Monday, January 20, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: The Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf

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


 My Top Ten Tuesday topic is the The Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf. Gift cards to a bookstore can make the best gifts for a booklover like me. I most recently got the following that have been lingering on my wish list (the photos are linked to the Goodreads page for each book):


Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything 
by Lydia Kang & Nate Pedersen


Book Love by Debbie Tung


I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of The Reading Life by Anne Bogel


Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper


Monstress, Volume Three: Haven by Marjorie M. Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda
Monstress, Volume Four: The Chosen by Marjorie M. Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda


Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dreyer


Romanov by Nadine Brandes (e-book)


The Sixth Victim (Constance Piper Mystery #1) by Tessa Harris (e-book)


 Find Me Their Bones (Bring Me Their Hearts #2) by Sara Wolf (e-book)


Have you read any of these? If so, what did you think? What books have you recently added to your bookshelves? 


© 2020, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Weekly Mews from Mouse's Corner: Unicorn Food

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








My daughter loves everything unicorn related. She was very excited when she unwrapped this particular gift on Christmas morning: Unicorn Food: Rainbow Treats and Colorful Creations to Enjoy and Admire by Cayla Gallagher.


Mouse loves to bake and went through the book as soon as she could, bookmarking all the pages of recipes she would like to try. Which, let's be honest, was pretty much all of them. Over the holiday break, she and her grandmother tried a couple of the recipes out. While they did not turn out exactly as originally designed, my mom and Mouse added their own personal touches. I did not get photos of the Gummy Bear Ice Pops--which in Mouse's version included lifesaver gummies. But I did get a photo of their Lollipop Cookie Pops, which they renamed Rainbow Cookie Pops for obvious reasons. They turned out to be very yummy!

Lollipop Cookie Pops aka Rainbow Cookie Pops 
(Mouse and her Grandmother's version)

Lollipop Cookie Pops (book version)

Mouse and I have been through the book a couple of times and she is looking forward to making many other unicorn treats. Here is a small sampling of some of the other goodies in the book (including the Gummy Bear Ice Pops). So many of them look fun and promise to be tasty!


Do you have a favorite unique cookbook? 


Currently Reading
Tales from a Not-So-Talented Pop Star (Dork Diaries #3) by Rachel Renée Russell
 Superfudge by Judy Blume
Pippi Longstocking (#1) by Astrid Lindgren, translated by Florence Lamborn, illustrated by Louis S. Glanzman


What are you reading, listening to, and watching?  I hope you have a great weekend! Happy Reading!


© 2020, 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, January 16, 2020

Where Is Your Bookmark? (Featuring The Family Next Door by Fiona Cummins)

I started and finished reading my January TBR List winner, An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris this week, and also have been reading a domestic thriller called The Family Next Door by Fiona Cummins. The Family Next Door is titled The Neighbour in other countries where it has been published. While both titles fit the book, I am not sure why it was necessary to change it just for the American version. Americanizing the spelling of "neighbour" to "neighbor" would have been easier. But what do I know?


For Sale: Lovely family home, ready for your updates. Friendly neighborhood setting close to park; secluded.

If not for the bodies discovered in the woods behind their new home, Garrick and Olivia Lockwood couldn't have afforded to buy number 25 The Avenue. It's the fresh start they and their two children badly need. Soon, these terrible crimes will be solved, they tell themselves, and once Garrick has remodeled, he's confident they'll sell the house for a profit.

But the darkest secrets can reside on quiet, ordinary streets like this--behind the doors of well-kept houses and neighbors' friendly faces. Secrets that can destroy a family, or savagely end a life, and will surface just when they're least expected . . .[Goodreads Summary]

I tend to avoid books involving serial killers these days, but I find it hard to resist a novel involving secrets, especially in the setting of an entire neighborhood. The Family Next Door follows several of the neighborhood characters, and, from what I have read so far, it seems like most have something to hide.


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.

From the Prologue:

Saturday 20th July 1985, 3:00 P.M.
18 The Avenue

GRAND REOPENING
AND 
PUPPET SHOW TODAY
At first, the children were laughing. 
The snap of crocodile teeth. A ballerina in a tutu tripping over her feet. The painted cheeks of a policeman out his breath.
The limbs of the puppets jerked with a peculiar sort of grace, and the Doll & Fancy Dress Emporium echoed with the sound of merry voices and a promise of new beginnings. 

Chapter 1:
Now
Every killing has a taste of its own.

My thoughts: That first sentence in the prologue offers a hint of foreboding before going on to paint a pleasant scene. And then there's the opening of the first chapter, which sends chills down my spine.


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.

"I'm always up for some fun." She cringed inwardly but the reaction from the boys was instantaneous. 
Charlie's face broken open in surprise and he saluted her, a new respect in his eyes. Bailey squeezed her hand, hot breath in her ear, "I knew you were one of us."
Only Marco shook his head slowly, naked disappointment on his face.  [excerpt from 56%]

My thoughts: I am only about 25% into the novel and have not yet reached this point. I can only imagine what trouble these kids are planning. Aster, the "she" in this scene, is the new kid on the block and it is obvious she isn't completely up for whatever Charlie and Bailey have in mind.


Does this sound like something you would enjoy reading?
Which cover do you like better? 


© 2020, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Books from the Backlog & Can't Wait Wednesday: I'm Not Scared/The Book of Candlelight/The Lost Book of Adana Moreau/Shall We Dance?



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!


One of the first bloggers I followed when I began blogging 13 1/2 years ago was Kimberly Forrester aka Kimbofo of Reading Matters. She was using Typepad at the time. In 2007, She featured a book called I'm Not Scared by Niccolò Ammaniti. You can find her review here. Her review was enough to convince me to buy a copy and add it to my TBR pile. It is also one of those books that I feel like I have to be in the right mood for. It sounds like a heart-wrenching and thought provoking book.


I'm Not Scared by Niccolò Ammaniti, translated by Jonathan Hunt
(Anchor, 2001)
In this immensely powerful, lyrical and skillfully narrated novel, set in southern Italy, nine year-old Michele discovers a secret so momentous, so terrible, that he daren’t tell anyone about it. 
The hottest summer of the twentieth century. A tiny community of five houses in the middle of wheat fields. While the adults shelter indoors, six children venture out on their bikes across the scorched, deserted countryside.
In the midst of that sea of golden wheat, nine year-old Michele Amitrano discovers a secret so momentous, so terrible, that he daren’t tell anyone about it. To come to terms with it he will have to draw strength from his own imagination and sense of humanity. The reader witnesses a dual story: the one that is seen through Michele's eyes, and the tragedy involving the adults of this isolated hamlet.  [Goodreads Summary]

Does this sound like something you would like to read? Have you read it? If so, what did you think?


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


The Book of Candlelight (Secret, Book, & Scone Society #3) by Ellery Adams
Release Date: 01/28/2020 by Kensington
In the new Secret, Book, and Scone Society novel from New York Times bestselling author Ellery Adams, the rain in Miracle Springs, North Carolina, has been relentless—and a flood of trouble is about to be unleashed . . .

As the owner of Miracle Books, Nora Pennington figures all the wet weather this spring is at least good for business. The local inns are packed with stranded travelers, and among them Nora finds both new customers and a new friend, the sixtysomething Sheldon, who starts helping out at the store.

Since a little rain never hurt anyone, Nora rides her bike over to the flea market one sodden day and buys a bowl from Danny, a Cherokee potter. It’ll make a great present for Nora’s EMT boyfriend, but the next day, a little rain turns into a lot of rain, and the Miracle River overflows it banks. Amid the wreckage of a collapsed footbridge, a body lies within the churning water.

Nora and the sheriff both doubt the ruling of accidental drowning, and Nora decides it’s time for the Secret, Book, and Scone Society to spring into action. When another body turns up, it becomes clearer that Danny’s death can’t be blamed on a natural disaster. A crucial clue may lie within the stone walls of the Inn of Mist and Roses: a diary, over a century old and spattered with candle wax, that leads Nora and her friends through a maze of intrigue—and onto the trail of a murderer . . . [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: Yet another series I have yet to start, but really want to. I had better hurry up before too many more books come out! I love the idea of this cozy mystery series. 


The Lost Book of Adana Moreau by Michael Zapata
Release Date: 02/04/2020 by Hanover Square Press
The mesmerizing story of a Latin American science fiction writer and the lives her lost manuscript unites decades later in post-Katrina New Orleans.

In 1929 in New Orleans, a Dominican immigrant named Adana Moreau writes a science fiction novel titled Lost City. It is a strange and beautiful novel, set in a near future where a sixteen-year-old Dominican girl, not all that unlike Adana herself, searches for a golden eternal city believed to exist somewhere on a parallel Earth. Lost City earns a modest but enthusiastic readership, and Adana begins a sequel. Then she falls gravely ill. Just before she dies, she and her son, Maxwell, destroy the only copy of the manuscript.

Decades later in Chicago, Saul Drower is cleaning out his dead grandfather’s home when he discovers a mysterious package containing a manuscript titled A Model Earth, written by none other than Adana Moreau.

Who was Adana Moreau? How did Saul’s grandfather, a Jewish immigrant born on a steamship to parents fleeing the aftershocks of the Russian Revolution, come across this unpublished, lost manuscript? Where is Adana Moreau’s mysterious son, Maxwell, a theoretical physicist, and why did Saul’s grandfather send him the manuscript as his final act in life? With the help of his friend Javier, Saul tracks down an address for Maxwell in New Orleans, which is caught at that moment in the grip of Hurricane Katrina. Unable to reach Maxwell, Saul and Javier head south through the heartland of America toward that storm-ravaged city in search of answers.

Blending the high-stakes mystery of The Shadow of the Wind, the science fiction echoes of Exit West, and the lyrical signatures of Bolaño and Márquez, Michael Zapata’s debut shines a breathtaking new light on the experiences of displacement and exile that define our nation. The Lost Book of Adana Moreau is a brilliantly layered masterpiece that announces the arrival of a bold new literary talent. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: How could I not want to read this?! Layer upon layer of mystery and intrigue! I have so many questions I need answers just reading this synopsis. 


Shall We Dance? (Dance With Me #1) by Shelley Shepard Gray
Release Date: 01/28/2020 by Blackstone Publishing
At twenty-seven, Shannon Murphy has just discovered that she has two sisters she never knew. Now, through Shannon's loving persistence, the three of them are moving in together above her dance studio in Bridgeport. Shannon is excited to make a home with her sisters and to grow her budding business. Then she meets her newest client--he has all the right muscles, a perfect smile, and a lot of attitude. Will Shannon be able to keep things professional with this charming stranger?

Dylan Lange has a lot on his mind. He's just been assigned a new partner at his job with the Bridgeport Police, and while he's busy striving to protect and serve his town, he's also trying to keep his baby sister out of harm's way while she heals from her own trauma. And on top of everything else, he's gone and lost a bet with his buddies, forcing him to take dance lessons. But when he walks into the dance studio to meet his instructor, a young and beautiful brunette with a sweet southern drawl is the last person he expected to find.

Get ready to fall in love again as Shelley Shepard Gray takes us back to Bridgeport, Ohio, where nobody gets left behind and a powerful community helps ordinary men and women to find extraordinary strength inside themselves. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: So I admit my initial interest in this novel had everything to do with the cover featuring a ballerina. It does sound like a sweet story. The dance studio aspect doesn't hurt. I am looking forward to giving this one a try.


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

 © 2020, 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, January 12, 2020

Six Degrees of Separation: Daisy Jones & the Six to On the Come Up


Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate of Books Are My Favourite and Best in which our lovely host chooses a book and participants take it from there: creating a chain of books, each connected to the one before. Seeing where we end up is half the fun! 

I have missed participating in Six Degrees of Separation and am hoping to take part more consistently this year. Sometimes the titles come easily to me, and other times I know what direction I want to go and have to do a little research. While I try to use books I have read, that isn’t always the case. If it is a book I haven’t read, I choose books that are at least on my wish list or TBR mountain.


This month’s featured book is Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, which I hadn't heard of until recently when it began popping up on so many favorite books lists for 2019. Set in the 1960’s and 1970’s, this novel tells the story of Daisy and Billy and their rise to fame in a rock band.


However loosely, I immediately thought of Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity about Rob who cannot keep a girlfriend for long and who escapes into pop music, works in a record store, and is still stuck on his last ex, Laura. The closest I have come to reading Nick Hornby is reading a couple of his essays, but I have long wanted to read this particular book. I even have a copy on my TBR shelf! From what I have read about Rob, he sounds like someone many of us can relate to, even if not his exact circumstances. At the very least, I can appreciate his love for music.


Record shops can make for great settings, especially for meeting possible love interests. It worked out that way for Natasha and Daniel in The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. Daniel is an all-around good guy. He does his best to live up to his parents high expectations, but at heart, this Korean-American boy is a poet, something his parents do not understand. Natasha, on the other hand, is all about science and facts. Her family is in the United States illegally and facing deportation to Jamaica if she cannot find an attorney to help them. The two of them seem an unlikely match, especially under the circumstances, but sometimes opposites do attract. I adored this novel and Natasha and Daniel.


The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez also features an immigrant family. Natasha in The Sun is Also a Star really knows no other life than her life in America, much like that of Mayor in The Book of Unknown Americans. The Riveras have come to the United States from Mexico so their daughter, Maribel, can get better care after a near-fatal accident that left her with a brain injury. Maribel and Mayor, her neighbor form a friendship that evolves into something more over the course of the novel. The author gives the reader a glimpse into the struggles immigrant families have in terms of adapting to a new culture, finding a place in society, and the prejudices and obstacles they may face as a result. It is an emotional read, and one I highly recommend.


It may seem quite the leap to go from The Book of Unknown Americans to RaeAnne Thayne’s Coming Home For Christmas, but both share protagonists who have suffered brain injuries. I read the latter just this past fall. Elizabeth is in a terrible car crash that leaves her with memory loss and other health issues. She has been separated from her family for seven years, them not knowing whether she is alive or dead and her afraid to reach out to them. Now that her husband has found her, she and he have a lot of healing to do. Whether that means they renew their relationship or move on from there is just one of the decisions they face. RaeAnne Thayne is one of my favorite romance authors, and this one did not disappoint.


A car accident irrevocably changed Elizabeth’s life in Coming Home For Christmas, and it was a car accident that claimed the life of Mia’s family and has left her in limbo in If I Stay by Gayle Forman. Over the course of the novel, Mia reflects on her once perfect life and must decide whether she wants to continue to live or would rather die. It is a beautifully told story, that is both heartbreaking and inspiring. Music was a big part of Mia’s life and plays a large part in this young adult novel.


Which is why I am ending with On the Come Up by Angie Thomas, a novel about a sixteen year old girl who is hoping to become a famous rapper one day. Given all the obstacles Bri faces, it looks like it will be an uphill battle, but she is determined to reach the top on her own terms. I love the sound of this book and am looking forward to eventually reading it.

It seems fitting to end the chain which began with a novel about a legendary (fictional) rock band with one about an up and coming young star. Like the first and last books, all of the books in between involve characters who are facing what at times may seem like insurmountable odds.

Whew. That was a bit like putting together a puzzle. It is fun to do, and I hope you will consider participating if you haven’t before!


Have you read any of these books?

[February's featured book is Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. Come play along!]

© 2020, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Weekly Mews: World Disasters & My January TBR List Winner

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


On Monday I sent a reluctant Mouse off to school and spent much of the school day doing laundry and working on my blog, trying to get ahead. I did not make as much progress as I hoped, but I did make some. So that's something. It was back to work on Tuesday. My new manager took the supervisor team out for lunch, which was a nice and rare treat. Mandatory overtime has started up again at my husband's workplace. It seems to be the norm this time of year. Hopefully it will not last long. The rest of the week was pretty routine. Mouse is back to her dance classes. Unfortunately the Girl Scout meeting was cancelled due to too much illness going around. It worked out for me though because it made the transition back to our regular routine a little easier than if we'd jumped back in with both feet first.

What I Am Reading: I am eager to start this month's TBR List Poll winner. I am nearly finished with Genevieve Cogman's The Secret Chapter, which I am enjoying very much. I finished my first book of the year, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. It definitely deserves all the praise my fellow bloggers have given it.

What I Am Watching: I am still making my way through The Vampire Diaries. I am about halfway through the second season. There is much I had forgotten about the early seasons of the show. We have also been watching a lot of Disney+, catching up on all the princess movies (all thanks to Mouse).

Listening To: Nothing at the moment. I do hope to start an audiobook this week. That's the plan anyway.

Worried About: Those facing the seemingly never-ending fires in Australia and everyone impacted by the earthquakes in Puerto Rico. A friend, who also is one of Mouse's former Girl Scout leaders, and her family live in Puerto Rico and have been sharing photos and reports of the damage caused and the current situation there. Some still haven't recovered from the devastating Hurricane Maria. To go from that and then seeing the damage and lives lost (animals included) in Australia, is just heartbreaking.

Closer to home, I am worried about my Great Aunt who had surgery last Tuesday to have an aortic aneurysm removed. She's being tested for pneumonia after they found fluid in her lungs yesterday. My mom is staying with her and her aunt's partner (who has early stage Alzheimer's) for a few weeks to help when her aunt gets home from the hospital.  I  also am worried about a friend who is fighting colon cancer. She had her first surgery last weekend (two more to go) and is doing well. This is just the start of her treatment. A coworker of mine (we've worked together for over 15 years) is suffering from acute leukemia of the bones and blood, and undergoing treatment for that. Prayers or healing thoughts are appreciated.

Grateful For: My friend in Puerto Rico who has raised over $1200 to help her community, especially those in desperate need of aid. I am grateful for her as well as all the other Good Samaritans out there doing what they can to help. Also for the firefighters who are risking their lives and working long hours to save Australia. And those donating time and resources to help that cause as well.

It seems silly after such serious matters to add that I am  thankful for the sticky notes my daughter leaves around the house for me, reminding me she loves me. And yet I am so grateful for her kindness and love.



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

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


Thank you to everyone who voted in this month's poll. I had four great choices I could not choose between, and I appreciate the help!


The Late Great Wizard (Wayward Mages, #1) by Sara Hanover came in 4th with 4 votes.
Spectacle (Spectacle, #1) by Jodie Lynn Zdrok came in 3rd with 6 votes.
Gilded Wolves (Gilded Wolves, #1) by Roshani Chokoshi came in 2nd with 9 votes.

 and the winner, with 11 votes, is . . .

An Easy Death (Gunnie Rose, #1) by Charlaine Harris
Set in a fractured United States, in the southwestern country now known as Texoma. A world where magic is acknowledged but mistrusted, especially by a young gunslinger named Lizbeth Rose. Battered by a run across the border to Mexico Lizbeth Rose takes a job offer from a pair of Russian wizards to be their local guide and gunnie. For the wizards, Gunnie Rose has already acquired a fearsome reputation and they’re at a desperate crossroad, even if they won’t admit it. They’re searching through the small border towns near Mexico, trying to locate a low-level magic practitioner, Oleg Karkarov. The wizards believe Oleg is a direct descendant of Grigori Rasputin, and that Oleg’s blood can save the young tsar’s life.
As the trio journey through an altered America, shattered into several countries by the assassination of Franklin Roosevelt and the Great Depression, they’re set on by enemies. It’s clear that a powerful force does not want them to succeed in their mission. Lizbeth Rose is a gunnie who has never failed a client, but her oath will test all of her skills and resolve to get them all out alive. [Goodreads Summary]

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Happy Reading!


© 2020, 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, January 09, 2020

Where Is Your Bookmark? (Once Upon a Bad Boy & 2020 Reading Challenges & Goals)



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 is the last of my reviews for my 2019 reads. I thought I would share a couple of snippets with you and my thoughts on the book.


Once Upon a Bad Boy (Sometimes in Love #3) by Melonie Johnson
St. Martin's Press, 2019
Romance; 383 pgs
Source: NetGalley

Book Beginnings:
Sprinkles. Sadie Goldovitz braced her feet on the mat, bent her knees slightly and twisted sideways, pulling her elbow back. No,Glazed.
Friday 56 (excerpt from 56%):
"Ugh, you don't get it! The tabloid people, they're not concerned with facts. Exhibit A, my invisible book job! And the people who like to read these stories aren't interested in facts either. All they need to do is skim a clickbait headline and bam, their mind is made up."
"Who cares?"
"I do! What people think of me matters. It matters to me, and it matters to my career." 
My thoughts:
The last person doughnut-loving actress Sadie Goldovitz expected to have to see again is her ex-boyfriend, Bo Ibarra. He was the love of her life and then he broke her heart, dumping her on prom night. Now he is the stunt coordinator on the movie that Sadie hopes will propel her career to a new level. Bo himself has something to prove as well. Both Bo and Sadie are carrying past hurts and secrets that perhaps it is time to finally face. Can they put the past behind them and give into the love they still feel for each other?

Melonie Johnson has fast become one of my favorite romance novelists. I was first introduced to Sadie in the first book of the series, Getting Hot With a Scot, and she made an appearance in the second book, Smitten by the Brit, as well. I admit I put off reading this one a little longer simply because I am not big on celebrity heroines, but I am so glad I finally did. I should have known Johnson wouldn't let me down. With her usual smart and witty writing style, taking on a relevant and difficult topic, Johnson  has written another winner for me. I loved Sadie's confidence and compassion. She doesn't let much get her down, and always pulls herself back up when it does. She and Bo are well matched. If you are a reader of romance, I highly recommend you check out Melonie Johnson's novels.

Does this sound like something you would like? 


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 reading challenge for 2020? (submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)

I used to go hog wild when it came to challenges, but I stepped back from them because it got to be too much. I already have so many commitments, why add to them? I am very much a mood reader and enjoy the freedom to choose what I want to read when I want to read it. At the same time, I love the community aspect that often comes with joining a challenge, and sometimes it's a great way to motivate myself to work on personal reading goals I would like to achieve. Read more poetry. Read more nonfiction. Read more of my TBR books. It can be a way to hold myself accountable. In the end these types of goals or challenges are just for fun. If I complete them, I can pat myself on the back. If I do not, that's perfectly okay--it's not like my life depends on it.

This year I joined two.

 I am already planning to read more poetry this year, and so the Poetry Reading Challenge hosted by Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit seems like a natural fit. It will help motivate me to get to some of those poetry collections that are sitting on my TBR mountain. The challenge offers three options, and I am committing to the second, to read at least one poetry collection and share my self-reflections about one or more of the poems I read from it, although I hope to read more than just one (which would be option three).

I have long enjoyed reading poetry, but sometimes find it a bit intimidating, afraid I might miss some hidden meaning in the words. Poetry is very much about the feelings it provokes in the reader (and writer), however, and that is what I try to focus on when I read it.


If you could see how many nonfiction books I have sitting on my shelf . . . Nonfiction is not my go to genre, but I do enjoy it when I read it. I just sometimes need a little push. I really want to get to Becoming and Being Mortal this year, for example. And how long has The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks been sitting unread on my shelf? So why not join the 2020 Nonfiction Reader Challenge hosted by Shelleyrae of Book'd Out? I am only entering the lowest of challenge categories, the Nonfiction Nipper, where I have to read at least three nonfiction books during the year. If I read more, great. If I only read the three, I met my goal!


As you can see, I am leaving myself quite a bit of wiggle room in both challenges. I want to keep it fun and keep the pressure light. The best of both worlds!

Are you taking part in any reading challenges this year?



Every Tuesday Heidi at Rainy Day Rambling hosts Tell Me Something Tuesday, leading a discussion about a topic of her choiceAs you can see though, it is not Tuesday, but Friday. But I wanted to play along just the same. 

What is your word or phrase for 2020? 

It was a couple of years ago or so when I decided to give the whole one word or phrase a try. I felt fairly strongly about the word I chose, but ended up forgetting about it entirely within a few months. My intentions were good, but my focus and follow-through not so much. Just for the fun of it, I took a quiz someone had posted on Facebook that was to choose my favorite word for me in December. At the time, I was feeling quite exhausted and a bit overwhelmed, and I was still recovering. I am not adopting a word or phrase for this year, but if I was to, the answer I got when I took the quiz would definitely be a good candidate. Those who read my year in review post might remember me mentioning it there. Rest. Who would have thought the algorithm of an internet quiz would pop out the one word that perhaps I needed to hear most in that moment?  At least as a reminder to remember to throw in some self-care--namely rest--now and then.

I think though, what I really want to do is to be kinder to myself. Stop giving myself a hard time when I reach my limit and recognize that it's okay that I cannot do all the things all the time. To not feel guilty when I do take a break or do something just for me--even when there are other things that could use tending to (because there is always something, isn't there?). And to be kinder with myself when my anxiety sets in and I am overthinking things. So, perhaps I do have a phrase for the New Year after all.

Did you take on a word or phrase for 2020? If so, what is it? Or perhaps you have a goal you want to work on this year? 


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


© 2020, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Books from the Backlog & Can't Wait Wednesday: A Superior Death/Bitter Falls/Diamond City/Cartier's Hope


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


A Superior Death (Anna Pigeon #2) by Nevada Barr (Berkley, 1994)
Park ranger Anna Pigeon returns, in a mystery that unfolds in and around Lake Superior, in whose chilling depths sunken treasure comes with a deadly price. In her latest mystery, Nevada Barr sends Ranger Pigeon to a new post amid the cold, deserted, and isolated beauty of Isle Royale National Park, a remote island off the coast of Michigan known for fantastic deep-water dives of wrecked sailing vessels. Leaving behind memories of the Texas high desert and the environmental scam she helped uncover, Anna is adjusting to the cool damp of Lake Superior and the spirits and lore of the northern Midwest. But when a routine application for a diving permit reveals a grisly underwater murder, Anna finds herself 260 feet below the forbidding surface of the lake, searching for the connection between a drowned man and an age-old cargo ship. Written with a naturalist's feel for the wilderness and a keen understanding of characters who thrive in extreme conditions, A Superior Death is a passionate, atmospheric page-turner. [Goodreads Summary]
I bought a copy of A Superior Death in 2005 from Barnes and Noble. I had read the first book in the series and liked it, but was not sure if it was a serious I wanted to continue. I thought I should give it a second chance. It still has not gotten its second chance, I am afraid. I love the idea of a mystery series featuring a female park ranger. I may have to revisit the first book and give this one a try finally!

Have you read this series? If so, what did you think? Does it sounds like something you would like?


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


Bitter Falls (Stillhouse Lake, #4) by Rachel Caine
Release Date: 01/21/2020 by Thomas & Mercer
She’s investigating a cold case no one else could—by going places no else would dare.
In spite of a harrowing past still haunting her, Gwen Proctor is trying to move forward. Until a new assignment gives her purpose: the cold-case disappearance of a young man in Tennessee. Three years missing, no clues. Just Ruth Landry, a tortured mother in limbo. Gwen understands what it’s like to worry about your children.
Gwen’s investigation unearths new suspects…and victims. As she follows each sinister lead, the implications of the mystery grow more disturbing. Because the closer Gwen gets, the closer she is to a threat that looms back home.
In a town that’s closed its ranks against Gwen; her partner, Sam; and her kids, there’s no bolder enemy than the Belldene family—paramilitary, criminal, powerful, and vengeful. As personal vendettas collide with Gwen’s investigation, she’s prepared to fight both battles. But is she prepared for the toll it could take on everyone she loves?  [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: I have yet to read any of the books in the series, but it is one I have wanted to start for some time now. I have enjoyed other books by Rachel Caine, and look forward to giving this one a try!


Diamond City (Diamond City #1) by Francesca Flores
Release Date: 01/28/2020 by Wednesday Books
Good things don't happen to girls who come from nothing...unless they risk everything.

Fierce and ambitious, Aina Solís as sharp as her blade and as mysterious as the blood magic she protects. After the murder of her parents, Aina takes a job as an assassin to survive and finds a new family in those like her: the unwanted and forgotten.

Her boss is brutal and cold, with a questionable sense of morality, but he provides a place for people with nowhere else to go. And makes sure they stay there.

DIAMOND CITY: built by magic, ruled by tyrants, and in desperate need of saving. It is a world full of dark forces and hidden agendas, old rivalries and lethal new enemies.

To claim a future for herself in a world that doesn't want her to survive, Aina will have to win a game of murder and conspiracy—and risk losing everything.

Full of action, romance and dark magic, book one of Francesca Flores' breathtaking fantasy duology will leave readers eager for more!
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: There's just something about a fantasy novel where the protagonist is an assassin that gets me curious every time. Aina appears to have had a hard life and is doing what she can to survive. This sounds like it will be on that keeps me turning the pages.


Cartier's Hope by M.J. Rose
Release Date: 01/28/2020 by Atria Books
New York, 1910: A city of magnificent skyscrapers and winding subways, where poor immigrants are crammed into tenements while millionaires thrive in Fifth Avenue mansions. Vera Garland is a thirty-two-year-old journalist, fighting alongside hundreds of women for a place in society, only to meet hurdles around every turn. Most female journalists are delegated to the fashion and lifestyle pages but like her hero, Nellie Bly, Vera is a fighter.
When news of the Hope Diamond—a jewel whose infamous legends and curses have captured the world’s attention—arrives in the city, Vera is fast on its trail. She’s certain the fabulous jewel will help jumpstart her career but she’s determined to seek revenge against her current employer, a magazine owner whose greed and blackmailing schemes led to the death of her beloved father.
Set against the backdrop of New York’s glitter and grit, this enchanting historical novel explores the very human desire for truth, equality, and retribution. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: I enjoy historical fiction featuring women who take on nontraditional roles. Vera Garland sounds like just one woman--or at least she's trying to be. Add in a bit of intrigue and mystery, and I cannot resist.


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

© 2020, 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.