Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Books Read in 2019

[Books Read In 2019]

Huber, Anna Lee - This Side of Murder (Verity Kent, #1) (2017) - Crime Fiction/Historical
Roy, Ron - April Fools' Fiasco (A to Z Mysteries, #9) (2017) - Crime Fiction/Middle Grade
Jenoff, Pam - The Lost Girls of Paris (2019) - Fiction/Historical
McDonald, Megan - Judy Moody Girl Detective (Judy Moody, #9) (2010) - Fiction/Middle Grade

Cogman, Genevieve - The Mortal Word (Invisible Library, #5) (2018) - Fantasy
Roy, Ron - Sleepy Hollow Sleepover (A to Z Mysteries, #4) (2010) - Crime Fiction/Middle Grade
Ward, Annie - Beautiful Bad (2019) - Crime Fiction/Thriller
Dunstall, S.K. - Stars Uncharted (2018) - Science Fiction
McDonald, Megan & Peter Reynolds- Judy Moody and the Right Royal Tea Party (Judy Moody, #14) (2018) - Fiction/Middle Grade
Frith, Margaret & illustrated by Tomie dePaola - Frida Kahlo: The Artist Who Painted Herself (2003) - Nonfiction/Children's
Fabiny, Sarah & illustrated by Jerry Hoare - Who Was Frida Kahlo? (2013) -Nonfiction/Children's
Johnson, Melonie - Getting Hot With a Scot (Sometimes in Love, #1) (2019) - Romance

Roy, Ron - A Spy in the White House (Capital Mysteries, #4) (2009) - Crime Fiction/Middle Grade
Bouchet, Amanda - Nightchaser (Endeavor, #1) (2019) - Fantasy/Romance
Miller, Pat Zietlow & Eliza Wheeler - You Are Brave (2019) - Fiction/Children's
Aki (Mach, Delphine) - The Nature Girls (2019) - Fiction/Children's
Coyle, Carmela Vigna & Theresa Howell - Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? (2003) - Fiction/Children's
Higgins, Ryan T. - We Don't Eat Our Classmates (2018) - Fantasy/Children's
Smith, Nikkolas - The Golden Girls of Rio (2016) - Nonfiction/Children's
St. James, Simone - Broken Girls  (2018) - Fiction/Thriller/Historical

McDonald, Megan & Peter Reynolds- Judy Moody Predicts the Future (Judy Moody, #4) (2003) - Fiction/Middle Grade
Choo, Yangsze - The Night Tiger  (2019) - Fiction/Historical
McDonald, Megan & Peter Reynolds- Judy Moody Gets Famous! (Judy Moody, #2) (2001) - Fiction/Middle Grade
Meltzer, Brad, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos - I Am Jackie Robinson (2015) - Nonfiction.Children's
Blume, Judy - Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing (Fudge, #1) (1972) - Fiction/Middle Grade
Lord, Karen - Unraveling (2019) - Fantasy
Hale, Shannon & Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham - The Princess in Black (Princess in Black, #1) (2015) - Fantasy/Children's
Bruel, Nick - A Bad Kitty Christmas (2011) - Fiction/Children's
Carlisle, Kate - The Book Supremacy (Bibliophile Mystery #13) (2019) - Crime Fiction/Cozy
Rothmann, Peggy - Officer Kuckle and Gloria (1995) - Fiction/Children's

Togawa, Masako - The Master Key (2019) - Crime Fiction
Lee, Jing-Jing - How We Disappeared (2019) - Fiction/Historical
Roy, Ron - Grand Canyon Grab (A to Z Mysteries, #11) (20019) - Crime Fiction/Middle Grade

Kagawa, Julie - Shadow of the Fox (#1) (2018) - Fantasy/YA
Derr, Megan - The Lady and the Thief (2018) - Romance/Historical/Crime Fiction
McGuire, Seanan- Rosemary and Rue (October Daye, #1) (2009) - Romance
Johnson, Melonie - Smitten by the Brit (Sometimes in Love, #2) (2019) - Romance
Ashley, Jennifer - Death in Kew Gardens (Kate Holloway, #3) (2019) - Crime Fiction/Historical/Cozy
Stone, Victoria Helen - False Step (2019) - Crime Fiction/Thriller
Ware, Ruth - Turn of the Key  (2019) - Crime Fiction/Thriller
Ruggle, Katie - Fan the Flames (Search & Rescue, #2) (2016) - Romance/Suspense
McCarty, Monica - Off the Grid (Lost Platoon, #2)  (2018) - Romance/Suspense

Roy, Ron - The Vampire's Vacation (A to Z Mysteries, #22) (2004) - Crime Fiction/Middle Grade
McCarty, Monica - Out of Time (Lost Platoon, #3)  (2018) - Romance/Suspense
Roy, Ron - The School Skeleton (A to Z Mysteries, #19) (2003) - Crime Fiction/Middle Grade
Czerneda, Julie E. - The Gossamer Mage  (2019) - Fantasy
Dalcher, Christina - Vox (2019) - Science Fiction

Ruggle, Katie - Hold Your Breath (Search & Rescue, #1) (2016) - Romance/Suspense
Andrews, Ilona - Sweep of the Blade (Innkeeper Chronicles, #4) (2019) - Fantasy/Romance
Ruggle, Katie - On His Watch (Search & Rescue, #0.5) (2016) - Romance/Suspense
Hale, Shannon and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham - The Princess in Black and the Science Fair Scare (The Princess in Black #6) (2018) - Fantasy/Children's
Waxman, Abbi - The Bookish Life of Nina Hill (2019) - Fiction/Romance
LaManna, Gina- Pretty Guilty Women (2019) - Crime Fiction/Thriller
Lu, Marie - Warcross (Warcross, #1) (2017) - Science Fiction/YA

Montag, Kassandra - After the Flood (2019) - Science Fiction
Spires, Ashley - The Most Magnificent Thing (2014) - Fiction/Children's
Sanna, Francesca - The Journey (2016) - Fiction/Children's
Seuss, Dr. - The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories (2011) - Fiction/Children's
Pettersson, Vicki - The Taken (2012) - Crime Fiction/Fantasy/Romance
DeLuca, Jen - Well Met (2019) - Romance
Barrows, Annie & Sophie Blackall - Ivy + Bean (#1) (2006) - Fiction/Middle Grade
Henry, Christina - The Girl in Red (2019) - Fiction/Fantasy
Kann, Victoria - Goldilicious (2009) - Fiction/Children's
dePaola, Tomie - Merry Christmas, Strega Nona (1986) - Fiction/Children's
Harrow, Alix E. - The Ten Thousand Doors of January (2019) - Fantasy/Historical

Pressey, Rose - Murder Can Mess Up Your Masterpiece (2019) - Crime Fiction/Cozy/Paranormal
Kann, Vicotria - Silverlicious (2010) - Fiction/Children's
Cooper, Helen - Pumpkin Soup (1998) - Fantasy/Children's
Bemelmans, Ludwig - Madeline (1939) - Fiction/Children's
Fox, Mem & Julie Vivas - Possum Magic (1991) - Fantasy/Children's
Williams, Vera B. - A Chair For My Mother (1982) - Fiction/Children's
Levine, Ellen & Kadir Nelson - Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad (2007) - Nonfiction/Children's
Barrows, Annie & Sophie Blackall - Ivy + Bean and the Ghost That had to Go (#2) (2006) - Fiction/Middle Grade
Dempsey, Kristy & Christopher Denise - Me With You (2009) - Fiction/Children's
Neill, Chloe - Wild Hunger (Heirs of Chicagoland, #1) (2018) - Fantasy
Brook, Allison - Death Overdue (Haunted Library, #1) (2017) - Crime Fiction/Cozy/Paranormal
Brook, Allison - Read and Gone (Haunted Library, #2) (2018) - Crime Fiction/Cozy/Paranormal
Parish, Herman & Lynn Avril - Amelia Bedelia Tries Her Luck (2013) - Fiction/Middle Grade
Barrows, Annie & Sophie Blackall - Ivy + Bean Break the Fossil Record (#3) (2007) - Fiction/Middle Grade
Meltzer, Brad - I Am Amelia Earhart (2014) - Nonfiction/Children's
Brook, Allison - Buried in the Stacks (Haunted Library, #3) (2019) - Crime Fiction/Cozy/Paranormal
Neill, Chloe - Wicked Hour (Heirs of Chicagoland, #2) (2019) - Fantasy
Donaldson, Julia & Axel Scheffler - Room on the Broom (2001) - Fantasy/Children's
Thayne, RaeAnne - Coming Home for Christmas (Haven Point, #10) (2019) - Romance/Holiday
Thomas, Jodi - One Wish (2019) - Romance/Historical/Holiday

McKinlay, Jenn - The Christmas Keeper (Happily Ever After, #2)  (2019) - Romance/Holiday
Morgan, Sarah - A Wedding in December (2019) - Romance/Holiday
Barrows, Annie & Sophie Blackall - Ivy + Bean Take Care of the Babysitter (#4) (2008) - Fiction/Middle Grade
Esbaum, Jill - Nighttime (2015) - Nonfiction/Children's
Bright, Rachel & Debi Gliori - Side by Side (2015) - Fantasy/Children's
McPhail, David - Santa's Book of Names (1997) - Fantasy/Children's
Bloom, Becky & Pascal Biet - Wolf! (1998) - Fantasy/Children's

Soontornvat, Christina & Barbara Szepesi Szucs - Snow Place Like Home (Diary of an Ice Princess, #1) (2019) - Fantasy/Middle Grade
Barrows, Annie & Sophie Blackall - Ivy + Bean Bound to Be Bad (#5) (2009) - Fiction/Middle Grade
Drimmer, Stephanie Warren - Night Sky (2017) - Nonfiction/Children's
Lovell, Patty & David Catrow - Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon (1994) - Fiction/Children's
Gaynor, Hazel - The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter (2018) - Fiction/Historical
Lindgren, Astrid - Pippi Goes on Board (Pippi Longstockings, #1) (1946) - Fiction/Middle Grade
Johnson, Melonie - Once Upon a Bad Boy (Sometimes in Love, #3) (2019) - Romance

© 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.

Last Sentences of 2019 (Spoiler Alert)


Below you will find the last sentences of the books I read in 2019. Sometimes the last sentence in the book can be the most powerful as it brings the book's journey to a close. I started keeping track of the final sentences of each book I read as an experiment to see if, at the end of the year or even years later, that last sentence would bring the feelings back again I had when I first finished each book. And it does! I enjoy looking back on these last words in the books I read as I reflect on the year's reading. It may mean nothing to anyone but me--but, then, I really only keep track for me.  Please be aware they may contain spoilers. 


I laughed and set about proving how very troublesome I was, indeed. ~ This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber

"I would never play an April Fool's tick on April second!" April Fools' Fiasco by Ron Roy

She crossed the avenue toward Grand Central, unencumbered and unafraid, and started through the doors of the station, headed for the life that awaited her. Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

"Just Moody, Girl Detective," she said, grinning from ear to ear.Judy Moody Girl Detective by Megan McDonald

"But . . . I think I'm looking forward to it." ~ The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman

Mr. Duncan pulled onto the highway and headed for home. ~ Sleepy Hollow Sleepover by Ron Roy

We're fine. ~ Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

"Boy, I love doing that," President Zachary Thornton said to himself. ~ White House White-Out by Ron Roy

Nika looked foward to it. Stars Uncharted by S.K. Dunstall

Fit for a queen! Judy Moody and the Right Royal Tea Party by Megan McDonald

I say VIVA LA FRIDA! ~ Frida Kahlo: The Artist Who Painted Herself by Margaret Frith

Many people feel that Frida's suffering and art symbolized Mexico's struggle to find its own identify as a country. ~ Who Was Frida Kahlo? by Sarah Fabiny

Sometimes, real life was even better. Getting Hot With a Scot by Melonie Johnson

Then he ran out of the rose garden as fast as his legs would carry him.  ~ A Spy in the White House by Ron Roy

I figured we'd find out soon, because I was about to light the fuse on enough explosives to blow the galaxy apart.Nightchaser by Amanda Bouchet

And silence. ~ Broken Girls by Simone St. James

And there was one more thing Judy did know for sure and absolute positive--there would be many ore moods. ~ Judy Moody Predicts the Future by Megan McDonald

"I think you'll like it there." The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

Wouldn't Elizabeth Blackwell, First Woman Doctor, be proud! ~ Judy Moody Gets Famous! by Megan McDonald

It's the only way the world ever gets changed: Together. I Am Jackie Robinson by Brad Meltzer

I named him Turtle . . . to remind me. Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

"To us." Unraveling by Karen Lord

But that would remain her secret. The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

Merry Christmas to all . . . and to all a good night. A Bad Kitty Christmas by Nick Bruel

"Even if they're scary."The Book Supremacy by Kate Carlisle

"Always stick with your buddy!"~ Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann

Major Kraft looked up, and saw George's school teacher leading his son towards him by the scruff of his neck. ~ The Master Key by Masako Togawa

He took his time, and when he looked up, he was sure. ~ How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee

"No way, Ray."Grand Canyon Grab by Ron Roy

Then it rose into the air and flew quickly out the door, following the beautiful man down the veranda, and both vanished into the night. Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

"Lead the way, darling."The Lady and the Thief by Megan Derr

I have time. ~ Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

"I have everything I need," she said, pulling her dashing duke closer, "right here." ~ Smitten by the Brit by Melonie Johnson

"Thank you, Mrs. Redfern."Death in Kew Gardens by Jennifer Ashley

But someday . . . someday Sydney would. ~ False Step by Victoria Helen Stone

we are going away tomorrow to a new house daddy can't come right now but I hope you can I love you please come back soon love Ellie age 5 goodbye ~ Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Baxter Price was gone. ~ Fan the Flames by Katie Ruggle

And she'd never been happier in her life. ~ Off the Grid by Monica McCarty

Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose slipped the fangs into their mouths just as the movie started. The Vampire's Vacation by Ron Roy

She laughed at the use of the favorite SEAL saying, looking forward to the next seventy years or so of Mr. Take Charge SEAL Commander realizing that she played to win, too.Out of Time by Monica McCarty

"Even me?" the skeleton asked.The School Skeleton by Ron Roy

"Don't be so sure."The Gossamer Mage by Julie E. Czerneda

They talk with their hands and their bodies and their souls, and they sing. Vox by Christina Dalcher

"We've got a problem." Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle

"He says he is your brother." ~ Sweep of the Blade by Ilona Andrews

Smiling, she took another step toward home. ~ On His Watch by Katie Ruggle

And secret names. The Princess in Black and the Science Fair Scare by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

And once they'd finished that, they lived happily ever after. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

And she knew, in her heart, she never would. ~ Pretty Guilty Women by Gina LaManna

Then we continue to stand there, unmoving, looking, out at the electric glitter of Tokyo, my boots pointed away from the house and toward the city, my heart suspended somewhere between one choice and another, unsure where to go next. ~ Warcross by Marie Lu

It sounded like they were singing. After the Flood by Kassandra Montag

It really is THE MOST MAGNIFICENT THING. The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

A home where we can be safe and begin our story again. The Journey by Francesca Sanna

But now . . . well, right now when I'm still sort of small,
The best job is dreaming, with no work at all." 
The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories by Dr. Seuss

It did.The Taken by Vicki Pettersson

The back room wasn't as sexy as the classics section, but I soon descovered it would do in a pinch. Well Met by Jen DeLuca

"And the day after that," she said. ~ Ivy + Bean by Annie Barrows & Sophie Blackall

Red knocked on the door. ~ The Girl in Red by Christina Henry

"See you tomorrow, Mommy and Daddy said kissing us both goodnight. ~ Goldilicious by Victoria Kann

"Christmas has a magic of its own." ~ Merry Christmas, Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola

She steps through it, and is gone. ~ The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

"I have a lot to tell you." ~ Murder Can Mess Up Your Masterpiece by Rose Pressey

From now on I am always going to be as sweet as my sweet tooth. ~ Silverlicious by Victoria Kann

Until the Duck said . . . "I think I'll play the bagpipes now." ~ Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper

And she turned on the light - 
and closed the door -
and that's all there is - 
there isn't any more. 
~ Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

And she did. ~ Possum Magic by Mem Fox & Julie Vivas

After supper, I sit with her and she can reach right up and turn out the light if I fall asleep in her lap. A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams

Everyone called him Henry "BOX" Brown. Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine & Kadir Nelson

A really great day, thought Bean.Ivy + Bean and the Ghost That Had to Go by Annie Barrows & Sophie Blackall

And though I'll find new ways of being me my whole life through, my favorite me will always be . . . when I am me with you. ~ Me With You by Kristy Dempsey and Christopher Denise

And by his reckoning, his son was moving closer to that particular goal. ~ Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill

I knew it wouldn't stay perfect--nothing ever did--but for now, I was utterly happy. ~ Death Overdue by Allison Brook

If I'd learned one thing these past few weeks, it was they wouldn't stay perfect for long. Read and Gone by Allison Brook

Amelia Bedelia felt like she was the luckiest person in the world. Amelia Bedelia Tries Her Luck by Herman Parish & Lynn Avril

"Never mind," said Bean. Ivy + Bean Break the Fossil Record by Annie Barrows & Sophie Blackall

And I hope you'll remember that the greatest flight you'll ever take, is the one no one has tried before. I Am Amelia Earhart by Brad Meltzer

"Meow," he said, agreeing with me. Buried in the Stacks by Allison Brook

"We've got a long way to go." ~ Wicked Hour by Chloe Neill

The witch tapped the broomstick and 
     whoosh! they were gone. 
~ Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

She was smiling, too, her eyes soft as she watched them, and Luke was quite certain his heart couldn't contain any more joy. ~ Coming Home for Christmas by RaeAnne Thayne

After all, she was  a Thompson now, and Thompsons keep to themselves. ~ One Wish by Jodi Thomas

Ugly sweaters and all. ~ The Christmas Keeper by Jenn McKinlay

"Christmas in Colorado." ~ A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan

"And there are still lots of hours left," said Ivy.Ivy + Bean Take Care of the Babysitter by Annie Barrows & Sophie Blackall

The moon is still around, but part of it is in Earth's shadow. Nighttime by Jill Esbaum

Yes, deep in the heart of
Wintermouse Wood,
a friend by your side
 makes life twice as good. 
~ Side by Side by Rachel Bright & Debi Gliori

And he did. ~ Santa's Book of Names by David McPhail

He was happy to have such wonderful friends. ~ Wolf! by Becky Bloom and Pascal Biet

(Okay, it was the only one, but it was still completely amazing. ~ Snow Place Like Home by Christina Soontornvat and  Barbara Szepesi Szucs

But up by the tree, Ivy and Blister rested peacefully, both pure of heart. ~ Ivy + Bean Bound to Be Bad by Annie Barrows & Sophie Blackall

When you stare at the night sky, someone might be staring back! ~ Night Sky by Stephanie Warren Drimmer

Molly Lou Melon
~ Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell & David Catrow

I am home. ~ The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter by Hazel Gaynor

After a while Pippi and the horse looked like a little speck, far away, and finally they disappeared completely. ~ Pippi Goes On Board by Astrid Lindgren

"Our own little world." ~ Once Upon a Bad Boy by Melonie Johnson

© 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.

First Sentences of 2019

Below you will find the first sentences of books I read in 2019.


They say when you are about to die your entire life passes before your eyes in a flurry of poignant images, but all I could think of, rather absurdly, was that I should have worn the blue hat.This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber

"Why does it have to rain?" Josh asked as he and his friends left the playing fields. ~ April Fools' Fiasco by Ron Roy

If not for the second worst mistake of Grace Healey's life, she never would have found the suitcase. ~ Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

It was a dark and stormy night. ~ Judy Moody Girl Detective by Megan McDonald

My lord father,

Please forgive the haste and informality of this letter: you know my respect for you and my obedience to your will. The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman

"Starting today, I'm changing my ice cream flavor," Josh said.Sleepy Hollow Sleepover by Ron Roy

I type, "Should I see a therapist?"Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

Josh stuck out his tongue into the cold December air. White House White-Out by Ron Roy

The first thing Nika noticed about the man who buzzed the studio bell was his scar.  ~ Stars Uncharted by S.K. Dunstall

Judy Moody had been Judy, M.D. ~ Judy Moody and the Right Royal Tea Party by Megan McDonald

My name is Frieda. Frida Kahlo: The Artist Who Painted Herself by Margaret Frith

Viva la vida!Who Was Frida Kahlo? by Sarah Fabiny

Three weeks ago, Cassie Crow left Chicago armed with a naked charm bracelet and a full box of condoms. Getting Hot With a Scot by Melonie Johnson

"Come on down, George Washington." ~ A Spy in the White House by Ron Roy

I sat back in my captain's chair and breathed, slowly and deeply, letting my body adjust to traveling at a normal velocity again.Nightchaser by Amanda Bouchet

The sun vanished below the horizon as the girl crested the rise of Old Barrons Road. Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Judy Moody ate one, two, three bowls of cereal. ~ Judy Moody Predicts the Future by Megan McDonald

The old man is dying. ~ The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

Judy Moody marched into third grade on a plain old Thursday. ~ Judy Moody Gets Famous! by Megan McDonald

I am Jackie Robinson. ~ I Am Jackie Robinson by Brad Meltzer

I won Dribble at Jimmy Fargo's birthday party. ~ Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

A chorus of tree frogs trilled in the damp, velvet darkness, wide awake and relentless as they spoke their authority over the nocturnal world. ~ Unraveling by Karen Lord

Princess Magnolia was having hot chocolate and scones with Duchess Wigtower. ~ The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the city, not a creature was stirring . . . Except for Bad Kitty. ~ A Bad Kitty Christmas by Nick Bruel

It was our last day in Paris. ~ The Book Supremacy by Kate Carlisle

Officer  Buckle knew more safety tips than anyone in Napville. Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann

On that day, the snow (unusual for April) which had fallen on the night before was still half an inch deep in the morning. The Master Key by Masako Togawa

She began in the first month of the lunar year.  How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee

"Josh, what are you doing?" Dink asked. ~ Grand Canyon Grab by Ron Roy

It was raining the day Suki came to the Palace of the Sun, and it was raining the night she died. ~ Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

"Lisette!" Adeline hissed, and when Lisette turned, wisps of her beautiful hair fluttering about her face, Adeline beckoned to her. ~ The Lady and the Thief by Megan Derr

The phone was ringing. Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

Bonnie Blythe hovered near the tall windows, nursing her cocktail and watching the lights from the Navy Pier Ferris wheel twinkle in the fading spring twilight. Smitten by the Brit by Melonie Johnson

The Chinese gentleman ran from between the carriages packed the length of Mount Street and straight into my path. ~ Death in Kew Gardens by Jennifer Ashley

The man jogged through the parking area of a mountain trailhead, his blond hair wild and disheveled, a dead leaf caught in the golden waves. ~ False Step by Victoria Helen Stone

Dear Mr. Wrexham,

I know you don't know me but please, please please you have to help meTurn of the Key by Ruth Ware

It had started out as such a promising day. Fan the Flames by Katie Ruggle

"Travel the world," they'd said.Off the Grid by Monica McCarty

"Careful going over the curb, or you'll spill the whole pile," Dink cautioned his friend Josh. ~ The Vampire's Vacation by Ron Roy

"What are we going to do now, sir?" ~ Out of Time by Monica McCarty

"Dink, would you mind passing out math paper to everyone?" Mrs. Eagle asked. ~ The School Skeleton by Ron Roy

The world was always thus. ~ The Gossamer Mage by Julie E. Czerneda

If anyone told me I could bring down the president, and the Pure Movement, and that incompetent shit Morgan LeBron in a week's time, I wouldn't believe them. ~ Vox by Christina Dalcher

Jumping into a hole cut in the frozen reservoir was a stupid idea. ~ Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle

The hot wind flung brown dust into Maud's face. Sweep of the Blade by Ilona Andrews

" Do't you think this punishment is a little harsh?" Derek asked under his breath, eyeing the yellow school bus pulling into the gravel parking lot.On His Watch by Katie Ruggle

Today was the Interkingdom Science Fair. ~ The Princess in Black and the Science Fair Scare by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

Imagine you're a bird. ~ The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

"Hush, little baby, don't say a word . . ." ~ Pretty Guilty Women by Gina LaManna

It's too damn cold of a day to be out on a hunt.  Warcross by Marie Lu

Children think we make them, but we don't. After the Flood by Kassandra Montag

This is a regular girl and her best friend in the whole wide world. ~ The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

I live with my family in a city close to the sea. ~ The Journey by Francesca Sanna

One bright sunny day, a young duck named McKluck
Had a wonderful, wonderful piece of good luck.  
~ The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories by Dr. Seuss

Here's the thing. ~ The Taken by Vicki Pettersson

I didn't choose the wench life. ~ Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Before Bean met Ivy, she didn't like her. Ivy + Bean by Annie Barrows & Sophie Blackall

The fellow across the fire gave Red the once-over, from the wild corkscrews of her hair peeking out from under her red hood to the small hand axe that rested on the ground beside her. The Girl in Red by Christina Henry

I was putting flowers on the mane of my pet unicorn. Goldilicious by Victoria Kann

It was the first Sunday of Advent, and everyone in the little town of Calabria was busy getting ready for Christmas.Merry Christmas, Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola

When I was seven, I found a door.The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

With a pitch-black sky full of twinkling stars and a warm summer breeze caressing my skin, I stood in front of my fabulous pink-and-white Shasta trailer.Murder Can Mess Up Your Masterpiece by Rose Pressey

I had a wiggly tooth.Silverlicious by Victoria Kann

Deep in the woods there's an old white cabin with pumpkins in the garden. Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper

In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Once upon a time, but not very long ago, deep in the Australian bush lived two possums. Possum Magic by Mem Fox & Julie Vivas

My mother works as a waitress in the Blue Tile Diner. ~ A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams

Henry Brown wasn't sure how old he was. ~ Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine & Kadir Nelson

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten - wham! ~ Ivy + Bean and the Ghost That Had to Go by Annie Barrows & Sophie Blackall

We're a pair beyond compare, 
a rare and special two,
in all the ways that I am me
and you're completely you. Me With You by Kristy Dempsey and Christopher Denise

"Noooooo!" ~ Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill

Time to move on. Death Overdue by Allison Brook

I glanced around my cottage at the thirty or so guests laughing and chatting, and grinned. ~ Read and Gone by Allison Brook

Amelia Bedelia is getting ready to go to school when . . . CRASH! ~ Amelia Bedelia Tries Her Luck by Herman Parish & Lynn Avril

Boring. ~ Ivy + Bean Break the Fossil Record by Annie Barrows & Sophie Blackall

I am Amelia Earhart. ~ I Am Amelia Earhart by Brad Meltzer

"The blue-cheese burger and fries are calling to me, but I'm going with a small salad, no bread," Angela said, looking up from the lunch menu with a sigh. ~ Buried in the Stacks by Allison Brook

While humas slept, monsters raved. Wicked Hour by Chloe Neill

The witch had a cat 
     and a hat that was black,
And long ginger hair 
     in a braid down her back. 
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

This was it. ~ Coming Home for Christmas by RaeAnne Thayne

Sam Thompson stood in the blackened corner of the alley silently watching the mercantile across the street. One Wish by Jodi Thomas

She had never believed in love. The Christmas Keeper by Jenn McKinlay

When her phone rang at three in the morning, ripping her from a desperately needed sleep, Maggie's first thought was bad news. ~ A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan

Thwack! Ivy + Bean Take Care of the Babysitter by Annie Barrows & Sophie Blackall

Darkness falls slowly . . . like a fuzzy blanket tucking in the world. ~ Nighttime by Jill Esbaum

Deep in the heart of Wintermouse Wood, 
down in the grass where the autumn trees stood, 
lived all kinds of creatures - some big and some small- 
some spiky, some furry, some short, and some tall. 
Side by Side by Rachel Bright & Debi Gliori

Edward was good at numbers (he could count all the way to fifty).Santa's Book of Names by David McPhail

After walking for many days, a wolf wandered into a quiet little town. Wolf! by Becky Bloom and Pascal Biet

Tonight is the perfect night to start a new diary because there is no way I can fall asleep! ~ Snow Place Like Home by Christina Soontornvat and  Barbara Szepesi Szucs

Check. Ivy + Bean Bound to Be Bad by Annie Barrows & Sophie Blackall

When the sun goes down, dots of light fill the night sky.Night Sky by Stephanie Warren Drimmer

Molly Lou Melon stood just taller than her dog and was the shortest girl in the first grade.Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell & David Catrow

They call it Heartbreak Pier, the place from where I will leave Ireland. ~ The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter by Hazel Gaynor

If a stranger should come to a certain little Swedish town and should happen one day to find himself at a certain spot on the edge of it, he would see Villa Villekulla.Pippi Goes On Board by Astrid Lindgren

Sprinkles.Once Upon a Bad Boy by Melonie Johnson

© 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.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Bookish Mewsings: The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter by Hazel Gaynor

They call it Heartbreak Pier, the place from where I will leave Ireland. ~ Opening of The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter

The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter by Hazel Gaynor
William Morrow, 2018
Fiction/Historical; 416 pgs
Source: NetGalley
“They call me a heroine, but I am not deserving of such accolades. I am just an ordinary young woman who did her duty.”

1838: Northumberland, England. Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands has been Grace Darling’s home for all of her twenty-two years. When she and her father rescue shipwreck survivors in a furious storm, Grace becomes celebrated throughout England, the subject of poems, ballads, and plays. But far more precious than her unsought fame is the friendship that develops between Grace and a visiting artist. Just as George Emmerson captures Grace with his brushes, she in turn captures his heart.

1938: Newport, Rhode Island. Nineteen-years-old and pregnant, Matilda Emmerson has been sent away from Ireland in disgrace. She is to stay with Harriet, a reclusive relative and assistant lighthouse keeper, until her baby is born. A discarded, half-finished portrait opens a window into Matilda’s family history. As a deadly hurricane approaches, two women, living a century apart, will be linked forever by their instinctive acts of courage and love.
[Goodreads Summary]
Hazel Gaynor's novels always seem to break my heart and also fill me with a sense of hope at the end. The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter was no different. I love Gaynor's writing, especially her ability to bring her characters and settings to life, right off the pages.

I have long had a fascination with lighthouses, and was eager to read Gaynor's historical fiction novel featuring women lighthouse keepers. The novel spans over two timelines, set a hundred years apart. The character of Grace Darling, the daughter of the keeper at the Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands, is based on a real person, which makes this story all the more appealing. Her story begins in 1838. She gets great satisfaction in helping her father tend to the lighthouse and can hardly imagine doing anything else. Women are not allowed to be lighthouse keepers at that point in history, however, and she knows the job will pass to her brother eventually.  Grace has a way about her that drew me to her. She loves the island and the sea. She is just doing her duty when she sees the shipwreck and survivors in the distance. The sudden onslaught of attention is not at all what she wants. She never lets the attention go to her head, remaining humble and true to herself. She longs for the quieter days of the past. 

One hundred years later, 19-year-old Matilda travels to America, alone and afraid, and yet also glad to be out from under her mother's critical eye. She isn't sure what to expect when she meets Harriet, who cares for a lighthouse in Rhode Island. Matilda is young and a bit of a dreamer, as well as insightful. She has a natural curiosity, which plays nicely into the threading of the two different timelines together as Matilda looks through items she finds in an old trunk and discovers a letter hidden in a painting. I liked Harriet on the spot, including her unorthodox lifestyle given the time period.  It is obvious she needs Matilda in her life just as much as Matilda needs her. The two are both a bit lost and alone in the world.

The narrative also briefly follows Sarah Dawson, a woman rescued by Grace Darling, and whose devastating losses were utterly heart-wrenching. She had such strength to be able to pick up the pieces and carry on with her life. Then there is George Emmerson, Sarah's brother, whose story we get a glimpse of as well. He is such a sweet man, torn between obligation and his heart.

I could feel the sea breeze on my cheeks as I read The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter. I connected with the characters and felt their sorrows, regrets, and pain--and also their hope and determination. I was caught up in both threads of the novel, wanting to see how each of their stories would play out--not wanting them to end and yet needing to know. The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter is yet another reason Hazel Gaynor has earned the spot of being my favorite historical fiction author.

Have you read this one? If so, what did you think?
Do you share my interest in lighthouse settings?
Have you read anything by Hazel Gaynor before? 

 © 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.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Bookish Mewsings: More Than a Touch of Holiday Romance

Coming Home From Christmas (Haven Point, #10) by RaeAnne Thayne
HQN, 2019
Romance; 384 pgs
Source: NetGalley

This was it. ~ Opening of Coming Home for Christmas

Elizabeth and Luke had been madly in love when they got married and started a family. What they could not anticipate was the Postpartum Depression that would take so much out of Elizabeth—affecting her ability to mother as well testing her relationship with Luke. Neither of them really knew how to navigate through it. It seemed never-ending. A car accident. A brain injury. Loss of memory. Elizabeth has created a new life for herself under a different identify. At first it was because she had no idea who she was, but as time passed, her memories began to come back to her. How could she resume her old life when so much time had passed? After what she had done? As much as she loved her family, she still doubted her ability to be a good mom and wife. How could they ever forgive her?

Seven years have passed and Luke is facing a murder charge if he doesn’t produce his wife. His brother-in-law was able to track her down and now he must face her after all these years of believing she was dead. Come to find out, she had abandoned her family completely and gotten on with her life, with no regard for her children, much less him. Or so he believes. The last thing he wants to do is hurt his children more than they’ve already been hurt. It is hard to deny the attraction still between them, but how could their marriage survive what it’s been through?

RaeAnne Thayne is one of my favorite contemporary romance authors. She draws out the emotions of her characters so well. I cannot help but cry with them, feel angry alongside them, and want so much for them to find the happiness they deserve. Given the circumstances, Luke’s initial anger toward his wife is completely understandable. His grief and pain are palpable. And so is Elizabeth’s. Having suffered through Postpartum Depression myself, I could relate to some of what she had been feeling after the birth of her children, and see how it could lead her to where she was those seven years later. I do not think she always made the wisest of choices once she regained her memory, letting her fear get in the way, but imagine that was something she still needed to work through.

As always, RaeAnne Thayne hit a home run for me, and I enjoyed Coming Home For Christmas. Her characters feel so real and Haven Point sounds like such an idyllic place to live. I enjoyed this sweet romance with its heavy themes quite a bit.

One Wish: A Christmas Story by Jodi Thomas
Zebra, 2019
Romance; 100 pgs
Source: NetGalley

Sam Thompson stood in the blackened corner of the alley silently watching the mercantile across the street. ~ Opening of One Wish 

Maggie Allison took over the mercantile when her parents died and leads a relatively quiet—and lonely—life. One night just before closing, three men enter the store intent to rob it. Just as Maggie fears for her own life, in steps Sam Thompson, a local rancher, who comes to her rescue, chasing the would be thieves away. One of the thieves is none other than Boss Adler, one of the most notorious criminals in the area. With him on the loose, and Maggie being able to identify him, Sam offers to take Maggie in until Adler is caught. He lives in an isolated part of the county where even lawmen do not like to enter. While Maggie is prim and proper and well-educated, Sam is much more rough around the edges. Sam and Maggie share a past—having been friends for a short while as children, attending the same school, however went their own ways due to circumstances beyond their control.

This Old Western historical romance made for a cozy Christmas story. Maggie and Sam are somewhat reserved around each other at first, but that soon changes. Maggie knows her mind and is not afraid to speak it. I really liked Sam and his quiet ways. He has a secret he has been keeping, and Maggie is one of a very few who comes to know that secret as soon as she steps into Sam’s house. Maggie and Sam are well suited for each other, and I enjoyed my time spent with them. This novella is a sweet romance with a bit of action mixed in. I would not have minded a longer story in order to more fully develop the characters and get to know more about their lives surrounding the events in this short book.

The Christmas Keeper (Happily Ever After, #2) by Jenn McKinlay
Berkley, 2019
Romance; 318 pgs
Source; NetGalley

She had never believed in love. ~ Opening of The Christmas Keeper

Savannah Wilson is in town to rebuild her bruised and battered reputation by helping her best friend market her new bookstore. She much prefers big city living to the small town she finds herself in—although it does have its own charm, if she’s honest with herself. And there is Joaquin Solis, who she knows she must resist at all costs. He could derail all her plans. Besides, they aren’t a good fit even if Joaquin feels otherwise. When the two get wind that the bookstore might be in trouble, they agree to work together to build up publicity to turn the store’s fate around. This is Joaquin’s chance to show Savannah that their growing attraction to one another can amount to more than just a short-term fling.

You have to love a book that partly takes place in the Happily Ever After Bookstore. At least this reader has to. I have yet to read the first book in the series (you can bet I will!), but that did not hurt my enjoyment of A Christmas Keeper. It stands just find on its own. I really liked the very independent Savannah who was cheated out of her successful publicity career. She really suffered a blow when she lost her job, and is trying to get back on her feet again. Joaquin owns a horse ranch that offers horse therapy. His parents died in a terrible accident years ago, leaving him to care for his younger sister who had suffered a brain injury in the accident. It’s obvious he loves his sister very much. Family is extremely important to him. It was impossible not to fall for Joaquin. At least I would if I were in Savanah’s shoes. He is quite the catch!

In some ways, A Christmas Keeper reminded me of a Hallmark Christmas movie—only much better. It is sexy and charming with just the right amount of humor and drama to make this a fun read.

A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan
Mira, 2019
Romance; 384 pgs
Source: NetGalley

When her phone rang at three in the morning, ripping her from a desperately needed sleep, Maggie's first thought was bad news. ~ Opening of A Wedding in December

I ended my holiday-themed reading with this absolute gem of a romance novel. Rose White is the youngest of two daughters. She wakes her mother up with a late night call to tell her not only that she’s engaged, but also that she plans to get married over Christmas in the Aspen, Colorado—just a few short weeks away. Maggie isn’t so sure this whirlwind wedding is a good idea. Rose has not known the groom for long. Of course Maggie will go to the wedding, as will her husband. But she’s determined not to let on to anyone that she and her husband, Nick, are planning to divorce and have not been living under the same roof for months. It would ruin the happy occasion and break their daughter's hearts. They can pretend to be happily married for their short trip to the United States for the wedding, surely. 

The White’s oldest daughter Katie has always been a bit skeptical about this thing called love. She knows Rose is making a mistake, and she plans to do what she can to talk Rose out of this silly impulsive wedding if it is the last thing she does; meanwhile hoping no one will notice the mess her life has become, how she doubts herself and kept hidden the trauma she recently suffered.

Perhaps you can imagine what comes next. Rose begins to doubt her decision to marry her adoring fiancĂ©, Dan, because of her sister’s doubts. There’s the gorgeous best man who sees right through Katie—and to whom she finds herself attracted to in a way she’s never felt before. Then there are Maggie and Nick, empty-nesters who have raised two beautiful daughters and who have grown apart over the years, losing the spark they once had.

Oh my gosh, how I loved this book! Lack of communication is at the heart of the novel and the cause for so much of the characters’ frustrations. If only everyone would talk to each other about what they are thinking and feeling! The novel comes at relationships from several different angles: that of sisters, mother and daughter(s), and the more romantic ones, including that of husband and wife. You also have Katie’s story dealing with the trauma and her need to forgive herself and heal. Sarah Morgan does an excellent job of putting the reader into each of the three protagonists (Rose, Maggie, and Katie) lives, and I could relate to each of them in varying ways. While all three of the women’s stories are strong, I most connected with Maggie. I love that the author included her story—love isn’t just for the young! I thoroughly enjoyed A Wedding in December—and how I would love to stay in one of those tree houses at the resort they were all staying!

I want to wish you all a Happy Holiday season. 
May the New Year bring you much 
love, laughter, and the makings of happy memories. 

© 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, December 19, 2019

Bookish Mewsings: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow & The Girl in Red by Christina Henry

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.

It has been an eventful week, and we are heading into a busy weekend as well. I had hoped to spend my Monday off getting some much neglected housework done, but I ended up hurting my back. It's a bit better now, but I am still having to be careful least it get worse. And now as another weekend approaches, we all seem to be coming down with colds. Just in time for company and Christmas. Oh well.

I have a few holiday-themed romance reviews that will post next Monday to go with the season, but today I thought I would share two of my other fall reads with you. I highly recommend both of these books!

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
Orbit, 2019
Fantasy/Historical; 384 pgs
Source: NetGalley

Book Beginnings:
When I was seven, I found a door. I suspect I should capitalize that word, so you understand I'm not talking about your garden- or common-variety door that leads reliably to a white-tiled kitchen or a bedroom closet.
Friday 56 (excerpt from 56%):
"Did you know?" I asked after a silence. 
"Did I know what?"
I didn't bother to answer. She gave a short, resigned sigh. "I knew some of it. Never the whole story."
My thoughts:

A part of me was worried when I started reading The Ten Thousand Doors of January I would end up disappointed. It sounded too good to be true. January Scaller’s father works for a wealthy businessman, traipsing the globe in search of unique artifacts. Mr. Locke, his employer, has taken January in as his ward, and she spends much of her young life in his care. She’s always felt like a bit of an oddity, not quite fitting in. January loves to read and when she happens upon a strange book, she is instantly swept up in the story—one of secret doors into other worlds and of love and adventure. Only, the story in the book is not a piece of fiction, as January will soon find out.

I enjoy stories within stories as well as dual timeline novels quite a bit, the first being a tad more trickier for an author to pull of successfully—at least in my experience. Alix E. Harrow pulls it off in spades. I loved every aspect of this book and cannot sing its praises enough. I loved both January’s story as well as that of her parents. January is such a great character. She is resourceful and smart. She is extremely resilient. I loved her big protective and loyal dog, Bad. The world building is rich and with each door stepped through, I felt like I was right there alongside the characters. I also really appreciated the way the author ties in the history of the times into the story (early 1900’s), adding an even more nuanced layer. There was action and heartbreak, along with romance and adventure. This fantasy novel had me from the first page and would not let go. I can definitely see myself reading this book again and again. (And I am not much of a re-reader.)

Have you read The Ten Thousand Doors of January? If so, what did you think? If you haven't, does it sound like something you would want to read? 

The Girl in Red by Christina Henry
Berkley, 2019
Horror; 304 pgs
Source: NetGalley

Book Beginnings:
The fellow across the fire gave Red the once-over, from the wild corkscrews of her hair peeking out from under her red hood to the small hand axe that rested on the ground beside her. His eyes darted from the dried blood on the blade--just a shadow in the firelight--to the backpack of supplies next to it and back to her face, which she made as bland as rice pudding.
Friday 56 (excerpt from 56%):
When they reached the village, Red saw that a close-up view made it a lot less picturesque. Every building had peeling paint or stood at the slightly crooked angle that indicated subsidence or had shingles falling from the roof. The houses were clustered tight together, like cattle fearful of wolves.
My thoughts:

Red is on her own, trying to make her way to her grandmother’s house. Danger could be around any turn. Sound familiar? This postapocalyptic Little Red Riding Hood-like novel has much more higher stakes. The Crisis has decimated most of the population. It started with a cough and now the military is rounding up survivors to put in quarantine, which is not an option Red is willing to consider. As Red travels by foot, she reminisces about the past, including what led her to her current situation and the fate she now faces. This now hardened woman is not the same person she was three months ago. The disease is not the darkest of enemies out there, Red knows. She has seen firsthand how cruel mankind can be. When she stumbles on a couple of children in the woods, she cannot just leave them there. They are scared and have little in the way of supplies. They do not know how to protect themselves. She also does not want to be deterred from her path. She must get to her grandmother’s house.

Red has had to toughen up and cut herself off emotionally for survival's sake. She has one good leg, the other being a prosthetic, which adds its own challenge on her journey. I really felt for Red from the start, understanding her need to distance her grief. She does not want the burden of caring for the two children, but she is good at heart and must at least help them prepare for the world they now live in. You can imagine The Girl in Red is full of tension given the circumstances. Christina Henry paints a very dark world Red is now living in: a deadly illness, government quarantines, government secrets, militia groups with ill intent, and the coming winter. The ending came all too soon, and seemed a bit rushed given the attention to detail throughout the rest of the novel. I was left a little unsatisfied the way things were left off. Even so, I really enjoyed The Girl in Red and look forward to reading more by Christina Henry.

Have you read The Girl in Red? If so, what did you think? If you haven't, does it sound like something you might like? 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Be sure and tell me what you are reading and are up 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, December 12, 2019

Bookish Mewsings: Well Met by Jen DeLuca & Pretty Guilty Women by Gina LaManna

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.

This has been a long week. The adrenaline that propelled me through these last couple weeks of show preparation and the performances this past weekend, has died off, leaving me feeling exhausted and extra tired. I have barely gotten any reading done, and I have not had any time to get online. Hopefully life can return to some semblance of normality--at least until the holidays. In the meantime, I wanted to share a couple of my fall reads with you as I continue to catch up on posting my reviews before the year is out. 

Well Met (Well Met, #1) by Jen DeLuca
Berkley, 2019
Romance; 336 pgs
Source: NetGalley

Book Beginnings:
I didn't choose the wench life. The wench life chose me.
Friday 56 (excerpt from 56%):
When had my daydreams drifted away from the beefcake in a kilt and toward the slim pirate in black leather, with dark moods and perplexing smiles? 

My thoughts:
The opportunity to help her sister and her teenaged niece after her sister’s accident, could not have come at a better time for Emily whose own life is in transition. She did not anticipate having to volunteer at the local Renaissance Faire with her niece, however. It doesn’t seem like it will be so bad at first. At least not until she meets Simon, the man in charge of the volunteers. Simon takes the Renaissance Faire very seriously. It is his brother’s legacy after all. Simon and Emily butt heads right from the start. He seems uptight and she is more lighthearted. While the two do not seem to care for each other in their real life personas, once Simon dons his costume, it is as if he is a different person—and Emily cannot help but flirt back. Still, she wonders which persona is real. Is it all an act or is there something growing between them?

This was such a fun read, and I loved every minute of it. This enemy to lovers romance is swoon-worthy and charming, as well as smart and funny. Emily has been through a lot as has Simon. Both are well-developed characters whom I fell in love with myself. I wanted so much for them to have their happy ending. I enjoyed their Shakespeare banter and playful teasing. I cried with them, both in sadness and joy, laughed with them, and wish I could jump right into a Renaissance Faire myself (I think there is one nearby in the spring . . . ). Well Met is one of those novels that left me with a silly grin on my face at the end.

Have you read Well Met? If so, what did you think? If you haven't, does it sound like something you would want to read? 

Pretty Guilty Women by Gina LaManna
Sourcebooks Landmark, 2019
Crime Fiction/Thriller; 336 pgs
Source: NetGalley

Book Beginnings:
"Hush, little baby, don't say a word. . ."
Friday 56 (excerpt from 56%):
If only she'd started her hangover routine sooner.

My thoughts:
This was a fun one as well, but for different reasons. The tag line for the novel describes it well: “Four Women. Four Confessions. One Murder.” Written from the perspectives of all four women, the reader gets an intimate look into their lives, both in the present and through flashbacks into their pasts. Emily is a lost soul, losing herself in alcohol and meaningless sex; Kate has money—but it can’t buy everything; Ginger feels like her family is falling apart, certainly her relationship with her daughter, and this holiday she saved so hard for isn’t turning out as well as she hoped; and then there is Lulu who dearly loves her husband, but is afraid he may be straying. Emily, Kate and Ginger were college roommates of the bride’s and are both looking forward to and dreading their reunion. Lulu is a family member of the groom’s. Right from the start, the reader knows someone was murdered. Exactly who died and why is the ultimate question, along with by whose hand.

Pretty Guilty Women is one of those books that once you start, it is hard to stop reading. I needed to know what was going to happen next. I liked the glimpses the author gave us into her character’s lives. It was impossible not to feel for all of them to some degree, although Kate was perhaps the hardest for me to relate to. They are all at low places in their lives.  Each of the characters (mostly) grows in this novel, including coming closer together, adding hope to their despair. I thought the mystery itself was well played out and thoroughly entertaining.

Have you read Pretty Guilty Women? If so, what did you think? If you haven't, does it sound like something you might like? 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Be sure and tell me what you are reading and are up 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.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Bookish Mewsings: Sweep of the Blade/Taken/Warcross

Sweep of the Blade (Innkeeper Chronicles, #4) by Ilona Andrews
NYLA, 2019 
Science Fiction/Fantasy; 322 pgs
The hot wind flung brown dust into Maud's face. ~ Opening of Sweep of the Blade
This is my favorite urban fantasy/science fiction mash up series. I admit though I was a little leery about this one given the focus of the novel is on Dina’s sister, Maud DeMille, and not on Dina and here inn, both character and setting I have come to love. Maud is a great character in her own right, however, and I ended up loving Sweep of the Blade just as much as I have the other books in the series.

Maud wants nothing to do with the vampires after her husband betrayed his clan and had him, his wife, and daughter, Helen, banished to a desolate planet. She never meant to fall for the striking vampire Arland, Marshal of the House of Kahr. She does not know what to say when he asks for her hand in marriage. She does not trust the vampires and wants to protect her daughter. She also knows her daughter could benefit from further training given her nature, being human and vampire. What kind of life would her daughter have on earth, unable to interact with the human population? Maud agrees to go with him, but not to marry him, not ready yet to commit. Marrying a vampire of such high status from a respected House would bring its own complications, especially for a human. She knows this all too well.

As it is, the situation in the House of Kahr is not as perfect as it first may seem. Two warring Houses have come together for a wedding with the House of Kahr hosting and playing peacekeeper, intending to bring peace between their Houses. Something seems off though. And now someone is trying to kill Maud.

Action-packed, Sweep the Blade is a fast-paced novel that had me turning pages as fast as I could. Arland has played a regular character throughout the series, and you can read about his and Maud’s meeting in One Fell Sweep. The world building in this series continues to impress me, and it was interesting to get a look into the political and hierarchy of the series’ vampires. Arland was a bit of an arse early on in the series, but he has grown as a character, and I really like him for Maud and Helen. He sees Maud as an equal and treats Helen as if she were his own. Maud shows off a different side in Sweep of the Blade. Readers already knew she is a gifted fighter. She is also an amazing diplomat. I continue to enjoy this series quite a bit.

The Taken (Celestial Blues, #1) by Vicki Pettersson
Harper Voyager, 2012
Crime Fiction/Fantasy; 417 pgs
Here's the thing. ~ Opening of The Taken
I have had this book on my TBR shelf for quite a while now, and there it sat until a friend asked me to join in an online book reading and discussion about the book. Truth be told, I didn’t participate in the discussion, but I did read the book.

There is a lot mystery and romance all wrapped up in this urban fantasy novel. The Taken opens with the murder of a photographic journalist, Nicole Rockwell, and the angel who is supposed to guide her into the Everlast. Things do not quite go the way they are supposed to, and said angel, Griffin Shaw, is forced back into his human skin. In order to regain his place in the Everlast, he is tasked with escorting investigative journalist, Katherine "Kit" Craig there after her own death. You can imagine that didn’t quite go as planned either. Kit not only doesn’t die, but she teams up with Grif to find out who is behind the murder of her best friend Nicole, and also agrees to help Grif look into who may have killed his wife all those years ago. She, of course, has no idea he is a fallen angel or that Evie was his wife. At least not right away. And even when he tells her, she thinks he is crazy. 

I had no idea what a rockabilly was before reading the The Taken. Rockabilly is one of the earliest forms of rock-n-roll from the 1950’s, and there are a group of people in contemporary times who have taken to that way of life. They dress in the 1950’s styles, and walk the talk of that time period. Kit is one of those women. It makes it much easier for Grif to slide right into the scene then, given he is straight out of the 1950’s. It was his era. I admit I was a little taken aback at how quickly Kit accepts Grif into her life particularly given how he entered it. But he is a good guy with good intentions, so I was able to overlook that. Somewhat.

I had not been expecting the novel to go down such a dark path in terms of the mystery. It left me with a hopeless feeling the more Grif and Kit uncovered. Even if they were able to get to the bottom of the mystery itself, the filth would remain and crop up in other ways (how is that for a vague spoiler?). I even wondered if perhaps this book should have come with a trigger warning.

I did like this one despite how it may seem, and plan to read further in the series. I liked both Grif and Kit quite a bit, and Vicki Pettersson knows how to pull in a reader and keep her hooked. I especially liked the fantasy aspects of the novel, which were often on the subtle side except for when they weren’t. I am curious to know the direction Pettersson will take the series next.

Warcross (Warcross, #1) by Marie Lu 
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, 2017
Science Fiction; 336 pgs
It's too damn cold of a day to be out on a hunt. ~ Opening of Warcross
This was my one audiobook of the year. I try to incorporate audiobooks into my life, but obviously I have not been too successful. Warcross is the first in a duology about a teenage bounty hunter with amazing hacking skills who hacks into the International Warcross Championships. It is not just a game. It is a way of life, connecting people through virtual reality. For some, it is an escape. For others, it is a way to make money, which is what Emeka Chen is hoping to do. Through a glitch, she is discovered and comes to the attention of the game’s creator, Hideo Tanaka. Instead of arresting her as she expected, he asks for her help, offering her money to find out who an even greater threat to his games is, someone who appears to have a more sinister plan for the games in mind.

This book was so much fun! It had a Ready Player One and Hunger Games feel to it, but is very much its own book. I loved Emeka’s character and being able to experience the world through her voice. I am sure the narrator deserves some credit for that as well. Nancy Wu did a great job setting the tone for the novel. Emeka is such an interesting character, as is Hideo. I only wish I could have gotten to know some of the minor characters a bit more. I have never really gotten into online games the way my husband has, but I can see the draw of a game like Warcross, especially given how much it crosses over into the people’s real lives. It seems impossible to avoid, really. Warcross is a combination of science fiction, mystery, and romance, which I cannot resist. I am looking forward to reading the next book, Wildcard. Maybe it will be my one audio for next year (although I will try to aim for more)!

Have you read any of these novels? If so, what did you think? If you have not, do any of them sound like something you might enjoy?

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