Sunday, May 19, 2019

Bookish Thoughts: How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee

She began in the first month of the lunar year. ~ Opening of How We Disappeared


How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee
Hanover Square Place, 2019
Fiction (Historical); 352 pgs
Singapore, 1942. As Japanese troops sweep down Malaysia and into Singapore, a village is ransacked, leaving only two survivors and one tiny child.

In a neighboring village, seventeen-year-old Wang Di is strapped into the back of a troop carrier and shipped off to a Japanese military brothel where she is forced into sexual slavery as a “comfort woman.” After sixty years of silence, what she saw and experienced still haunts her.

In the year 2000, twelve-year-old Kevin is sitting beside his ailing grandmother when he overhears a mumbled confession. He sets out to discover the truth, wherever it might lead, setting in motion a chain of events he never could have foreseen.

Weaving together two time lines and two very big secrets, this stunning debut opens a window on a little-known period of history, revealing the strength and bravery shown by numerous women in the face of terrible cruelty. Drawing in part on her family’s experiences, Jing-Jing Lee has crafted a profoundly moving, unforgettable novel about human resilience, the bonds of family and the courage it takes to confront the past.

I am full of feelings right now, having just finished Jing-Jing Lee's How We Disappeared. I knew the moment I first read a description of this book, I had to read it. 

The chapters alternate between the stories of twelve-year-old Kevin, as he uncovers his grandmother's long held secret, and Wang Di as she reflects and comes to terms with her past. 
"'Listen. Do what helps you. If hoping helps you survive from day to day, then keep hoping that they're going to release you. The truth is, I've never seen them let anyone go. But if it helps you.'" [Excerpt from How We Disappeared]
Wang Di was the oldest child and only daughter of her family. When the Japanese marched into Singapore, they wielded their power cruelly and viciously, gunning down entire villages and kidnapping young girls and women, among other reprehensible actions. At sixteen, Wang Di was forced to be a sex slave for Japanese soldiers. She was one of many, trapped in a life she never asked for. Their living conditions were abysmal and their future uncertain. Despite everything, the shame she felt and the pain she endured, Wang Di found the strength to survive--to persevere. 

The reception the "comfort women" received upon their return home after the war ended was anything but welcoming. While Wang Di was welcomed back into her parents' home, she was still an outcast. Other women were not so fortunate, being turned out and shunned. Shame and grief were carried on all sides. The families of these unfortunate women did not understand or want to acknowledge what the girls had suffered through. And the victims themselves felt ashamed and ruined, afraid to discuss what had happened to them. It just wasn't talked about--and still isn't in many circles. Just think of the stigma surrounding rape victims today. 

Now a widow, Wang Di has many regrets, one of which is not listening to her husband's stories about his time during the war and in not sharing her own story with him while he was alive. For years she refused to listen or talk about the war, not wanting to relive it, at least not out loud. She suffered in silence.  
I realized then, what she meant to say, so for the rest of the time I was in her flat, I made sure not to look away from her so that she would know she didn't have anything to be ashamed about. [Excerpt from How We Disappeared]
Sometimes it was easy to forget Kevin is only twelve-years-old given how tenacious and thoughtful he could be. He loved his grandmother dearly and when she confesses to him a rather big secret on her deathbed, he knows he cannot just let it go. On his own, he sets out to discover the truth, hoping it will bring some solace to his grieving father. 

I came to love both Kevin and Wang Di's through their stories. Often in dual narratives, one side is stronger than the other, but Jing-Jing Lee has found the perfect balance between the voices of her characters. Through Wang Di and Kevin, the reader is introduced to other significant characters, including Wang Di's husband and Kevin's parents. Also the amazingly strong women Wang Di was with during her captivity. I was sad to see the novel come to an end, wanting to spend more time with the characters, and yet also satisfied that their stories had come to a conclusion--at least as far as the author meant to take us. 

I have read a lot of novels set during World War II, but so few that focus on the Pacific (my own fault, and I am trying to remedy that). How We Disappeared is a poignant novel, which focuses on a part of history that has too often been buried that we all need to remember. And not just for the horrors produced so we do not repeat them--although that is important--but also to remember the victims and survivors, of their strength and perseverance, and to give them a voice so they are no longer kept silent.

How We Disappeared is a beautiful and heart-wrenching novel that had me in tears more than once--in sadness and anger, but also in hope and joy; devastating and yet filled with heart. This is my absolute favorite book that I have read so far this year. 


Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


Connect with Jing-Jing

Website | Twitter | Instagram


For more information about the author and her work, visit her website. You can also find her on Twitter.


I hope you will check out what others had to say about Beautiful Bad on the TLC Book Tours route!


Many thanks to the TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour.  Review copy provided by publisher for an honest review.





© 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, May 14, 2019

Waiting to Read Wednesday: Discount Armageddon,Rebel, Murder in Kew Gardens, & The Woman in the White Kimono



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!


Discount Armageddon (Incryptid, #1) by Seanan McGuire (2012)
Cryptid, noun: Any creature whose existence has not yet been proven by science. See also "Monster."

Crytozoologist, noun: Any person who thinks hunting for cryptids is a good idea. See also "idiot."

Ghoulies. Ghosties. Long-legged beasties. Things that go bump in the night...

The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity—and humanity from them.

Enter Verity Price. Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she'd rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and is spending a year in Manhattan while she pursues her career in professional ballroom dance. Sounds pretty simple, right?

It would be, if it weren't for the talking mice, the telepathic mathematicians, the asbestos supermodels, and the trained monster-hunter sent by the Price family's old enemies, the Covenant of St. George. When a Price girl meets a Covenant boy, high stakes, high heels, and a lot of collateral damage are almost guaranteed.

To complicate matters further, local cryptids are disappearing, strange lizard-men are appearing in the sewers, and someone's spreading rumors about a dragon sleeping underneath the city...
[Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read it: Funny story. I fell in love with Seanan McGuire last year when I read the first couple books in her Ghost Roads series. I hadn't realized I had another of her books sitting on my TBR pile I had not yet read. I have heard great things about the Incryptid series though and definitely plan to read this one. Hopefully soon-ish. 

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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.


Rebel (Women Who Dare, #1) by Beverly Jenkins
Release Date: May 28, 2019
The first novel in USA Today Bestselling Author Beverly Jenkins' compelling new series follows a Northern woman south in the chaotic aftermath of the Civil War...

Valinda Lacey's mission in the steamy heart of New Orleans is to help the newly emancipated community survive and flourish. But soon she discovers that here, freedom can also mean danger. When thugs destroy the school she has set up and then target her, Valinda runs for her life—and straight into the arms of Captain Drake LeVeq.

As an architect from an old New Orleans family, Drake has a deeply personal interest in rebuilding the city. Raised by strong women, he recognizes Valinda's determination. And he can't stop admiring—or wanting—her. But when Valinda's father demands she return home to marry a man she doesn't love, her daring rebellion draws Drake into an irresistible intrigue. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: Beverly Jenkins' name is not only the first often mentioned as one of the best romance authors of color, but also as one of the best romance writers in general. She's high on my list of must read authors, and her upcoming novel, Rebel, caught my attention when I heard about it. Valinda sounds like a great character, and I cannot wait to get to know her and Drake. And New Orleans! What an awesome setting!


Death in Kew Gardens (Kat Holloway, #3) by Jennifer Ashley
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Kat Holloway steps out from beneath the stairs and into international intrigue, where murder and stolen treasure lurk among the upper echelons of Victorian London.

In return for a random act of kindness, scholar Li Bai Chang presents young cook Kat Holloway with a rare and precious gift—a box of tea. Kat thinks no more of her unusual visitor until two days later when the kitchen erupts with the news that Lady Cynthia's next-door neighbor has been murdered.

Known about London as an "Old China Hand," the victim claimed to be an expert in the language and customs of China, acting as intermediary for merchants and government officials. But Sir Jacob's dealings were not what they seemed, and when the authorities accuse Mr. Li of the crime, Kat and Daniel find themselves embroiled in a world of deadly secrets that reach from the gilded homes of Mayfair to the beautiful wonder of Kew Gardens.
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: This is book three in one of my favorite historical mystery series. There's no way I can pass it up! I just love Kat and Daniel.


The Woman in the White Kimono by Ana Johns
Release Date: May 28, 2019
Oceans and decades apart, two women are inextricably bound by the secrets between them.

Japan, 1957. Seventeen-year-old Naoko Nakamura’s prearranged marriage to the son of her father’s business associate would secure her family’s status in their traditional Japanese community, but Naoko has fallen for another man—an American sailor, a gaijin—and to marry him would bring great shame upon her entire family. When it’s learned Naoko carries the sailor’s child, she’s cast out in disgrace and forced to make unimaginable choices with consequences that will ripple across generations.

America, present day. Tori Kovac, caring for her dying father, finds a letter containing a shocking revelation—one that calls into question everything she understood about him, her family and herself. Setting out to learn the truth behind the letter, Tori’s journey leads her halfway around the world to a remote seaside village in Japan, where she must confront the demons of the past to pave a way for redemption.

In breathtaking prose and inspired by true stories from a devastating and little-known era in Japanese and American history,
The Woman in the White Kimono illuminates a searing portrait of one woman torn between her culture and her heart, and another woman on a journey to discover the true meaning of home. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: Doesn't this just sound like it will pull at the heartstrings over and over? I enjoy dual timelines that cross the generations, not to mention the cultural aspect. I cannot wait to read this one.


Do any of these sound like books you would like to read? 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.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Bookish Thoughts: Nightchaser by Amanda Bouchet

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


Nightchaser (Endeavor, #1) by Amanda Bouchet
Tess Bailey: the galaxy's Most Wanted. Captain Tess Bailey is in deep trouble. She and her crew are on the run, pursued by a tyrant who'll take them dead or alive. Tess's best hope is a tall, dark, and much-too-appealing stranger, Shade Ganavan, who says he can help her. But his motivations are far from clear...

Shade Ganavan: arrogance, charm...and that special something that makes you want to kick him. With the dreaded Dark Watch closing in, what Tess and Shade don't know about each other might get them killed...unless they can set aside their differences and learn to trust each other before it's too late.
 [Goodreads Summary]

I have long wanted to give Amanda Bouchet’s work a try, and Nightchaser seemed a good place to start. Picking this one up right on the heels of a similar science fiction novel about a ragtag group on a space ship on the run, might not have been the smartest choice, but ultimately, it fed my itch to read another space opera, and I came away feeling satisfied and entertained.

Nightchaser is set in a world ruled by an oppressive government that aims for conformity by all. They believe they have brought order where war and lawlessness once ran rampant, whereas there are those who feel the government has gone too far, hungering for power and control, extending beyond its reach.

The novel opens right in the middle of the action as Captain Tess Bailey and her crew flee from the Dark Watch, the military extension of the Galatic Overseer, they’ve just stolen from. Tess hopes to distribute the much needed vaccines to children at the orphanage she grew up. Only, those vaccines aren’t quite what they seem, and the Dark Watch is intent on getting them back at any cost. Risking suicide, Tess and her crew see only one way out, having been found in their quiet hiding place in deep space—right through the center of a wormhole. Somehow, the group survives, finding themselves in another part of the galaxy. With their ship in desperate need for repair, they head for the first place possible to make that happen.

When Tess walks into Shade Ganavan’s shop, Shade instantly takes an interest in Tess who clearly has something to hide. It isn’t long before he learns she is the galaxy’s most wanted and then he has a decision to make. The bounty on her head would solve all of Shade’s problems and then some. With that as the goal, he agrees to help Tess and get closer to her, intent on turning her in for the money. The more he gets to know Tess, the more he delays the inevitable.

I really liked Tess. She is a fighter and survivor. For all of Tess’s reputation and the betrayals in her past, and her struggle with anxiety, one would expect her to be more cautious when it comes to Shade. She trusts him way too easily—which is my only bone of contention with the novel. It could be chalked up to her attraction to him and the loneliness she feels, however. She’s long learned to keep her parentage a secret, and for good reason. Even her crew, whose loyalty to her even after they find out, is unshakable. They are her best friends and have been through a lot together. Tess has a good heart and is of strong moral character. She wants to help those who cannot help themselves, particularly the children at the orphanage.

We get to glimpse into Shade’s mind and life, the novel alternating between his and Tess’s viewpoints, which I enjoyed. He lives on the edge, while trying to make up for past mistakes. I liked that the author did not make the struggle for him easy—having the choose between Tess and the money. He had a lot at stake—his entire life built on it. He seems like a really good guy overall, with good intentions. And I was rooting for him and Tess from the very start.

Given this is the first in a series, I imagine readers will get the chance to know more about the various characters in coming books. I really want to know more about each of them now that Bouchet has given us a peek into each of their lives. Although a minor character, I was, of course, quite taken with the bookstore owner and her cats (and Bonk!). The bookstore itself sounds like a wonderful haven. I hope that isn’t the last we are able to visit there.

With a good mix of science fiction and romance, Nightchaser had me in its grip from page one, and I did not want to put it down for anything. There were several moments when I caught myself holding my breath, hoping everyone would make it out of whatever tight fix they were in. I look forward to not only reading the next in the series, but also Amanda Bouchet’s other novels.


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


© 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, May 11, 2019

Sunday Post: May's TBR List Winner

I am linking up to the Sunday Post hosted by the wonderful Kim of Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where participants recap our week, talk about what we are reading, share any new books that have come our way, and whatever else we want to talk about. I am also linking The Sunday Salon hosted by the amazing Deb Nance of Readerbuzz where participants discuss what they are reading and other bookish topics. 


Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there! Are you doing anything special to celebrate?


What I Am Reading: I am still reading How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee and am enjoying it quite a bit. I imagine I will be finishing it in the next day or two and then will start on my May TBR winner. Mouse and I are in the middle of the latest A to Z Mystery, Grand Canyon Grab by Ron Roy.

What I Am Watching: We did manage to watch Avengers: Endgame last weekend after all and made time for Pokémon Detective Pikachu this weekend. Mouse got to meet a giant Pickachu who was hanging outside the theater and do a little coloring as well. She called out the names of each of the Pokémon as they appeared on the screen, and really enjoyed the film. We also saw Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse this weekend, which I liked much more than I thought I would. 


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

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




The winner for this month's poll was fairly clear from the start, and never lost the edge over the other two books. I am looking forward to reading Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa.



Shadow of The Fox (Shadow of the Fox #1) by Julie Kagawa
One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.
 [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.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Where Is Your Bookmark? (A Peek Into Unraveling by Karen Lord)

I am still reading the same book I shared last week, and so thought I would give you a taste of another book I read recently called Unraveling by Karen Lord.

In this standalone fantasy novel by an award-winning author, the dark truth behind a string of unusual murders leads to an otherworldly exploration of spirits, myth, and memory, steeped in Caribbean storytelling.
Dr. Miranda Ecouvo, forensic therapist of the City, just helped put a serial killer behind bars. But she soon discovers that her investigation into seven unusual murders is not yet complete. A near-death experience throws her out of time and into a realm of labyrinths and spirits. There, she encounters brothers Chance and the Trickster, who have an otherworldly interest in the seemingly mundane crimes from her files.
It appears the true mastermind behind the murders is still on the loose, chasing a myth to achieve immortality. Together, Miranda, Chance, and the Trickster must travel through conjured mazes, following threads of memory to locate the shadowy killer. As they journey deeper, they discover even more questions that will take pain and patience to answer. What is the price of power? Where is the path to redemption? And how can they stop the man--or monster--who would kill the innocent to live forever? [Goodreads Summary]

A weekly meme where readers share the first sentence of the book they are reading and say what they think. Hosted by the wonderful Gillion Dumas of Rose City Reader.

A chorus of tree frogs trilled in the damp, velvet darkness, wide awake and relentless as they spoke their authority over the nocturnal world. The village of Makendha slowly marked the hours to midnight with a quieting of laughter and argument, a dimming and darkening, and a staccato punctuation of ending sounds--the shutting of doors, the dropping of shoes, and the weighty hush of a house empty of talk but filled with dreaming. 

My thoughts: Although not very revealing about what the book is about, I really like this opening and the image it creates.



A weekly meme in which readers share a random sentence or two from page 56 or 56% of the book they are reading. Hosted by the wonderful Freda of Freda's Voice.

"You were on the bus. What happened? What did you see?" 
He stared at her, looked down, smiled, shook his head, and met her eyes again with such regret that Miranda faltered. "Dr. Ecouvo, one word from you could have me committed to the psychiatric wards. I'll keep the fullness of that nightmare to myself." [excerpt from 56%]


My thoughts: Although eager to hear what he has to say, his response has me thinking the answer is worse than I could imagine.


Does this sound like something you would enjoy reading?

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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 have a favorite classic? When did you read it? High school or as an adult? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)
I have many favorites, but I imagine Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte would be at the top of that list. It is one of the handful of books I have read multiple times, finding reasons to love it more each time. I first read it in high school, then in college, and have read is multiple times since then as well. 

What about you? Do you have a favorite classic?



 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.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Waiting to Read Wednesday: Time Travel, Family Secrets, Romance, & A Little Bit of Magic



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!


Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel (1989)
To the table or to bed
You must come when you are bid
The number-one bestseller in Mexico in 1990, Like Water for Chocolate is a romantic, poignant tale, touched with bittersweet moments of magic and sensuality. Evocative of How to Make an American Quilt in structure, Tampopo in its celebration of food, and Heartburn in its irony and wit, it is a lively and funny tale of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico. 
The narrator's great-aunt Tita is the youngest of three daughters born to Mama Elena, the tyrannical owner of De la Garza ranch. While still in her mother's womb, she wept so violently--as her mother chopped onions--that she caused Mama Elena to begin early labor, and Tita slipped out in the middle of the kitchen table, amid the spices and fixings for noodle soup. This early encounter with food soon became a way of life, and Tita grew up to be a master chef. Each chapter of the novel begins with one of Tita's recipes and her careful instructions for preparation.

In well-born Mexican families, tradition dictates that the youngest daughter not marry, but remain at home to care for her mother. Even though Tita has fallen in love, Mama Elena chooses not to make an exception, and instead, arranges for Tita's older sister to marry Tita's young man.

In order to punish Tita for her willfulness, Mama Elena forces her to bake the wedding cake. The bitter tears Tita weeps while stirring the batter provoke a remarkable reaction among the guests who eat the cake. It is then that it first becomes apparent that her culinary talents are unique.

Laura Esquivel's voice is direct, simple, and compelling. She has written a fresh and innovative novel, bringing her own inimitable strengths to a classic love story.
[Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: I saw the movie years ago, and honestly cannot say I remember much about it. This book is often praised and somewhere along the way I decided I needed to add a copy to my TBR pile. I still haven't managed to read it, but hope to. 


Have you read this one? If not, is it something you would like to read?

*

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.


Smitten by a Brit (Sometimes in Love, #2) by Melonie Johnson
Release Date: May 28, 2019
DEFINITELY, MAYBE...OR LOVE, ACTUALLY?

English professor Bonnie Blythe expects her life to play out like her favorite novels, especially now that her long-term boyfriend has finally proposed. So when a shocking discovery leads Bonnie to end her engagement, she decides to close the book on love. But the plot thickens when a brand-new character enters the scene—and quickens Bonnie's heart.

With his brilliant blue eyes, sexy accent, and irresistible charm, Theo Wharton is like a romantic hero straight out of a Jane Austen novel. When fate places Bonnie in England for a summer—conveniently close to Theo—she realizes a hot friends-with-benefits fling is exactly what she needs to start a fresh chapter. Just as Bonnie begins to believe she's falling in love, an eye-opening revelation into Theo's life makes Bonnie feel like she's wandered into one of her favorite books. Will Bonnie have the courage to risk her heart and turn the page with the dashing Brit to find her true happy ending after all? [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: I really enjoyed the first book in the Sometimes in Love series, and, having been introduced to both Theo and Bonnie in the first book, Getting Hot With a Scot, I am anxious to read their story.


Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald
Release Date: June 11, 2019
A magical love story, inspired by the legend of a woman who vanished from Grand Central Terminal, sweeps readers from the 1920s to World War II and beyond, in the spirit of The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

On a clear December morning in 1937, at the famous gold clock in Grand Central Terminal, Joe Reynolds, a hardworking railroad man from Queens, meets a vibrant young woman who seems mysteriously out of place. Nora Lansing is a Manhattan socialite whose flapper clothing, pearl earrings, and talk of the Roaring Twenties don’t seem to match the bleak mood of Depression-era New York. Captivated by Nora from her first electric touch, Joe despairs when he tries to walk her home and she disappears. Finding her again—and again—will become the focus of his love and his life.

Nora, an aspiring artist and fiercely independent, is shocked to find she’s somehow been trapped, her presence in the terminal governed by rules she cannot fathom. It isn’t until she meets Joe that she begins to understand the effect that time is having on her, and the possible connections to the workings of Grand Central and the solar phenomenon known as Manhattanhenge, when the sun rises or sets between the city’s skyscrapers, aligned perfectly with the streets below.

As thousands of visitors pass under the famous celestial blue ceiling each day, Joe and Nora create a life unlike any they could have imagined. With infinite love in a finite space, they take full advantage of the “Terminal City” within a city, dining at the Oyster Bar, visiting the Whispering Gallery, and making a home at the Biltmore Hotel. But when the construction of another landmark threatens their future, Nora and Joe are forced to test the limits of freedom and love.

Delving into Grand Central Terminal’s rich past, Lisa Grunwald crafts a masterful historical novel about a love affair that defies age, class, place, and even time. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: I have read a few books centered around Grand Central Terminal over the years, and I never tire of reading books set there--especially when they delve into the area's history. This particular book appeals to me not only for that reason, but also because it sounds so romantic--and emotional.


Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok
Release Date: June 4, 2019
It begins with a mystery. Sylvie, the beautiful, brilliant, successful older daughter of the Lee family, flies to the Netherlands for one final visit with her dying grandmother—and then vanishes. Amy, the sheltered baby of the Lee family, is too young to remember a time when her parents were newly immigrated and too poor to keep Sylvie. Seven years older, Sylvie was raised by a distant relative in a faraway, foreign place, and didn’t rejoin her family in America until age nine. Timid and shy, Amy has always looked up to her sister, the fierce and fearless protector who showered her with unconditional love.

But what happened to Sylvie? Amy and her parents are distraught and desperate for answers. Sylvie has always looked out for them. Now, it’s Amy’s turn to help. Terrified yet determined, Amy retraces her sister’s movements, flying to the last place Sylvie was seen. But instead of simple answers, she discovers something much more valuable: the truth. Sylvie, the golden girl, kept painful secrets . . . secrets that will reveal more about Amy’s complicated family—and herself—than she ever could have imagined.

A deeply moving story of family, secrets, identity, and longing, Searching for Sylvie Lee is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive portrait of an immigrant family. It is a profound exploration of the many ways culture and language can divide us and the impossibility of ever truly knowing someone—especially those we love. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: Doesn't this sound good? Just from the synopsis I find myself wanting to find Sylvie too . . . And discover those long kept family secrets. 


Do any of these sound like something you would like to read? 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.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Bookish Thoughts: Stars Uncharted by S.K. Dunstall

The first thing Nika noticed about the man who buzzed the studio bell was his scar.  ~ Opening of Stars Uncharted


Stars Uncharted by S.K. Dunstall
Ace Books, 2018
Science Fiction, 416 pgs

I do not know what it is about the coming together of a misfit or ragtag group of people that is so irresistible. It is a trope that never gets old. At least not for this reader. Stars Uncharted is one such novel, and what an adventure it turned out to be! It made me want to stock my bookshelves with more science fiction of the space opera variety.

The reader is first introduced to Nika Rik Terri, a body-modification artist at the top of her field. She is known for being innovative and is well respected. She takes great pride in her work and her business. The only sore point for her is being tied to a mafia-like space company that often calls upon her services to help cover up their dirty work. As a result, her latest client’s intentions are far from above board, and Nika flees in fear of her life, picking up an inexperienced body modder along the way—much to his dismay. Snow never asked for his life to be upturned so suddenly—especially by Nika, whose true identity he does not know.

Meanwhile, on the cargo ship The Road to the Goberlings, Captain Hammond Roystan, and his crew happen upon a sight they never expected to see. The great exploration ship Hassim is not only disabled, floating in space, but appears to be unmanned. It is a huge find given the wealth of information stored in the Hassim’s databanks about the various worlds the ship has visited. Junior engineer Josune Arriola is the most recent addition to Roystan’s crew and her knowledge of the Hassim raise the captain’s suspicions. With an enemy who will stop at nothing to gain the secrets of the Hassim, Roystan and his crew are forced to go on the run and stay ahead of those who want them dead.

As Nika and Snow are trying to avoid being discovered, Roystan and his crew are attempting to repair their ship and make a hasty retreat before their enemy can catch up with them. Roystan agrees to take on Nika and Snow, all of them desperate and in need of what the other can offer.

I was hooked on Stars Uncharted from the very first page. I found myself thinking of the characters even when I was not reading, wondering what they were up to. Nika and Josune are very different and yet both resourceful, intelligent and women I would want on my side in a fight. For me, they made the novel. I also really liked Captain Roystan. It is obvious he a good leader who respects his crew. I liked how the relationships between the characters seemed to grow naturally, their coming to trust each other and depend on each other, especially given their circumstances and their hidden pasts. Even with Snow, who I wasn’t a huge fan of in the beginning, but came to respect as the novel went on.

Not too surprisingly, the world the authors created has a dystopian feel, where the wealthy corporations have the upper hand and everyone else does what they can to eke out a living and survive. I saw mention here and there that hard core science fiction fans might find the technical aspects of the book lacking. I have not read enough science fiction to say one way or the other. All I know is that I really enjoyed all aspects of the novel. Stars Uncharted was right up my alley. Great well-developed characters I connected with, fast paced action, and interesting storylines, including the main plot. I hated for Stars Uncharted to come to an end and am eager to read Stars Beyond when it comes out next year.

For more information about this sister writing team and their work, visit her website. You can also find them on Twitter.


© 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, May 04, 2019

Sunday Mews: Happy May! (Spring Roses & Dragons)

I am linking up to the Sunday Post hosted by the wonderful Kim of Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where participants recap our week, talk about what we are reading, share any new books that have come our way, and whatever else we want to talk about. I am also linking to Stacking the Shelves hosted by the great Team Tynga's Reviews and Marlene of Reading Reality a meme in which participants share what new books came their way recently.  I am also linking The Sunday Salon hosted by the amazing Deb Nance of Readerbuzz where participants discuss what they are reading and other bookish topics.  I am linking up to Nicole of Feed Your Addiction's Monthly Wrap-Up Post, where any book bloggers who write monthly wrap-up posts can link up and visit other bloggers to see what they have been reading.  


New to My Shelves: 

I only added one book to my TBR collection this past month. I found it in my basket on Easter morning.


Fawkes by Nadine Brandes 


What I Am Reading: I currently am reading How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee, a historical fiction novel set in Singapore during World War II. Fiction set in and around the World Wars has always appealed to me, but this is a part of the world I have not read enough about during that that time period.

What Mouse Is ReadingPokémon: Tales of Adventure and Goldie Blox Rules the School! by Stacy McAnulty. 

What I Am Watching: I have not been watching anything particular noteworthy recently. We have not yet seen the new Avengers movie, but hope to soon. I do not follow Game of Thrones, but have to say I am grateful the most recent episode knocked most of the talk of Endgame off of social media--so I haven't seen many spoilers.

Off the Blog: April was a relatively average month for us. The usual amount of busy-ness, but nothing like May and June will be. We had a nice quiet Easter. We are not particularly religious, but we do celebrate Easter in all its commercial glory--baskets and egg hunts. We each got a book in our basket, of course, because this Easter Bunny cannot help herself. Just this past week Mouse found an egg she had missed on Easter Sunday. I think there may be another one still in the library. Either she'll find it or my mom will when she visits later this month!

Work is going fine. One of the changes we faced last month (and still are feeling) is my manager's temporary reassignment to another area in the department. The shift has meant more responsibility for me. This will likely be the case for the next couple months until my manager is able to come back (fingers crossed!).

If you are are a regular visitor, you know my daughter will be performing in her dance studio's musical production of The Greatest Showman. Well, the studio also puts on a summer ballet at the same time. This year they are doing Don Quixote. My husband was asked if he would be willing to take on a small role--nothing that would require dancing, just perhaps a little acting. He agreed, and the next thing he knew, he has the part of Don Quixote! I admit my reading of the book the ballet is based on as fallen by the wayside and ventured close to falling in the DNF category. I guess I had better give it another try! Mouse is thrilled for her dad, and Anjin is excited about the opportunity. I don't think being in a ballet is anything he ever saw himself doing in his lifetime!

 Roses in bloom

 Roses in bloom

All tucked in 

Ready for Easter


Here is what I finished reading in April:

Read with Mouse (including some re-reads): 
  • Judy Moody Predicts the Future by Megan McDonald
  • Judy Moody Gets Famous! by Megan McDonald
  • I Am Jackie Robinson by Brad Meltzer
  • Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
  • The Princess in Black by Shannon and Dean Hale
  • A Bad Kitty Christmas by Nick Bruel
  • Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
Read By Myself: 
  • The Night Tiger by Yangszee Choo
  • Unraveling by Karen Lord
  • The Book Supremacy by Kate Carlisle
The last couple of months I have been feeling a bit slump-ish in regards to my reading, although, for the most part, I enjoyed what I did read. I especially loved reading Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing with Mouse. We laughed our way through it over Fudge's antics, but mostly sympathized with poor Peter. Although I started April's TBR List poll winner, The Master Key by Masako Togawa, in April, I did not finish it until May. I did enjoy it though!

I took an unplanned break from blogging this past month as my off line life took over completely. It was much needed, I think. I am glad to be back just the same. I missed you all!


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

*

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

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




This month it is all about the dragons. I have several fantasy novels featuring dragons in one form or the other in my TBR collection, and it was hard to narrow the choices down to just three. These three are calling the loudest to me though.



Sorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal #1) by Zen Cho
Magic and mayhem collide with the British elite in this whimsical and sparkling debut.

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, freed slave, eminently proficient magician, and Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers—one of the most respected organizations throughout all of Britain—ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up.

But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…
[Goodreads Summary]


Shadow of The Fox (Shadow of the Fox #1) by Julie Kagawa
One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.
 [Goodreads Summary]

The Last Namsara (Iskari #1) by Kristen Ciccarelli
In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her. [Goodreads Summary]

Have you read any of these? Which do you think I should read? What are some of your favorite books featuring dragons? 



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.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Where Is Your Bookmark? (A Peek Into How We Disappeared)

I am about to start reading How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee for an upcoming book tour later this month. I knew I had to read this book the moment I first heard about it. Will it be a heart-wrenching book? Absolutely.

Singapore, 1942. As Japanese troops sweep down Malaysia and into Singapore, a village is ransacked, leaving only two survivors and one tiny child.
In a neighboring village, seventeen-year-old Wang Di is strapped into the back of a troop carrier and shipped off to a Japanese military brothel where she is forced into sexual slavery as a “comfort woman.” After sixty years of silence, what she saw and experienced still haunts her.
In the year 2000, twelve-year-old Kevin is sitting beside his ailing grandmother when he overhears a mumbled confession. He sets out to discover the truth, wherever it might lead, setting in motion a chain of events he never could have foreseen.
Weaving together two time lines and two very big secrets, this stunning debut opens a window on a little-known period of history, revealing the strength and bravery shown by numerous women in the face of terrible cruelty. Drawing in part on her family’s experiences, Jing-Jing Lee has crafted a profoundly moving, unforgettable novel about human resilience, the bonds of family and the courage it takes to confront the past.[Goodreads Summary]

A weekly meme where readers share the first sentence of the book they are reading and say what they think. Hosted by the wonderful Gillion Dumas of Rose City Reader.
She began in the first month of the lunar year. They said she was born at night, the worst time to arrive--used up all the oil in the lamp so that her father had to go next door for candles. It took hours, and it was only after muddying up swaths of motheaten sheets the neighbors had given in the last few weeks of her mother's pregnancy that she emerged.As her first wails cracked through the hot air in the attap hut, he went into the bedroom to look at her, a worm of a thing, freshly pulled out of the earth. When he saw the gap between the baby's legs, the first-time father spat, then slumped in a chair at the kitchen table, eyeing his wife as she nursed, already thinking about the next child. 
My thoughts: I am already in love with the writing, drawn in by the descriptions. I feel for that little girl as clearly her father would have preferred a boy.


A weekly meme in which readers share a random sentence or two from page 56 or 56% of the book they are reading. Hosted by the wonderful Freda of Freda's Voice.
"The men we see every day, they do their soldier's duty, their shouting and killing, glorifying our country and saving others, like yours from the white man's rule. Back home, they celebrate what their sons and fathers are doing. Even the dead go back heroes. But the women?" Here, her face turned bitter. A warped mask. "I did my duty for awhile, back home. just like you're doing. I did it until I got the chance to leave. Help set up a place to provide some comfort to the soldiers. It drives a man wild, do you know, being so far away from home like this . . ."  [excerpt from 56% of an uncorrected proof]

My thoughts: At what cost to the women?


Does this sound like something you would like to read?


 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.