Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Waiting to Read Wednesday: The Widow of Pale Harbor, Red at the Bone, Last Pen Standing, & The Star-Touched Queen



The Old(er) 
I have an embarrassing number of unread books sitting on the shelves in my personal library. Carole of Carole's Random Life in Books has given me the perfect excuse to spotlight and discuss those neglected books in her Books from the Backlog feature. After all, even those older books need a bit of love! Not to mention it is reminding me what great books I have waiting for me under my own roof still to read!


The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen #1) by Roshani Chokshi (2016)
Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: I imagine I fell in love with the cover, which is why I gave this one a closer look to see if it would be something I would like. Maya sounds like an interesting character. Add to that a curse, an arranged marriage, secrets, and an ancient mystery, and I knew I had to read it.

Have you read this one? If so, what did you think? 


The New
Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by the marvelous Tressa at Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss upcoming release we are excited about that we have yet to read.


The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox
Release Date: September 17, 2019 by Graydon House
A town gripped by fear. A woman accused of witchcraft. Who can save Pale Harbor from itself?

Maine, 1846. Gabriel Stone is desperate to escape the ghosts that haunt him in Massachusetts after his wife’s death, so he moves to Maine, taking a position as a minister in the remote village of Pale Harbor.

But not all is as it seems in the sleepy town. Strange, unsettling things have been happening, and the townspeople claim that only one person can be responsible: Sophronia Carver, a reclusive widow who lives with a spinster maid in the eerie Castle Carver. Sophronia must be a witch, and she almost certainly killed her husband.

As the incidents escalate, one thing becomes clear: they are the work of a twisted person inspired by the wildly popular stories of Mr. Edgar Allan Poe. And Gabriel must find answers, or Pale Harbor will suffer a fate worthy of Poe’s darkest tales. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: Upon first reading the description of The Widow of Pale Harbor, I was sold. A woman accused of witchcraft? Strange and unsettling events similar to what one might find in Poe's work? I cannot wait to read this!


Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
Release Date: September 17, 2019 by Riverhead Books
An extraordinary new novel about the influence of history on a contemporary African-American family, from the New York Times-bestselling and National Book Award-winning author of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming.

Two families from different social classes are joined together by an unexpected pregnancy and the child that it produces. Moving forward and backward in time, with the power of poetry and the emotional richness of a narrative ten times its length, Jacqueline Woodson's extraordinary new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of this child.

As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody's birthday celebration in her grandparent's Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, escorted by her father to the soundtrack of Prince, she wears a special, custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody's mother, for her own sixteenth birthday party and a celebration which ultimately never took place.

Unfurling the history of Melody's parents and grandparents to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they've paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history. As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives—even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: Jacqueline Woodson's name is enough to make me stand up and take notice.  But I also want to read this multi-generational story which "uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of this child." I imagine this will be an emotional and beautiful read.


Last Pen Standing (Stationery Shop Mystery #1) by Vivian Conroy
Release Date: September 24, 2019 by Poisoned Pen Press
Will this paper trail run cold?
As the new co-owner of Tundish Montana's stationery shop WANTED, Delta Douglas knows how to organize a killer crafting event. Creativity and cardstock are all she needs to move one step closer to her ultimate dream: developing her own line of crafting products. But on the night of the workshop, at the swanky hotel venue, glitter isn't the only thing found sprawled on the floor. A hotel guest is discovered dead in the bar, and amid the confusion, Delta's best friend is suspected of the crime.
Enlisting the help of her Paper Posse and Spud, her canine sidekick, Delta dives into the investigation. But with many high-powered suspects on the line, Delta soon realizes her sleuthing may come with deadly consequences. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: Cozy mysteries are such fun, and while I am picky about the type of craft-themed cozy I will read (because I can't read them all!), I don't think I will be able to resist this one set in a stationery shop.  And Spud, her canine sidekick! It's easy to forget how much I love dogs all the cats on my blog and in my life.


Do any of these books appeal to you? What upcoming releases are you looking forward to? 


© 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.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Bookish Mewsings (featuring Book Beginnings & Friday 56): The Master Key & The Shadow of the Fox



Along with my mini reviews, I am linking to both Book Beginnings, a meme in which readers share the first sentence of a book they are reading, hosted by Gillion Dumas of Rose City Reader and Friday 56 hosted by Freda of Freda's Voice, in which readers share a random sentence or two from page 56 or 56% of the book they are reading.


The Master Key by Masako Togawa, translated by Simon Grove
Pushkin Vertigo, 2017 (originally published in 1962
Crime Fiction; 193 pages

Book Beginning: 
On that day, the snow (unusual for April) which had fallen on the night before was still half an inch deep in the morning. But before midday the sun peeped through the clouds and a thaw set in. In no time at all, the streets once again danced in the sunshine of spring.   

Friday 56 [excerpt from 56% of e-book]: 
She continued her practice of writing one letter a day to her former students, but with less enthusiasm than before. On her way out to post them every morning, she would glace at the master key and secretly envy the receptionist within whose power it lay to enter every room in the block.
It was essential that she should get her hands on that key. 

My bookish mewsings:

Sometimes shorter novels fail to fill one’s appetite for a good story. That was not the case with The Master Key. Masako has a gift for taking seemingly random pieces of various stories, bringing them together, and creating an intriguing and satisfying tale. It is Postwar Tokyo. And, in a rather unusual move, city engineers are preparing to move, intact, the K Apartment House for Ladies. Readers are taken back in time throughout the novel, getting glimpses into the lives of the various women who live in the building, many of their stories connecting in unexpected ways, while always something dark seems to be hanging overhead. Every one of them has their own secrets, and it seems someone among them is uncovering them all, including the body of the baby who had been buried on the grounds seven years before. There was a strong sense of foreboding that hung over me as I read The Master Key, anticipating what I would discover next. I was thoroughly engaged in this dark and entertaining little novel.



The Shadow of the Fox (The Shadow of the Fox, #1) by Julie Kagawa
Harlequin Teen, 2018
Fantasy (YA); 416 pgs

Book Beginning:
It was raining the day Suki came to the Palace of the Sun, and it was raining the night she died. 

Friday 56 [excerpt from 56% of e-book]: 
"Tatsumi." Yumeko stepped forward, her eyes gazing worriedly at the side of my neck where the gaki had clawed it. I could feel blood from the torn flesh beginning to seep into my collar. My arm, too, was starting to drip blood on the wooden planks. "Before we do anything, we should take care of those. Do you have any medicine left?" 

My bookish mewsings

 Julie Kagawa is one of those authors I have been wanting to try for awhile now, and I am grateful to those who voted for it in my May TBR List Poll. Her home destroyed and the monks who raised her no more, Yumeko is on a quest to deliver a portion of a sacred scroll to a far off temple, whose exact whereabouts is unknown. She seeks help from Kage Tatsumi, a samurai of the Shadow Clan, whose strength and ability to slay demons will be invaluable to her along her journey. The only catch? He is on a mission to retrieve the very scroll she has, and she knows instinctively she cannot let it fall into his hands. She also hides another secret from the quiet and deadly Tatsumi. That she is half human, half kitsune.

Yumeko should seem too sweet for her own good, but, honestly, I fell for her character instantly. A bit mischievous and yet so kindhearted. She has a naivety about her, and yet she is extremely resourceful and has good instincts. I also really came to like Kage Tatsumi. He is trained to suppress his emotions and lives by a very strict code—part of which is probably for good reason. However, he finds it impossible not to want to protect Yumeko for more reasons than just the one that will lead him to the scroll (not realizing she actually has it). Along their journey, the two pick up other unexpected company. The villains in this novel made me shiver, particularly the main one. So much darkness and evil.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time reading The Shadow of the Fox. It has been awhile since I read a more traditional fantasy novel, and I especially loved that this one combined Japanese folklore and other Japanese elements into it. I hate that it ended with a cliffhanger, but I was not at all surprised. These types of books often do. I ordered the sequel right away. Then I’ll just have to wait forever for the third and final book in the trilogy to come out. I cannot wait to spend more time with Yumeko! We all need someone like her in our lives.


Do either of these books appeal to you? Or perhaps you have read them? If so, what did you think? 


© 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, August 13, 2019

Waiting to Read Wednesday: The Ten Thousand Doors of January, The Resurrectionist of Caligo, The Vanished Bride, & Sleepless in Manhattan



The Old(er) 
I have an embarrassing number of unread books sitting on the shelves in my personal library. Carole of Carole's Random Life in Books has given me the perfect excuse to spotlight and discuss those neglected books in her Books from the Backlog feature. After all, even those older books need a bit of love! Not to mention it is reminding me what great books I have waiting for me under my own roof still to read!

Sleepless in Manhattan (From Manhattan with Love #1) by Sarah Morgan (2016)
What if the person who broke your heart, is the only one who can help you find your future?
Great friends. Amazing Apartment. An incredible job. Paige has ticked off every box on perfect New York life checklist. Until disaster strikes and instead of shimming further up the career ladder, Paige is packing up her desk.
Her brother’s best friend Jake might be the only person who can help her put her life back together. He also happens to be the boy she spent her teen years pining after, and Paige is determined not repeat her past mistakes. But the more time she spends with Jake, the more Paige realises the one thing that was missing from her world all along. The perfect New York love story… [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: This has been sitting on my shelf for quite a while now. I read another of Sarah Morgan's romance novels and adored it. I couldn't wait to read more by her. Only . . . well, there it sits unread still. I do want to read it and will. The when is still a question mark.


Have you read this one or another of the author's books? What did you think? 


The New
Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by the marvelous Tressa at Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss upcoming release we are excited about that we have yet to read.


The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
Release Date: September 10, 2019 by Orbit
EVERY STORY OPENS A DOOR

In a sprawling mansion filled with exotic treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

But her quiet existence is shattered when she stumbles across a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. As each page reveals more impossible truths about the world, January discovers a story that might just be the key to unlocking the secrets of her past. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: Portal fantasy . . . a book that opens the door to many different worlds. What is not to love about that?


The Resurrectionist of Caligo by Wendy Trimboli & Alicia Zaloga
Release Date: September 10, 2019 by Angry Robot
With a murderer on the loose, it's up to an enlightened bodysnatcher and a rebellious princess to save the city, in this wonderfully inventive Victorian-tinged fantasy noir.

"Man of Science" Roger Weathersby scrapes out a risky living digging up corpses for medical schools. When he's framed for the murder of one of his cadavers, he's forced to trust in the superstitions he's always rejected: his former friend, princess Sibylla, offers to commute Roger's execution in a blood magic ritual which will bind him to her forever. With little choice, he finds himself indentured to Sibylla and propelled into an investigation. There's a murderer loose in the city of Caligo, and the duo must navigate science and sorcery, palace intrigue and dank boneyards to catch the butcher before the killings tear their whole country apart. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: The combination of mystery and fantasy with a bit of steampunk flare caught my attention immediately when I first heard about this one, landing it a spot on my wish list. 


The Vanished Bride (Brontë Sisters Mystery, A Book 1) by Bella Ellis
Release Date: September 10, 2019 by Berkley
Before they became legendary writers, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, and Anne Brontë were detectors in this charming historical mystery...

Yorkshire, 1845. A young wife and mother has gone missing from her home, leaving behind two small children and a large pool of blood. Just a few miles away, a humble parson’s daughters—the Brontë sisters—learn of the crime. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë are horrified and intrigued by the mysterious disappearance.

These three creative, energetic, and resourceful women quickly realize that they have all the skills required to make for excellent “lady detectors.” Not yet published novelists, they have well-honed imaginations and are expert readers. And, as Charlotte remarks, “detecting is reading between the lines—it’s seeing what is not there.”

As they investigate, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne are confronted with a society that believes a woman’s place is in the home, not scouring the countryside looking for clues. But nothing will stop the sisters from discovering what happened to the vanished bride, even as they find their own lives are in great peril... [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: This could go one of two ways. The last novel I read with these three authors and their brother as the protagonists fell short for me, but I am hopeful this one, more of a historical mystery, will have a better chance of winning me over. 


Do any of these books appeal to you too? What upcoming releases are you looking forward to 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.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Weekly Mews: Back to School - Almost (August's TBR List Poll Winner)

I am linking up to the Sunday Post hosted by 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 The Sunday Salon hosted by Deb Nance of Readerbuzz where participants discuss what they are reading and other bookish topics. In addition, I am linking to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Team Tynga's Reviews and Marlene of Reading Reality a meme in which participants share what new books came their way recently. 



What I Am Reading: I recently finished Katie Ruggle's Hold Your Breath, the first in her Search & Rescue romantic suspense series, and Sweep of the Blade by Ilona Andrews, the fourth book in the Innkeeper Chronicles. I enjoyed both quite a bit. I am about to dive into this month's TBR List winner (thanks again to all those who voted!).


What I Am Listening To: I did not get in any listening time this past week, unfortunately.

What I Am Watching:  As a last splurge before school starts up this next week, Mouse and I went to see the live action version of Aladdin in the theater for the second time--I think it was even better the second time around. We also took in Dora and the Lost City of Gold. Mouse loved it. I was pleasantly surprised. It was a bit cheesy in spots, which I expected (did they really need to include Swiper?), but I enjoyed it, particularly the nods to the original cartoon series. Of course, having recently sat through a couple different versions of the Power Rangers (my daughter's current favorite), the bar may have been low going into it.

Beverly Hills, 90210 was a staple of my high school/college days, and so is it any wonder I wanted to check out the new BH90210 show? I was able to catch it on Hulu, and have to agree with my friends on Facebook who called the show a disaster but will most likely not be able to help tuning in next week.

Off the Blog: This was a relatively uneventful week. I attended a training for work one afternoon, and had a couple days off for vacation--seeing out the summer with my daughter. She and I saw a couple of movies, did a little back to school clothes shopping ("Mom, this is so '90's! I love it!"), and just enjoyed each other's company.


Tell me what you have been up to! How was your weekWhat are you reading, listening to and watching? 


New to My Shelves (all books purchased by me)



To Catch a Stolen Soul (Djinn Haven #1) by R.L. Naquin


To Seize a Wayward Spirit (Djinn Haven #2) by R.L. Naquin


Magick & Mayhem (An Abracadabra Mystery #1) by Sharon Pape


That Olde White Magick (An Abracadabra Mystery #2) by Sharon Pape


Have you added any new books to your shelves recently?


Every Friday Coffee Addicted Writer from Coffee Addicted Writer poses a question which participants respond on their own blogs within the week (Friday through Thursday). They then share their links at the main site and visit other participants blogs.

What authors do you always read and recommend? (submitted by Elizabeth @Silver's Reviews)

I am always discovering new-to-me authors, but there are quite a few authors I like to return to--and will often recommend to others, depending on their bookish interests and tastes. Here are just a few:

If you like action-packed fantasy set in multi-dimensions involving dragons, fae and magical librarians, Genevieve Cogman's Invisible Library series is a must read.

I have yet to read a book by husband and wife writing team Ilona Andrews that I haven't liked. Their books offer a good dose of urban fantasy with a side of romance I find irresistible. Her Innkeeper series, which is among my favorites, is a mix of science fiction and fantasy.  Seanan Mcguire is an urban fantasy author I have only recently discovered, but I highly recommend giving her a try.

One of my all-time favorite fantasy series is Anne Bishop's Other series, which I cannot recommend enough for those interested in dark fantasy. The world building in the series is amazing.

Perhaps though you prefer something of the lighter variety. A cozy mystery perhaps? Kirsten Weiss writes cozy mysteries that often contain a paranormal element. Or there's Jennifer Ashley's historical cozy mysteries, which I am always pushing on people to to read. I haven't yet tried any of her other books, but I hear her romances are good as well. Tessa Arlen is another historical cozy mystery writer I cannot recommend enough.

A name I have not seen a lot of recently is Elizabeth Haynes, which is a shame because her police procedural mysteries and thrillers are so good! She has a way with getting into the minds of her characters.

RaeAnne Thayne is one of my go to romance authors when I want something sweet with a happy ending and characters I can relate to. Melonie Johnson won me over quickly with her humor and well developed characters. Her novels are on the steamy side, for those who prefer more heat with their romance.

Lisa See is one of my favorite historical fiction authors, writing nuanced characters in complicated situations. Another historical fiction author I recommend is Yangszee Choo, whose The Ghost Bride knocked my socks off and her book The Night Tiger is an intriguing read as well. Hazel Gaynor also writes impressive historical fiction. Oh, and Sarah McCoy!

Other authors whose work I love and can highly recommend: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a brilliant author. Thrifty Umrigar's novels have brought me to tears time and time again. Nadia Hashimi novels are heartbreaking and beautiful. If you are looking for literary fiction novels that take on difficult subject matter by women of color, these are must read authors.

I have not read a lot of science fiction in recent years, although I am working on changing that. I do recommend John Scalzi or Anne Lecke though. Both are great authors whose books are worth checking out if you have not already. I have only read one book of sister writing team S.K. Dunstall, but I loved Stars Uncharted, and plan to read more by them.

Jane Austen (for the romance reader), Agatha Christie (if you like mysteries), J.R.R. Tolkien (for lovers of fantasy) come to mind when I think of authors of Classic novels to recommend. There's also Victor Hugo (for those who like delving into history and socioeconomic aspects of society) and Ursula K. Le Guin (for those who like science fiction and fantasy).

Obviously there are many more I could mention, but these are just a few that came to mind instantly.


What about you? What authors are you always reading that you would recommend?


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 excited to be starting the winner of this month's TBR List Poll this afternoon. I would have been happy with any of the choices, had they won (there's a reason they are on my TBR pile, after all!), of course.


The Lost Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland received three votes to the six votes received by How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry. Coming in with the solid win with thirteen votes, however, was Abbi Waxman's The Bookish Life of Nina Hill. I cannot wait to dive in!

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.

Friday, August 02, 2019

Weekly Mews: Welcome to August & My Thoughts on Unraveling & Broken Girls - Plus My August TBR Poll

I am linking up to the Sunday Post hosted by 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 The Sunday Salon hosted by Deb Nance of Readerbuzz where participants discuss what they are reading and other bookish topics. In addition, I am linking to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Team Tynga's Reviews and Marlene of Reading Reality a meme in which participants share what new books came their way recently. 

I was deeply saddened by the news that we have lost one of our own here in the blogging community. Grace of Rebel Mommy Book Blog lost her fight with cancer this past week. Although I never met Grace in person, I did know her through our blogs. If you knew her and are interested in sharing your memories or condolences with her family, please visit the Rebele's Kudoboard. Grace was a bright light in our community and she is very much missed.

This past weekend was the big show. My husband's ballet debut in Don Quixote and my daughter taking the stage in the musical The Greatest Showman, along with a couple of showcase dance performances. I had only caught bits and pieces during the rehearsals, and given all the obstacles thrown in the musical's way, I was in awe of how well everything came together. I was able to watch the performances Saturday night, and was working backstage for Sunday's performances. I am so very proud of the kids. They worked hard for this and it showed. My husband was pretty amazing in his role as well. Who would have thought he'd feel so at home on stage? It always feels a little bittersweet after a show comes to an end. Relief to have it behind us, but also a bit of sadness as well. Mouse has a three week break before the new dance season starts up. She's already talking about this coming Winter's Nutcracker ballet production . . .

Mouse and I spent Friday at the pool with friends. It was nice to relax a bit with no deadlines or anywhere else to be. The start of school is still a week away, but I am sure the time will go fast.

Tell me what you have been up to! 

Be sure and vote in my TBR List Poll this week, and help me decide what to read next! You can find the poll at the bottom of this post. Thank you!


What I Am Watching: Mouse was excited to see the new season of The Worst Witch had come out on Netflix. And I was too, if I am honest. It is a cute little show. I have not been watching much else as of late.

What I Am Listening To: Not much listening was done this past week either, I was hoping I would be able to fit in more of Marie Lu's Warcross, but no such luck. I am at a very tense part right now too--and so am anxious to find a decent chunk of time to find out what happens next!

What I Am Reading: This past week I finished reading Vox by Christina Dalcher, my July TBR List Poll Winner (thank you again to all who voted!). It was a disturbing and entertaining read.  I hope to make time to write up my review soon.

It took me awhile to settle on my next book to read. I was thinking something light after two heavier reads, but struggled over the direction to go. Does anyone else find themselves sometimes wasting time trying to decide what to read next? It's a good problem to have, don't get me wrong. Sometimes I think having so many choices at my finger tips is part of the problem. I finally did pick a book though, and am now reading Sweep of the Blade by Ilona Andrews. It is the fourth book in a series I have come to love.


What are you reading, listening to and watching? 



Unraveling by Karen Lord
DAW Books, 2019
Fantasy; 304 pgs
A chorus of tree frogs trilled in the damp, velvet darkness, wide awake and relentless as they spoke their authority over the nocturnal world. [Opening of Unraveling]
Karen Lord’s Unraveling appealed to me both as a fantasy novel and as a mystery. Dr. Miranda Ecouvo is a forensic therapist of the City. She recently helped put a serial killer away, however, as she is about to find out, the situation may be much more complicated than that. Drawn into an otherworld through a near death experience, she is met by brothers Chance and Trickster. The more question they ask, the more memory threads she is asked to follow and the more labyrinths they have her walk, she begins to see a bigger, darker picture.

I wanted to like this one more. The premise is fascinating, but I found myself lost (disoriented even) a few times, especially in the beginning. I never really connected with any of the characters, feeling more like an observer. I cared enough to want to see how everything played out, especially for Miranda, however, so there was that. And I wanted to know more about Chance and Trickster. I found their backstory—creation—if you will, interesting. As well as Chance’s role in everything that took place in the novel. By the end, I had mixed feelings about the book. This was advertised as a standalone. I had not realized there were previous books set in the same world. Unlike romance and many mysteries series books, I find it harder to jump into a fantasy world without having read the earlier books, series or not. Would that have made a difference? I do not know. Unfortunately, my mixed feelings about this book do not have me eager to give an earlier book a try any time soon.


Broken Girls by Simone St. James
Berkley, 2018
Fiction (Historical); 336 pgs
The sun vanished below the horizon as the girl crested the rise of Old Barrons Road. [Opening of Broken Girls] 
 Journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot let go of the past, particularly that of the murder of her older sister twenty years ago. The man accused of her murder was tried and convicted, and yet something still doesn’t sit right with her. She is drawn to the site where her sister was believed to have died, the old run-down Idlewild Hall, once a boarding school for wayward girls. When Fiona learns the school is being restored by an unknown benefactor, she sets out to learn what she can about the old school and the new owner's plan for it. In a novel that takes readers from 2014 present day Vermont to 1950 Vermont, the readers not only are immersed in Fiona’s tale, but also that of four troubled roommates, who form a strong friendship, only to have one of them suddenly disappear.

Simone St. James has written such an atmospheric novel, weaving history, mystery, ghosts, and even a dash of romance together into one of the most compelling novels I have read this year. Barrens, Vermont, and particularly Idlewild Hall took on character dimensions, both when the school was whole and when in ruin. Both the past and contemporary story lines had a tight hold on me as I read, from Fiona’s struggle with her own demons to the heartbreaking situations of the four roommates. The author successfully kept the suspense building as the story unfolded, answering all my questions in the end.


New to My Shelves


Gwynneth Ever After (Ever After, #1) by Linda Poitevin (picked up free on Amazon)


Sweep of the Blade (Innkeeper Chronicles #4) by Ilona Andrews (purchased)


Have you added any new books to your shelves recently?


Every Friday Coffee Addicted Writer from Coffee Addicted Writer poses a question which participants respond on their own blogs within the week (Friday through Thursday). They then share their links at the main site and visit other participants blogs.
Do you own more than one copy of a book? (submitted by Billy @Coffee Addicted Writer)

I do. Just do not ask me which ones. Seriously though, there have been times I purchased e-copies of physical books I already own. Mostly for ease of reading. The print in my paperback copy of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, was just too small, not to mention it's a rather thick book. Likewise, my hardback copy of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy is too heavy and big to carry around and read.  It definitely wouldn't fit in my purse. Having an e-copy to read made it so much easier--and frankly, possible for me to get through. Then there are the physical copies I have bought after having read the e-copy--simply because I loved the book so much, I must have a copy I can hold in my hands.

There are also a few books my husband and I have in both paperback and hardback. The Princess Bride by William Goldman, for example. The paperback is the version we read, and the hardcover is more of a collector's edition. And then there are a couple of books which both my husband and I came into our marriage with copies of--and neither one of us could part with our personal copies.

Oh, and I cannot forget about the duplicates I have of audiobooks and physical copies! In most cases it is because I decided I wanted to listen to the books the second time around. I do have one I listened to first though and was gifted the hardcover copy, which I hope to one day read.

What about you? Do you own more than one copy of a book?


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). 




With summer winding down and the busy-ness of the season behind us, I thought it would be a good time to pick up something fun and on the lighter side. Have you read any of these titles? Which one do you think I should read this month?


The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They're all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She'll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It's a disaster! And as if that wasn't enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn't he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.

1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)
It's time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn't convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It's going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page. [Goodreads Summary]

The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland
The Lost for Words Bookshop is a compelling, irresistible, and heart-rending novel, perfect for fans of The Storied Life of AJ Fikry and The Little Paris Bookshop.

Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are some things Loveday will never, ever show you.

Into her hiding place - the bookstore where she works - come a poet, a lover, and three suspicious deliveries.

Someone has found out about her mysterious past. Will Loveday survive her own heartbreaking secrets? [Goodreads Summary]


How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry
The enchanting story of a bookshop, its grieving owner, a supportive literary community, and the extraordinary power of books to heal the heart

Nightingale Books, nestled on the main street in an idyllic little village, is a dream come true for book lovers--a cozy haven and welcoming getaway for the literary-minded locals. But owner Emilia Nightingale is struggling to keep the shop open after her beloved father's death, and the temptation to sell is getting stronger. The property developers are circling, yet Emilia's loyal customers have become like family, and she can't imagine breaking the promise she made to her father to keep the store alive.

There's Sarah, owner of the stately Peasebrook Manor, who has used the bookshop as an escape in the past few years, but it now seems there's a very specific reason for all those frequent visits. Next is roguish Jackson, who, after making a complete mess of his marriage, now looks to Emilia for advice on books for the son he misses so much. And the forever shy Thomasina, who runs a pop-up restaurant for two in her tiny cottage--she has a crush on a man she met in the cookbook section, but can hardly dream of working up the courage to admit her true feelings.

Enter the world of Nightingale Books for a serving of romance, long-held secrets, and unexpected hopes for the future--and not just within the pages on the shelves. How to Find Love in a Bookshop is the delightful story of Emilia, the unforgettable cast of customers whose lives she has touched, and the books they all cherish. [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, July 16, 2019

Waiting to Read Wednesday: A Natural History of Dragons, A Killer Edition, Careful What You Wish For, & The Ventriloquists



The Old(er) 
I have an embarrassing number of unread books sitting on the shelves in my personal library. Carole of Carole's Random Life in Books has given me the perfect excuse to spotlight and discuss those neglected books in her Books from the Backlog feature. After all, even those older books need a bit of love! Not to mention it is reminding me what great books I have waiting for me under my own roof still to read!

A Natural History of Dragons (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #1) by Marie Brennan (2013)

Marie Brennan begins a thrilling new fantasy series in A Natural History of Dragons, combining adventure with the inquisitive spirit of the Victorian Age.

You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon's presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one's life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . .

All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world's preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.

Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: Why because it features dragons! And because I have heard wonderful things about this series.

Have you read this one? What did you think? If not, does it sound like something you would like? 


The New
Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by the marvelous Tressa at Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss upcoming release we are excited about that we have yet to read. And this week's selections definitely fit that bill!


A Killer Edition (Booktown Mystery, #13) by Lorna Barrett
Release Date: August 13, 2019 by Berkley
Murder's in the mix for mystery bookstore owner and amateur sleuth Tricia Miles, in the latest entry to Lorna Barret's New York Times bestselling Booktown series.

With her assistant, Pixie, picking up more responsibility around the shop, Tricia Miles suddenly has a lot more time on her hands. Tricia decides to join the local animal-rescue board and enter the Great Stoneham Bake-Off, but neither pans out as smoothly as she’d hoped.

Balancing a bake-off that’s heating up with a frosty reception from the board, Tricia stops by Joyce Whitman’s romance bookstore looking for a book to get her fired up. She stumbles on something hot, but it’s an argument between Joyce and her neighbor Vera Osborn instead of a steamy read. When Vera turns up dead in Joyce’s garden hours later, Tricia has to wonder—could Joyce be the killer? Or is the culprit still lurking in town?

One thing is for sure, someone in Stoneham is stirring up something more sinister than sweet. Tricia is determined to win the cutthroat cooking contest, but first she will have to make sure no one else is in danger of getting burned... [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: I have long wanted to give this series a try. Imagine a town full of bookstores?! I have heard good things about this cozy series, and look forward to giving it a try.


Careful What You Wish For by Hallie Ephron
Release Date: August 6, 2019 by William Morrow
From the New York Times bestselling author of There Was an Old Woman comes a novel about a professional organizer with a deadly problem she may not be able to clean up.

Emily Harlow is a professional organizer who helps people declutter their lives; she’s married to man who can’t drive past a yard sale without stopping. He’s filled their basement, attic, and garage with his finds.

Like other professionals who make a living decluttering peoples’ lives, Emily has devised a set of ironclad rules. When working with couples, she makes clear that the client is only allowed to declutter his or her own stuff. That stipulation has kept Emily’s own marriage together these past few years. She’d love nothing better than to toss out all her husband’s crap. He says he’s a collector. Emily knows better—he’s a hoarder. The larger his “collection” becomes, the deeper the distance grows between Emily and the man she married.

Luckily, Emily’s got two new clients to distract herself: an elderly widow whose husband left behind a storage unit she didn’t know existed, and a young wife whose husband won’t allow her stuff into their house. Emily’s initial meeting with the young wife takes a detour when, after too much wine, the women end up fantasizing about how much more pleasant life would be without their collecting spouses.

But the next day Emily finds herself in a mess that might be too big for her to clean up. Careful what you wish for, the old adage says . . . now Emily might lose her freedom, her marriage . . . and possibly her life.  [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: Doesn't this sound intriguing? With the current trend in decluttering, this sounds like a great set-up for a thriller, especially with the protagonist and her husband being such opposites.


The Ventriloquists by E.R. Ramzipoor
Release Date: August 27, 2019 by Park Row
In this triumphant debut inspired by true events, a ragtag gang of journalists and resistance fighters risk everything for an elaborate scheme to undermine the Reich.

Brussels, 1943. Twelve-year-old street orphan Helene survives by living as a boy and selling copies of the country’s most popular newspaper, Le Soir, now turned into Nazi propaganda. Helene’s entire world changes when she befriends a rogue journalist, Marc Aubrion, who draws her into a secret network publishing dissident underground newspapers.

Aubrion’s unbridled creativity and linguistic genius attract the attention of August Wolff, a high-ranking Nazi official tasked with swaying public opinion against the Allies. Wolff captures Aubrion and his comrades and gives them an impossible choice: use the newspaper to paint the Allies as monsters, or be killed. Faced with no decision at all, Aubrion has a brilliant idea: they will pretend to do the Nazis’ bidding, but instead they will publish a fake edition of Le Soir that pokes fun at Hitler and Stalin—giving power back to the Belgians by daring to laugh in the face of their oppressors.

The ventriloquists have agreed to die for a joke, and they have only eighteen days to tell it.

Told with dazzling scope, taut prose and devastating emotion, The Ventriloquists illuminates the extraordinary acts of courage by ordinary people forgotten by history—unlikely heroes who went to extreme lengths to orchestrate the most stunning feat of journalism in modern history.  [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: This one had me at "ragtag gang of journalists and resistance fighters."  Based on true events I am not too familiar with, I am eager to read this World War II novel.


Do any of these books appeal to you? What upcoming books are you looking forward to?


© 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, July 13, 2019

Weekly Mews: What I Have Been Reading, What I am Reading Now & What I Will Be Reading Next

I am linking up to the Sunday Post hosted by 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 The Sunday Salon hosted by Deb Nance of Readerbuzz where participants discuss what they are reading and other bookish topics. In addition, I am linking to Stacking the Shelves hosted by 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 Kathryn of The Book Date It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? where readers share what they have been reading throughout the week.

 I had every intention of posting Friday night, but we ended up going out with friends for dinner after dance classes, and Saturday was a full day with dress rehearsals for both The Greatest Showman and Don Quixote. This is the first chance I have had to get on the computer (and put my feet up!). We will likely be running a couple errands Sunday to make sure we have everything we need for the performance weekend. We are in countdown mode now.

My husband and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary this past week. It was a quiet affair. And work has been uneventful for the most part--always a plus! The best part is the air conditioning vent near my desk at work has finally been fixed and is blowing cold air instead of hot air. Just in time for the triple digit temperatures we are enjoying.

Tell me what you have been up to! 


What I Am Watching: I did not watch much of anything this past week, other than a couple more episodes of Legacies on Netflix. There are a couple of movies out in the theater I know we want to see, but I am not sure we will be able to swing it with our current schedules.


What I Am Listening To: I am still in the same place I was last week in Marie Lu's Warcross. It was just not a week for listening, I am afraid.  I am hoping I can sneak in some listening time soon though. I want to get back to the story!


What I Am Reading: I have made progress in The Gossamer Mage by Julie E. Czerneda. It got off to a slow start, but I am enjoying it more now. Mouse and I recently read another A to Z Mystery by Ron Roy, The Vampire's Vacation, which was cute.


What are you reading, listening to and watching? 



Along with my mini reviews, I am linking to both Book Beginnings, a meme in which readers share the first sentence of a book they are reading, hosted by Gillion Dumas of Rose City Reader and Friday 56 hosted by Freda of Freda's Voice, in which readers share a random sentence or two from page 56 or 56% of the book they are reading.


The Book Supremacy (Bibliophile Mystery #13) 
by Kate Carlisle
Berkley, 2019
Crime Fiction/Cozy; 288 pgs
It was our last day in Paris. [Opening of The Book Supremacy]

"It's so not fair," I muttered, closing the book and carrying it up to the checkout counter. "All she wanted to do was meet a nice guy." Instead she met the hypnotist-cyber-date serial killer. 
ho didn't love a good hypno-cuber-date serial killer thriller? [excerpt from 56%]

This is the first book I have read in Kate Carlisle’s Brooklyn Wainwright, book restoration expert, cozy mystery series, but the 13th in the series. Talk about jumping in late! Even so, I had no problem picking up with this book, and, in fact, enjoyed every second of the novel. Why I haven’t I gotten around to reading this series sooner?!

After her honeymoon in Paris, where she finds the perfect rare book for her new husband, Derek, the happy couple returns home. Derek isn’t quite able to settle in at home the way he would like to. Things at the office have reached a boiling point. Meanwhile, Derek is reunited with an old colleague from his spy days. Set in one of my favorite cities, San Francisco, add in escape rooms, and a murder--all ingredients making this one cozy mystery I was sure to love. The mystery itself took a while to get off the ground, but I did not mind given I had some catching up to do with the character’s background. It was all very relevant and interesting for the buildup of what was to come. Both Derek and Brooklyn are likeable characters. This novel almost has me convinced I should give the whole escape room experience a try—but the jury is still out on it. A bit of humor, mixed in with action, romance and mystery, The Book Supremacy was a real hit for me.


The Night Tiger by by Yangsze Choo
Flatiron Press, 2019
Fiction (Historical); 384 pgs
The old man is dying. [Opening of The Night Tiger]

This is becoming a terrible evening for William. He swallows, reminding himself that he hasn't committed a crime.  [excerpt from 56%]
Set in 1930’s Malaysia, The Night Tiger is about a boy on a mission to find a lost finger for his former employer, and the young woman moonlighting as a dancehall girl to pay off her mother’s debts who pickpockets one off a customer. What comes next is a beautiful and at times heartbreaking story as the reader follows the characters over the next 49 days. Steeped in Chinese folklore and history, The Night Tiger is a mystery with a dash of romance and a hint of the supernatural. I adored Ji Lin and Ren, two of the main characters, who stole my heart from the first. There is so much to love about The Night Tiger, from its depth of character, it’s natural tie-in of the historical and political climate of the times as well as cultural superstitions and traditions, and the twists and turns the author took the various threads of the story. Yangsze Choo has proven again what an amazing author she is.


New to My Shelves (all books purchased by me)

My local independent bookstore was donating 10% of their purchases this past holiday weekend to RAICES, as if I need another excuse to buy books. My daughter found two books she wanted as well.

Salvation of A Saint by Keigo Higashino
All Systems Red by Martha Wells

Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So Fabulous Life by Rachel Renee Russell
Who Was Rosa Parks? 

Have you added any new books to your shelves recently?


Every Friday Coffee Addicted Writer from Coffee Addicted Writer poses a question which participants respond on their own blogs within the week (Friday through Thursday). They then share their links at the main site and visit other participants blogs.

What do you like/dislike about self-published works? (submitted by Nicki @Nicki J. Markus/Asta Idonea)

Self-published books have a reputation of being poorly edited and sometimes the authors are a bit more pushy or even rude when it comes to getting reviews. Both of which I have experienced at one time or another. That said, I have read a few self-published books that have been very good, and so I am not as quick to judge a book based on how it was published as I might have once been. And most of the self-published authors I have worked with have been very nice and professional. In reality, there are poorly edited traditionally published books out there as well, and not all of traditionally published author's are reader friendly. Self-publishing has opened many doors for authors, whether new or veteran authors who want to do or try something different, and also for readers as well, particularly in providing a more diverse range.

What about you? 


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). 




Nic Stone's Dear Martin made a decent showing with 10 votes (37%), but ultimately Vox by Christina Dalcher came out on top by stealing the majority (55.6% - 15 votes). Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan only came away with 2 votes. Thank you again to everyone who voted! I am eager to read Vox this month.


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

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

This is just the beginning.

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

But this is not the end.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice. 
[Goodreads Summary]

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.