Sunday, January 13, 2019

January's TBR List Poll Winner

We have been home all weekend with a sick Mouse. Poor girl has a bad cold. I have a feeling she will be missing school tomorrow and a visit to the doctor may be order. Her fever hasn't gone down much. She's been sleeping mostly, hardly eating, and drinking when I remind her to. Hopefully she will be feeling better soon. And hopefully her dad and I do not get sick too. In the meantime, I thought you might like to know the results to this month's TBR List Poll!

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

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

I would have been happy with any of the three books up for this month's poll: Ilona Andrews' Magic Rises, Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop and The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman. All three are books I have been dying to read, and hope I will read soon. Next up though will definitely be The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman, which won this month's poll.

The Mortal Word (Invisible Library, #5) by Genevieve Cogman

Thank you to all who took the time to vote! 

© 2019, 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, January 05, 2019

Sunday Mews: Happy New Year! (December Wrap Up & January 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 New Year! I hope December ended on a high note for all of you, and January got off to a great start. We brought in the New Year in our usual quiet way. This year we gave my daughter the choice of staying up until midnight or celebrating early at East Coast time. She chose to celebrate early. I think we actually rang in the new year just before 9:30 p.m. We banged our pots and pans, enjoyed hot fudge sundaes, and I think only my husband was awake at midnight to see the actual new year begin. Did you do anything special to bring in the new year? 

If you haven’t already, be sure and check out my 2018: A Year in Review post, in which I talk about some of my favorite books read this past year. Can you believe 2018 is already over? How did your 2018 in reading shape up? 

I have not thought too far ahead into my reading year for 2019. My reading goals are fairly loose, which means I have quite a bit of wiggle room. And as we all know, there is not shortage of books out there for us to read. I look forward to seeing what all of you end up reading--as well as myself.

Have a Happy New Year, and here’s to another great year in books! 

New to My Shelves: All of us made out this Christmas book-wise. 

I Love Coloring 
  The Witches of New York by Ami McKay 
This Side of Murder (Verity Kent, #1) by Anna Lee Huber 
Becoming by Michelle Obama 

Break the Fossil Record (Ivy + Bean, #3) by Annie Barrows & Sophie Blackall 
Take Care of the Babysitter (Ivy + Bean, #4) by Annie Barrows & Sophie Blackall 
Ivy + Bean by Annie Barrows & Sophie Blackall 
Magic Kitten: A Christmas Surprise by Sue Bentley 
Magic Puppy: Snowy Wishes by Sue Bentley 
Stick Cat: A Tail of Two Kitties by Tom Watson 
The Princess in Black and the Science Fair Scare by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham 
The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak 
Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: The Dance of the Realms by Calliope Glass, illustrated by Marco Bucci 
Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms: A Center Stage-Pop-Up Book 

Endless Quest: Big Trouble by Matt Forbeck 
Wrong Time, Wrong Place (Criminal, Vol. 7) by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips 
Anthony Bourdain’s Hungry Ghosts 
Eat Like Walt: The Wonderful World of Disney Food by Marcy Carriker Smothers 
Art & Arcana: A Visual History by Michael Witwer, Kyle Newman, John Peterson, & Sam Witwer 

What I Am Reading: I began my year with Anna Lee Huber’s This Side of Murder, my first by the author. I thoroughly enjoyed this historical mystery set just after World War I. Verity is a formidable heroine, and Huber seems destined for my favorite historical mystery author list if her other books are this good.

I had thought about taking a break from the bigger classics this year after doubling up on such big ones this past year, but Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra is calling to me. Everywhere I turn lately there are references to this book and its characters, not to mention my daughter’s dance studio is putting on a ballet version this summer (not that Mouse will be performing in it--that's still up in the air). It must be a sign! I am really looking forward to giving this book a try. I am reading the Edith Grossman translation. Have any of you read it? If so, what did you think? I have seen the musical, The Man of La Mancha, which I liked, and so I am a little familiar with the story. [Edited to add: I just discovered Nick of One Catholic Life is doing a Chapter-A-Day Read-Along for Don Quixote. I am so out of the loop! I may have to jump in on his schedule to read the book. He always does such amazing posts about the backgrounds of the books he reads.]

Next up on my TBR pile is Pam Jenoff's The Lost Girls of Paris. I have been avoiding signing up for too many virtual book tours, as tempting as they might be (I only did two last year), but this one caught my attention, and I am really looking forward to reading it. 

What I Am Watching: On Christmas Day, we went to see Mary Poppins Returns. Mouse loved it. I enjoyed it too—although maybe not quite as enthusiastically. It was a bit darker than the original, but follows a very similar format as the first movie.

My mom was nice enough to give my husband and I that rare opportunity to go out just the two of us, and so we enjoyed dinner out and then went to see Aquaman. These superhero movies are my guilty pleasure you could say. We both liked the movie quite a bit.

For Christmas I received a copy of The Greatest Showman and so finally got to see it. I love the music. I think we all enjoyed it for the most part, although weren’t quite as blown away as we perhaps hoped to be given all the praise it’s received. 

Off the Blog: December started out quite busy for us with all things dance related. The Nutcracker performances went well, and I am so glad my brother and his wife were able to come, as well as my mom and aunt. I was able to get off work early one afternoon to attend Mouse’s school holiday concert. It was a lot of fun seeing the five second grade classes come together to perform. We had a small, quiet Christmas, which was nice. Not that our Christmases are every rambunctious and loud events. Mouse was all smiles, which made this mother’s heart glad. We finished off the month by attending Disney On Ice: Dare to Dream show, which we enjoyed, Mouse especially. It is back to school this week for Mouse. Getting her up tomorrow will be hard, I am sure. We all had a nice visit with my mom and are sad to see her go.

 Our new tree topper

 New napping spot?

 Disney on Ice (too bad those books aren't real . . . )

One of our house guests over the holidays

December in Review: 

Here is what I finished reading in December:
  • Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • A Holiday Gaslight by Mimi Matthews
  • A Brazen Curiosity by Lynn Messina
  • Wishing Crossing Station by February Grace
  • Educated by Tara Westover
  • Tales of the Fae by L.J. Hamlin
I ended up reading all three of my December TBR List selections last month. Of the three, the regency mystery, A Brazen Curiosity was my favorite. Thanks to everyone who voted in the poll (be sure and vote in this month’s)!

I also finished my two year-long reads, Les Misérables and War and Peace. When I finished War and Peace, I felt such a sense of accomplishment. It was a long journey, but well worth it. I loved Les Misérables. I can see myself reading it again someday.

I hadn’t intended to read the memoir Educated any time soon, but my mom loaned me a copy, and I started it one afternoon since it was the closest book around. It’s gotten much love since it came out this past year, and I can see why.

Then I was so close to hitting the 60 book mark for the year, that I slipped in the book Tales of the Fae, which is comprised of three romantic short stories. There wasn’t much to them, and I ultimately was disappointed. But, hey, I reached 60! Overall, December turned out to be a good reading month. I managed to finish more than three books!

On the blogging front, I was able to post more than I anticipated, but I was not able to do much blog visiting, unfortunately. Too little time on the computer. I hope to remedy that this month. I have missed our visits and seeing what you all are up to.

This Past December In Reading Mews:

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


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

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

I thought I would start off the year with a poll featuring books in three of my favorite series. I am anxious to read all of these and hope to get to them this year. Which do you think I should read first?

Magic Rises (Kate Daniels, #6) by Ilona Andrews
Atlanta is a city plagued by magical problems. Kate Daniels will fight to solve them—no matter the cost.

Mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate, Curran, the Beast Lord, are struggling to solve a heartbreaking crisis. Unable to control their beasts, many of the Pack’s shapeshifting children fail to survive to adulthood. While there is a medicine that can help, the secret to its making is closely guarded by the European packs, and there’s little available in Atlanta.

Kate can’t bear to watch innocents suffer, but the solution she and Curran have found threatens to be even more painful. The European shapeshifters who once outmaneuvered the Beast Lord have asked him to arbitrate a dispute—and they’ll pay him in medicine. With the young people’s survival and the Pack’s future at stake, Kate and Curran know they must accept the offer—but they have little doubt that they’re heading straight into a trap… [Goodreads Summary]

Etched in Bone (The Others, #5) by Anne Bishop
New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop returns to her world of the Others, as humans struggle to survive in the shadow of shapeshifters and vampires far more powerful than themselves…

After a human uprising was brutally put down by the Elders—a primitive and lethal form of the Others—the few cities left under human control are far-flung. And the people within them now know to fear the no-man’s-land beyond their borders—and the darkness…

As some communities struggle to rebuild, Lakeside Courtyard has emerged relatively unscathed, though Simon Wolfgard, its wolf shifter leader, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn must work with the human pack to maintain the fragile peace. But all their efforts are threatened when Lieutenant Montgomery’s shady brother arrives, looking for a free ride and easy pickings.

With the humans on guard against one of their own, tensions rise, drawing the attention of the Elders, who are curious about the effect such an insignificant predator can have on a pack. But Meg knows the dangers, for she has seen in the cards how it will all end—with her standing beside a grave. [Goodreads Summary]

The Mortal Word (Invisible Library, #5) by Genevieve Cogman
In the latest novel in Genevieve Cogman's historical fantasy series, the fate of worlds lies in the balance. When a dragon is murdered at a peace conference, time-travelling Librarian spy Irene must solve the case to keep the balance between order, chaos . . . and the Library.

When Irene returns to London after a relatively straightforward book theft in Vienna, Bradamant informs her that there is a top secret dragon-Fae peace conference in progress that the Library is mediating, but that the second-in-command dragon has been stabbed to death. Tasked with solving the case, Vale and Irene immediately go to 1890s Paris.

Once they arrive, it seems that the murder victim had uncovered evidence suggesting that he may have found proof of treachery by one or more Librarians. But to ensure the peace of the conference, some Librarians are already hostages in the dragon and Fae courts. To save the captives, including her parents, Irene must get to the bottom of this murder—but was it dragon, Fae, or even a Librarian who committed the crime? [Goodreads Summary]

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

© 2019, 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, January 01, 2019

2018: A Year in Review

I enjoyed answering Jamie's (The Perpetual Page Turner) End of the Year Survey in past years and decided to join in again this year.  I did alter some of the questions and subtracted a few to make it my own.


Some Fun Meaningless 2018 Reading Statistics:

Number Of Books Read: 60 (not including children's books I read with my daughter)

Genre Read The Most From:
(Some of what I read falls under more than one genre. Here, I count them under the genre I most identified with the book, Also of note, my categorization of each book by sub-genre using broad definitions).

Crime Fiction - 18
  • 10 Cozies (6 paranormal, 2 comtemptorary, 2 historical)
  • 7 Thrillers
  • 1 Romance
Fantasy/Science Fiction - 18
  • 6 Science Fiction/Fantasy Cross-Genre (1 children's)
  • 4 Urban Fantasy
  • 3 Fantasy Romance/YA
  • 2 Children's
  • 2 Romance
  • 1 Dark Fantasy
Fiction - 10
  • 6 Historical Fiction
  • 2 Contemporary Fiction (Literary, Women's, General)
  • 2 Classics
    Romance - 8
    • 5 Fantasy Romance
    • 2 Historical
    • 1 Contemporary
    Nonfiction - 3
    • 1 Science
    • 1 Graphic Memoir (YA)
    • 1 Memoir
    Poetry - 2

    Horror - 1

    Of the book I read, 3 were audio books, 7 were print copies (hardcover or paperback), and 49 were e-books.

    8 of the 60 books I read in 2018 were written by men.
    48 of the 60 books I read were written by women.
    4 of  the 60 were written by both male and female writers.

    26 of the books I read in 2018 were written in 3rd person point of view.
    33 of the books I read were written in 1st person.
    1 of the books I read was a mixture of both 1st and 3rd person.

    Months I Finished the Most Books: January & July (8 each)

    Best In Books

    1. Favorite Reads in 2018?

    I did not give out many 5 paw ratings in 2018, although several books came close. I ended up with two in particular that did earn my highest rating. This means a book has a combination of good writing, well-developed characters, a memorable setting or world-building, an entertaining or thought provoking story, and one that brings out an array of my emotions.

    Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

    Close Runner Up:

    The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang

    2. Second Chance Books Or Authors That Did Well In a Later Attempt?

    War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy ~ I ended up enjoying quite a bit despite numerous attempts to start it before.

    3. Best series I started in 2018? 

    Ilona Andrews' Innkeeper Chronicles won me over with the first book, Clean Sweep, and I read the next two books in the series, Sweep in Peace and One Fell Sweep, right on its heels. It has become one of my favorites.

    I cannot help but mention Seanan McGuire's Ghost Roads series, which also became a fast favorite. I read both Sparrow Hill Road and The Girl in the Green Silk Gown  in 2018 and enjoyed them immensely!

    4. Best Sequel of 2018?

    This is really the second in the series, but I cannot help but give mention to it given how much I loved it: Scandal Above Stairs by Jennifer Ashley. I adore Kat Holloway and cannot get enough of her.

    5. Best Book You Read In 2018 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else: 

    Thanks to my Postal Mail Group (which is sadly no more), I got the chance to read The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez, which, although written a couple years ago, remains timely still.

    6. Favorite Authors I Discovered in 2018?

    I read a number of new-to-me authors whose books I enjoyed, but these in particular stood out this past year for me.  

    Lyndsay Faye
    Beatriz Williams
    Sabrina Jeffries
    Lynn Messina
    Lydia Kang
    Seanan McGuire
    Jennifer David Hesse
    Grace Draven
    Amanda Lovelace
    Carol J. Perry

    7. "Old" Favorite Authors Whose Books I Thoroughly Enjoyed in 2018: 

    Ilona Andrews
    Anne Bishop
    Genevieve Cogman
    Jennifer Ashley
    Jill Shalvis
    Susan Elia MacNeal
    Karen E. Olson
    Juliette Cross
    Victoria Gilbert
    Hazel Gaynor

    8. Most Memorable Character?

    This is a tough one to answer this year. Jane Steele immediately comes to mind. The tie  to Jane Eyre may help some, but she really is a character that stands on her own. As much as her life may mirror that of dear Jane Eyre, Jane Steele is very much her own character.

    Rose Marshall of Sparrow Hill Road and The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire is not a character I will soon forget. A ghost who travels the roads of America, her reputation, however, distorted, proceeds her.

    9. Author or Series I Binged On This Year?

    A couple actually. I binged read Ilona Andrews' Innkeeper Chronicles as well as Jennifer David Hesse's Wiccan Wheel Mystery Series

    10. Top Five Favorite Covers of Books I Read in 2018?

    A Brazen Curiosity by Lynn Messina

    The Diving Pool  by Yōko Ogawa

    The Girl From the Savoy by Hazel Gaynor

    The Storm King by Brendan Duffy

    Pressed to Death  (Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum #2) by Kirsten Weiss

    11. Book I Can’t Believe I Waited Until 2018 to Finally Read?

    The Prime Minister's Secret Agent by Susan Elia MacNeal. I have liked past books in the series, but let it get away from me. Spending time with Maggie Hope again was such a pleasure. I still have some catching up to do, and look forward to doing so. 

    I finally read Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop. It probably comes as a big surprise to those who know me that I am not caught up with the Others books. This is one of my all-time favorite series, and yet I keep putting off reading the more recent books. What is wrong with me?!

    12. Shortest Book I Read in 2018? 

    Tales of the Fae by L.J. Hamlin came in at 35 pages, the book being made up of three short stories.

    13.  Longest Book I Read In 2018?

    Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (1433 pages) beat out Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace (1298 pages), which I also read this year. 

    14. Book That Put A Smile On My Face/Was The Most FUN To Read/Listen To?

    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum was such a delight to listen to. I actually listened to it twice this year, the first time on my own, and the second on the drive to my in-laws with my family Thanksgiving Day.

    15. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

    A Brazen Curiosity by Lynn Messina is a short novel, but fully realized. It is the start of a series I am looking forward to following up on. Set in Regency England, bookish and mousy Bea is the last person you would expect to solve a murder, but she manages just that.

    16. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

    I am a known crier. I often take the books I read to heart, growing attached to the characters and feeling their pain and joys all too well. The book that shook me the most this year and had me crying that ugly cry was Victor Hugo's Les Misérables. And even though I knew the story so well before reading the book in its entirety. 

    I would love to know what your favorite reads of 2018 were! Please share a link to your favorite's list below if you posted one--or just tell me in the comments. Did we read any of the same books? If so, what did you think?

    My Blogging Bookish Life

    I published 170 blog posts. January was my most prolific month with 25 posts, and July was my slowest with only 7 posts.

    In 2018, I continued to take part in Michelle's My TBR List Meme at Because Reading, enlisting your help in choosing one book each month to read. I really enjoyed having you take an active part in selecting what I would read. It can be difficult to choose on my own with so many choices. You wouldn't believe the amount of time I can waste in deciding. Or maybe you can . . . I am grateful to Michelle for coming up with the idea. I plan to continue to participate in the meme in 2019, and hope you will join me! 

    Books Read Because Of You (My TBR List Poll Winners of 2018):

    My Reading Goals for 2018 Were:

    1. Read more Classics ~ I read three classics this year. Not much in the way of progress, I am afraid.

    2. Read Les Misérables by Victor Hugo ~ I did it! One of my favorite books of 2018.

    3. Read War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy ~ I gave myself a big pat on the back the day I finished this one.

    4. Catch up with my NetGalley/Edelweiss reading ~ SI don’t want to talk about it.

    5. Read more of my older TBR books ~ This will forever be a goal, I think.

    6. Catch up on at least two favorite series ~ I did not manage this one, but I did start and got caught up in a new one or two this past year.

    7. Increase the number of audio books I listen to ~ I ended up going in the opposite direction and only listened to two. I also canceled my Audible subscription. I have quite a few in my "library" that I should focus on, I think. And there's always the library.

    8. Read more chapter books with my daughter ~ We did do this, although I was not the best at keeping track. My daughter still prefers picture books, but she’s also really likes the idea of tackling those chapter books.

    9. Read more poetry ~ Toward the end of the year, I did make time to feature a couple of poetry books in my new feature Poetry Corner. I hope to continue this in the New Year.

    10. Reading Challenges ~ I want to complete the reading challenges I signed up for to my satisfaction.

    What a year two thousand eighteen was! It may not have been my most stellar reading year in terms of numbers (60 books total; 90 if you go by Goodreads in which I added in a few of the books my daughter and I read together—when I remembered). I had a lot of big reading and blogging plans going into this past year. I started a bullet journal, which fizzled out after about 4 months. I gave up on most of my reading challenges, deciding they were too constricting at this time in my life. And yet I stuck with my two year-long read-alongs, finishing both Les Misérables and War and Peace.

    On the personal front, I threw myself into the life of a dance/theater mom (I’m a work in progress) and work was, well work. I do like my job, but it takes a lot out of me most days. There was also Girl Scouts. I gave up my co-leadership role when our original troop broke up last spring, but Mouse and I still remain active in our new troop. There were health issues, both our own and within our extended families. My house needs a good dusting, but my cats are happy and well fed. My daughter seems to be too.

    The country, and even the world, is still a mess. Thank goodness for books. Whether to help us maneuver through each day, guiding and teaching us, helping us understand, or giving us the tools and resources we need to make change. Or even if to help us completely escape into another person’s life or world for just a little while.

    Given this past year’s reading challenge progress (or lack thereof), I am forgoing any reading challenges this year. Who knows though. Maybe down the road one will pique my interest.

    2019 Reading Goals (many of which are the same as this past year):

    1. Read more Classics.

    2. Catch up with my NetGalley/Edelweiss reading.

    3. Read more of my older TBR books.

    4. Be better about recording in Goodreads the Children’s books I read with my daughter.

    5. Read more poetry (and feature more on my blog)

    6. Make more time for reading in general.

    How did your past year shape up? Did you accomplish your reading and blogging goals? Have you set any for the new year?

    Thank you to all of you for your visits and comments this past year. It means so much to me. As my blog turns 13 this coming year, I cannot be more proud to be a part of this wonderful community of book bloggers. I have enjoyed visiting with you and look forward to seeing what this year will bring us, both in books and in life. I hope you all have a very Happy New Year

    First book of 2019: This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber

    © 2019, 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.