 - Best book I've read/listened to so far in 2018: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

2 - Best sequel I’ve read so far in 2018: Scandal Above Stairs by Jennifer Ashley

3 - Biggest disappointment: Dawn of the Flame Sea by Jean Johnson

4 - Favorite new author (new to me): Victoria Gilbert

5 - Newest fictional crush: Sean Evans from the Innkeeper Chronicles by Ilona Andrews

6 - Newest favorite character: Rose Marshall from The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire

7 - Book that made me cry: The Girl from the Savoy by Hazel Gaynor & The Book of Unknown Americans by Henríquez, Cristina 

8 - Book that made me happy: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

9 - Favorite book cover of a book read this year:

10 - What books do I need to read finish by the end of the year?: Les Misérables by Victor Hugo and War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

How has the first half of 2018 been to you? What made your favorites list? 


What I Am Reading: I am in the middle of Seanan McGuire's Sparrow Hill Road, the first in her Ghostroads series. It is really more of a mash up of short stories, loosely connected, than an actual novel. I accidentally read the second book first, but I think it worked out better that way since that was an actual novel. I am also reading The Diving Pool by Yoko Ogawa, a collection of three novellas. I have read two in the collection so far and am still making my mind up about them.

What I Am Watching: We recently saw the second Incredibles movie and enjoyed it quite a bit. My daughter made us watch The Wizard of Oz again. And I think she's seen it twice more since then--and that's just this past week.

What I Am Worried About: My brother relapsed and has pleurisy again. It is especially concerning given his heart condition. I dropped by phone on my toes and now have bruised and swollen toes on one of my feet. The only shoes my foot is comfortable in are my running shoes, which aren't exactly up to the work dress code. I am not in a lot of pain, but there is some minor pain and discomfort, especially if I put too much weight on them. My toes are doing much better now than they were--but still taking their time to heal. The night it happened, I texted my mom and told her I wanted to be like her. She recently dropped something on her foot and has a small fracture as a result. On a lighter note, I am worried about whether or not I will be able to master the required bun for my daughter's upcoming dress rehearsals and show (I am NOT at hair person).

What I Am Grateful For:  Reassuring dance moms, Iburprofen, my daughter's laughter and love for life, my husband's hugs, Gracie's cuddles and Nina attacking my feet.

Playing Dress Up

New Hiding Place

No kitty is left out of cuddle time.

Treats at the Princess Tea Party at the Dance Studio

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

For those who celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful 4th of July!

 © 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 26, 2018

Wishing to Read Wednesday: Old & New (#6)

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

Drood by Dan Simmons (Little, Brown & Company, 2009)
Drood… is the name and nightmare that obsesses Charles Dickens for the last five years of his life.

On June 9, 1865, Dickens and his mistress are secretly returning to London, when their express train hurtles over a gap in a trestle. All of the first-class carriages except the one carrying Dickens are smashed to bits in the valley below. When Dickens descends into that valley to confront the dead and dying, his life will be changed forever. And at the core of that ensuing five-year nightmare is…

Drood… the name that Dickens whispers to his friend Wilkie Collins. A laudanum addict and lesser novelist, Collins flouts Victorian sensibilities by living with one mistress while having a child with another, but he may be the only man on Earth with whom Dickens can share the secret of…

Drood. Increasingly obsessed with crypts, cemeteries, and the precise length of time it would take for a corpse to dissolve in a lime pit, Dickens ceases writing for four years and wanders the worst slums and catacombs of London at night while staging public readings during the day, gruesome readings that leave his audiences horrified. Finally he begins writing what would have been the world’s first great mystery masterpiece, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, only to be interrupted forever by…

Drood. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: Doesn't this just sound dark and delicious? As my husband was dusting the shelves the other day, he mentioned how I had practically begged for an copy of Drood when it first came out (which I promptly received for Christmas that same year), and yet there it sits. On the shelf unread. The size may have something to do with my putting it off, but I am still just as interested in reading it as I was then.


The Taken (Celestial Blues #1) by Vicki Pettersson (Harper Voyager, 2012)
Griffin Shaw was a PI when alive. Fifty years later, he’s a celestial Centurion assisting the recently and violently dead. But being an angel doesn’t mean he’s a saint. One small mistake altered fate, and dumped him back on the mortal mudflat to collect another soul – Katherine “Kit” Craig, a journalist whose latest investigation may get her clipped.

Bucking heavenly orders, Grif refuses to let this sable-haired siren with hairpin curves come to harm. He also wants the truth about his killer and revenge for his wife Evie's death. Amid an evil conspiracy, a ruthless killer stalks the new partners. Grif's attraction to Kit could cost their lives -- and his answer to who killed him.
[Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: I have not read too many books featuring angels, and The Taken caught my attention from the cover to the mystery.

*                    *

The New

Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose
Release Date: August 7, 2018 by Atria Books
New York, 1924. Twenty‑four‑year‑old Jenny Bell is one of a dozen burgeoning artists invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists’ colony. Gifted and determined, Jenny vows to avoid distractions and romantic entanglements and take full advantage of the many wonders to be found at Laurelton Hall.

But Jenny’s past has followed her to Long Island. Images of her beloved mother, her hard-hearted stepfather, waterfalls, and murder, and the dank hallways of Canada’s notorious Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women overwhelm Jenny’s thoughts, even as she is inextricably drawn to Oliver, Tiffany’s charismatic grandson.

As the summer shimmers on, and the competition between the artists grows fierce as they vie for a spot at Tiffany’s New York gallery, a series of suspicious and disturbing occurrences suggest someone knows enough about Jenny’s childhood trauma to expose her.

Supported by her closest friend Minx Deering, a seemingly carefree socialite yet dedicated sculptor, and Oliver, Jenny pushes her demons aside. Between stolen kisses and stolen jewels, the champagne flows and the jazz plays on until one moonless night when Jenny’s past and present are thrown together in a desperate moment, that will threaten her promising future, her love, her friendships, and her very life.
[Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read it: New York in the 1920's has an irresistible quality to it, don't you think? And I really enjoy M.J. Rose's work. If the author's name didn't pique my interest immediately in this one, the setting and subject matter would. Just what is in Jenny's past? And how is it coming to haunt her now?


As Wide As the Sky by Jessica Pack
Release Date: July 31, 2018 by Kensington Publishing
Five a.m.: Amanda Mallorie wakes to the knowledge that her son Robbie is gone. And a new chapter of her own life must begin. She has spent four years as her son's only support, desperately trying to understand the actions that landed him on death row and to change his fate. Now Amanda faces an even more difficult task--finding a way, and a reason, to move forward with her own life.

Before the tragedy that unfolded in a South Dakota mall, Robbie was just like other people's sons or daughters. Sometimes troubled, but sweet and full of goodness too. That's the little boy Amanda remembers as she packs up his childhood treasures and progress reports, and discovers a class ring she's never seen before. Who does it belong to and why did Robbie have it in his possession? So begins a journey that will remind her not only of who Robbie used to be, but of a time when she wasn't afraid--to talk to strangers, to help those in need, to reach out. Robbie's choices can never be unmade, but there may still be time for forgiveness and trust to grow again. For a future as wide as the sky.
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: Reading this synopsis, so many emotions come to mind. I cannot even imagine what Amanda must be going though. I need to read this book!

What do you think? Are these books you want to read?

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

Monday, June 25, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I’ve Given Up On . . . Or Not

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

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is the Series I’ve Given Up On . . . Or Not.  I am a series junkie, it's true. I start series constantly and follow through with so few. Not because I do not want to. Just because I am always starting new ones . . . I really need to focus on the series I have started and stick with them. Someday, perhaps.

I am only including series of which I read more than one book otherwise the list might be much longer.

Series I have given up on and do not plan to continue

1. The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice ~ I really liked the books I read many years ago, but I lost interest in the them over time. Add to that the author's behavior towards readers who might have something negative to say about her books, and I would rather stay away.

2. Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series ~ This was once an auto-buy series for me.  Until it wasn't. I burnt out on this series around book 13. By then I had lost interest in the series, kept finding fault with the writing, and did not like the direction the author had taken some of the characters.

3. The Anita Blake series by Laurel K. Hamilton ~ This series was my introduction into urban fantasy and paranormal romance. I devoured the early books in the series, but when the books veered more toward romance and less toward mystery, I lost interest. I read fourteen of the books in the series, which I believe is up to 28.

4. Deadly Angel series by Sandra Hill ~ I read the first two books in this series and that was enough for me. I just didn't see the appeal. (And I couldn't stop giggling every time I came across the word "Vangels" used to describe the vampire/angel male leads.)

5. Greg Rucka's Atticus Kodiak series ~ Atticus is a kick-ass bodyguard in New York City for those who may not know. I read almost all of the books in this series  and am not really sure why. I liked them to a point, but they really were not to my taste. A bit too much testosterone, maybe. 

6. The Flame Sea series by Jean Johnson ~ I read the first two books in this fantasy series earlier this year. It just wasn't for me. 

7. James Patterson's Alex Cross  series ~ I enjoyed his books for a time, but I think I just burnt out on the series.

Series I am on the fence about whether to stop or continue

8. Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware, child psychologist, series ~ Another favorite series of mine for awhile there until I got burnt out on it. I think I stopped after reading the 20th book in the series. I sometimes think of going back and reading more, but it has not happened yet.

9. Stephanie Plum, bounty hunter, series by Janet Evanovich ~ This one had me under it's spell for awhile. I could count on a good laugh just about every time. And it was a guarantee a car would blow up in every book. After awhile though, the books felt the same and I grew tired of Stephanie's playing both Ranger and Joe Morelli. I sometimes think of trying again this one. Maybe she finally chose a guy in a later book? One can hope . . . 

10. Anne Perry's Charlotte and Inspector Pitt series ~ I used to binge read this series, reading multiple books at a time. I love the attention to period details Perry puts into each book. I am not really sure why I set this series aside. The series was beginning to become more political than it had been, and that may have ultimately been the deciding factor. Now that the author has started a series about their son, I have been considering going back and picking up where I left off with this one.

Series I said I would stop reading after the first book, but am still reading

In Death series by J.D. Robb ~ After reading the first book in the series, I had decided not to read any further. Then I listened to the audio version and enjoyed it much more. I have since listened to the second book and also liked it. I have the next several books on my phone to listen to now. It wasn't so bad after all . . .

Linda Fairstein's Alexandra Cooper series - Another series in which I decided not to continue after reading the first book. And then I heard the author speak at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and decided to give her series featuring Assistant District Attorney Alex Cooper another try. I have been hooked ever since. I have read sixteen books in the series to date.

Have you read any of these series? Are there any series you have given up on that you read more than one book in?

 © 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, June 24, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

Joshua. ~ Opening of The Perfect Mother 

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
Harper, 2018
Crime Fiction/Thriller; 336 pgs

I am on a roll reading good thrillers as of late. The Perfect Mother was no exception. The May Mothers are a group of mothers with children born in May who met online and decided to create an in-person group, meeting at a local park twice a week. Winnie reluctantly joined, never quite feeling like she belonged, but not quite wanting to stop attending either. At one meeting, the women decide to plan a night out at a bar, no children allowed. Winnie is not sure she wants to go, but the other women, especially Nell, put the pressure on, even arranging for her to have a babysitter, and so she goes. That one night out, the first evening away from their babies, and Midas, Winnie’s son, goes missing.

While the media has a field day with Winnie’s true identity and accusing the police of botching up the investigation fright from the start, several of the May mothers decide to take matters into their own hands and show their support to Winnie by finding out who kidnapped Midas.

The novel jumps from several different characters, offering a more rounded glimpse of the events that have taken place, both past and present. No one is without their secrets and faults, as we soon learn. I really enjoyed the views into these other women’s lives. The author has a real gift for drawing out each of her character’s feelings and anxieties. I found them all easy to relate to. Each of these women strive to be the perfect mother but fall short—because there is no such thing.

In today’s society, the media plays a large role in how we interpret and shape our opinions. This isn’t the first novel to point this out through the events that occur in the book, but Molloy does it in such a way bring it into full focus. None of the main characters is exempt from the media’s attention. To keep ratings up, the media looks for scandal in every nook and cranny, and the public eats it up, completing the cycle. One particular media celebrity seems to want to pass judgement on everyone related to the kidnapping case, even maligning the women for going out for an evening without their infants. It was appalling how many people jumped on that bandwagon. From the sensationalism to the mob mentality. We see and hear it every day in one form or another.

It is always hard to talk about the one thing I did not care for in a novel when it involves the resolution. Let’s just say there wasn’t much guesswork for me with this one, which was a tad disappointing. Things fall a little too perfectly into place in the end, and I felt like there should have been more development in that direction early on. At the same time, I still really enjoyed the novel and would definitely read more by Aimee Molloy.

For more information about the author and her books, visit her website. You can also find her on Twitter and 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, June 21, 2018

Where Is Your Bookmark? (A Peek Into Bring Me Their Hearts)

I just finished reading my June TBR List winner, Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf, and thought I would share a a bit with you today.

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]
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.
King Sref of Cavanos watches me with the deadened eyes of a raven circling a corpse--patient, waiting to devour me the second I let my guard down. I briefly debate telling him humans don't taste all that good, until I remember normal girls don't eat people. Or fake their way into royal courts.
My thoughts: In this opening paragraph, the reader gets a taste for our main character's wit, and to wonder about the king and just what kind of danger Zera will find in the court. It was enough to keep me reading.

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.
The prince studies me, or rather, my mask. My eyes behind the mask. It feels as if he's trying to peel away the layers of my defenses, my secrets, like a bird of prey peeling back skin and muscle from a kill. [56%]
My thoughts: There are a lot of references to birds in this novel, I have noticed. I like this particular scene in which Zera and the prince are getting to know each other better, both through verbal barbs and perhaps opening up a little more.

And another teaser because I can't help myself:
"I'm not used to dueling girls, milady," the twin sneers. 
"I assure you, it's no different than fighting a man," I say, and launch an immediate strike to his left flank.  [70%]

What do you think? Does this 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.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Wishing to Read Wednesday: Old & New (#5)

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

It Takes a Witch (A Wishcraft Mystery #1) by Heather Blake (New American Library, 2012)
Darcy Merriweather and her sister, Harper, hail from a long line of witches who have the power to grant wishes using spells. They've come to Enchanted Village in Salem, Massachusetts, to join the family business, but they soon find themselves knee deep in murder...

Until three weeks ago, Darcy and Harper were working dead-end jobs and trying to put their troubles behind them. Then their aunt Velma delivered a bombshell: They're actually Wishcrafters - witches with the power to grant wishes with a mere spell. Wanting a fresh start, they head to their aunt's magic-themed tourist town to master their newfound skills.

But their magic fails them when a wannabe witch turns up dead - strangled with Aunt Ve's scarf - and Ve's sweetheart, Sylar, is found looming over the body. Ve is standing by her man, but Darcy overheard Skylar wish that the victim would disappear - forever. With Harper distracted by her handsome new crush, Darcy is determined to sleuth her way to the truth. But it'll take more than a wish to unravel this mystery....
[Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this:


Bayou Moon (The Edge #2) by Ilona Andrews (Penguin Berkley Ace, 2010)
The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Walmart and magic is a fairytale–and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny… 
Cerise Mar and her unruly clan are cash poor but land rich, claiming a large swathe of the Mire, the Edge swamplands between the state of Louisiana and the Weird. When her parents vanish, her clan’s long-time rivals are suspect number one.

But all is not as it seems. Two nations of the Weird are waging a cold war fought by feint and espionage, and their conflict is about to spill over into the Edge—and Cerise’s life . William, a changeling soldier who left behind the politics of the Weird, has been forced back into service to track down a rival nation’s spymaster.

When William’s and Cerise’s missions lead them to cross paths, sparks fly—but they’ll have to work together if they want to succeed…and survive. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: I enjoyed the first book in the series, and have had this one on my shelf for awhile. Ilona Andrews has a gift for world building, and this one sounds irresistible.

*                     *

The New

Eagle and Crane by Suzanne Rindell
Release Date: July 3, 2018 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
Two young daredevil flyers confront ugly truths and family secrets during the U.S. internment of Japanese citizens during World War II, from the author of The Other Typist and Three-Martini Lunch.

Louis Thorn and Haruto "Harry" Yamada -- Eagle and Crane -- are the star attractions of Earl Shaw's Flying Circus, a daredevil (and not exactly legal) flying act that traverses Depression-era California. The young men have a complicated relationship, thanks to the Thorn family's belief that the Yamadas -- Japanese immigrants -- stole land that should have stayed in the Thorn family.

When Louis and Harry become aerial stuntmen, performing death-defying tricks high above audiences, they're both drawn to Shaw's smart and appealing stepdaughter, Ava Brooks. When the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor and one of Shaw's planes mysteriously crashes and two charred bodies are discovered in it, authorities conclude that the victims were Harry and his father, Kenichi, who had escaped from a Japanese internment camp they had been sent to by the federal government. To the local sheriff, the situation is open and shut. But to the lone FBI agent assigned to the case, the details don't add up.

Thus begins an investigation into what really happened to cause the plane crash, who was in the plane when it fell from the sky, and why no one involved seems willing to tell the truth. By turns an absorbing mystery and a fascinating exploration of race, family and loyalty,
Eagle and Crane is that rare novel that tells a gripping story as it explores a terrible era of American history. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read it: Everything about this book screams, "Read me!" I have long had an interest in World War II history and add in airplanes and a mystery and I'm even more intrigued. I cannot wait to read this one.


Poppy Harmon Investigates (A Desert Flowers Mystery #1) by Lee Hollis
Release Date: July 31, 2018 by Kensington Books
Lee Hollis begins a delightful new series in which Poppy Harmon and her friends find that life after retirement can be much busier--and deadlier--than any of them ever anticipated . . . 
When Poppy goes from complacent retiree to penniless widow in a matter of weeks, the idea of spending her golden years as the biggest charity case in Palm Springs renders her speechless. With no real skills and nothing left to lose, Poppy uses her obsession with true crime shows to start a career as a private eye . . . 
But after opening the Desert Flowers Detective Agency with help from her two best friends, Violet and Iris, Poppy realizes that age brings wisdom, not business--until she convinces her daughter's handsome boyfriend, Matt, to pose as the face of the agency. It's not long before Matt's irresistible act snags a client desperate to retrieve priceless jewelry burglarized from an aging actress at the Palm Leaf Retirement Village. Or before Poppy stumbles upon the bloodied body of the victim's arch rival . . . 
In a flash, Poppy's innocent detective gig is upstaged by a dangerous murder investigation riddled with slimy suspects and unspeakable scandal. As she and her team uncover the truth, Poppy must confront the secrets about her late husband's past and swiftly catch a killer lurking around the retirement community--even if it means turning her world upside down all over again. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: The Palm Springs setting caught my attention with this one, but the premise is what really pulled me in. I love the sound of this new cozy series.

Do any of these sound like something you would read? If you have read them, what did you think?

© 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, June 18, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Read By the Pool/At the Beach

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

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is the Books to Read By the Pool/At the Beach (aka my Summer TBR List). The chances of me reading by the pool or the beach this summer are very slim, but there are a number of books I would like to get to this summer. Of course, being on this list is no guarantee I will get to them, but I do want to read them sooner than later!

1.  Suicide Club by Rachel Heng ~ If you could live forever, would you want to? This novel, set in the near future, is about a woman who has that chance if she does everything right. Only, her estranged father's appearance in her life can change everything. He is part of a Suicide Club that believes immortality is not worth striving for when instead you can live (and die) on your own terms. This one sounds like it will be thought provoking.

2. All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover ~  A book about a troubled marriage, infertility, and two imperfect people who share the perfect love. This will be my first by Colleen Hoover. I have heard this is an emotional and good read. I hope so!

3. The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis ~ A dual time line novel set in New York City, fifty years apart. Working in an information booth at Grand Central Terminal, Virginia comes across the remenants of a long ago art school, and a masterful painting whose story she must know. Years past, Clara's future lay in front of her, full of promise, as she began teaching at the Grand Central School of Art. I love a good historical fiction novel and have high hopes for this one.

4. Silent Hearts by Gwen Florio ~ A novel about the growing friendship between two women, an American journalist and her Pakastani interpreter, in war torn Kabul. I look forward to reading this book about two strong women living in such difficult times.

5. Kill the Farm Boy (The Tales of Pell, #1) by Delilah S. Dawson & Kevin Hearne ~ This book had me at the opening lines of the synopsis (and maybe the comparison to The Princess Bride, which I loved, and Terry Pratchett, who I know I will love when I get around to reading his books):
Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdon, a hero, the Chosen One, was born . . . and so begins every fairytale ever told.
This is not that fairytale.
There is mention of fine cheese and an assassin afraid of chickens . . . This sounds like it will be fun.

6. The Sunflower Girl by Rosanna Chiofalo ~ A dual time line novel set in Italy during World War II and the present, this novel about a mother and daughter, love and loss, forgiveness and hope.  One of my favorite types of books.

7. Room Service (Inkeepers, #3) by Rochelle Alers ~ Set in New Orleans, this novel takes us into the life of a woman who is starting over after a failed marriage as she learns to love and trust again. This sounds like the perfect beach read.

8. The Locksmith's Daughter by Karen Brooks ~ I do enjoy historical fiction from time to time, and I cannot resist this one, about Queen Elizabeth's spymaster and his female protégée. (As my husband groans at another "daughter" in the title book).

9. A River of Stars by Vanessa Hua ~ A novel about immigration, motherhood, identity, and so much more. A timely and poignant sounding novel.

10. Tail of the Dragon (Zodiace Mystery, #3) by Connie di Marco ~ This is a fun cozy mystery series featuring an astrologer. In this one, the main character goes undercover in a law firm at the request of a client to find out who is behind death threats being made, which is followed by murder.

Have you read any of these? Are they on your to read list too? What books do you hope to read this season?

© 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, 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!  


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.

*                    *

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.