Thursday, December 31, 2020

Books Read in 2020

Books Read In 2020

  • Miller, Madeline - The Song of Achilles (2011) - Fantasy
  • Cogman, Genevieve - The Secret Chapter (Invisible Library, #6) (2020) - Fantasy
  • Bemelmans Ludwig - Madeline's Christmas (1956) - Fiction/Children's
  • Plourde, Lynn & illustrated by Russ Cox - Merry Moosey Christmas (2014) - Fantasy/Children's 32pgs
  • Parish, Herman & illustrated by Lynne Avril - Amelia Bedelia's First Valentine (Young Amelia Bedelia)
  • Harris, Charlaine - An Easy Death (Gunnie Rose, #1) (2018) - Fantasy
  • Cummins, Fiona - The Family Next Door (2020) - Crime Fiction/Thriller
  • Harris, Charlaine - A Longer Fall (Gunnie Rose, #2) (2020) - Fantasy
  • Cannon, Janell - Stellaluna (1993) - Fiction/Children's
  • Stead, Philip C. & Erin E. Stead - A Sick Day for Amos McGee (2010) - Fiction/Children's
  • Barry, Robert - Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree (1963) - Fiction/Children's Rey, Margret & H.A. Rey - Curious George and the Puppies (1998)- Fiction/Children's Diesen, Deborah & Dan Hanna - The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School (2008) - Fiction/Children's
  • Diesen, Deborah & Dan Hanna - The Pout-Pout Fish (2008) - Fiction/Children's
  • Meltzer, Brad & Christopher Eliopoulos - I Am Rosa Parks (2014) - Nonfiction/Children's
  • Blume, Judy - Superfudge (1980) - Fiction/Middle Grade

  • Dunstall, S.K. - Stars Beyond (Stars Uncharted, #2) (2020) - Science Fiction
  • Chow, Jennifer J. - Mimi Lee Gets a Clue (A Sassy Cat Mystery #1) (2020) - Crime Fiction/Cozy
  • Barrows, Annie & Sophie Blackall - Ivy + Bean: Doomed to Dance (#6) (2009) - Fiction/Middle Grade
  • Stone, Nic - Dear Martin (2017) - Fiction/YA
  • Barrows, Annie & Sophie Blackall - Ivy + Bean: What's the Big Idea? (#7) (2010) - Fiction/Middle Grade
  • Siegal, Ida - Big News! (Emma is on the Air #1) (2015) - Fiction/Middle Grade
  • Parish, Herman & Lynne Avril - Amelia Bedelia Means Business (#1) (2013) - Fiction/Middle Grade
  • Docherty, Helen & Thomas Docherty - The Snatchabook (2013) - Fiction/Middle Grade
  • Bright, Rachel & Jim Field - The Lion Inside (2015) - Fiction/Children's
  • Katsu, Alma - The Deep (2020) - Fiction/Historical/Horror

  • Edim, Gloria (ed.) - Well-Read Black Girl (2018) - Nonfiction/Essays
  • Novak, B.J. - The Book With No Pictures (2014) - Fiction/Children's
  • Burgess, Carla - The Five Year Plan (2020) - Romance
  • Mullock, Emily - Go Away, Unicorn! (2010) - Fantasy/Children's
  • Barrows, Annie & Sophie Blackall - Ivy + Bean: No News Is Good News (#8) (2012) - Fiction/Middle Grade
  • Serle, Rebecca - In Five Years (2020) - Fiction
  • Madonna & Loren Long - Mr. Peabody's Apples (2003) - Fiction/Children's
  • Barrows, Annie & Sophie Blackall - Ivy + Bean Make the Rules (#9) (2012) - Fiction/Middle Grade


  • Barrows, Annie & Sophie Blackall - Ivy + Bean Take the Case (#10) (2013) - Fiction/Middle Grade
  • Barrows, Annie & Sophie Blackall - Ivy + Bean: One Big Happy Family (#11) (2018) - Fiction/Middle Grade
  • Addison, Esme - A Spell for Trouble (Enchanted Bay, #1) (2020) - Crime Fiction/Cozy/Paranormal
  • Green, Jacqueline Dembar - The Sound of Applause (American Girl: Rebecca #1-2) (2014) - Fiction/Historical/Middle Grade
  • Raybourn, Deanna  - A Curious Beginning (Veronica Spellwell, #1) (2015) - Crime Fiction/Historical
  • Clifford, Eth - Help! I'm a Prisoner in the Library (Jo-Beth and Mary Rose Mysteries #1) (1979) - Fiction/Middle Grade
  • Hendrix, Grady - The Southern Book Club's Guide to the Vampire Slayer (2020) - Horror
  • Conte, Cate - Witch Hunt (2020) - Crime Fiction/Cozy/Paranormal

  • Celano, Marianne, Marietta Collins, Ann Hazzard, and Jennifer Zivoin - Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story about Racial Injustice (2018) - Fiction/Children's 
  • Miller, Sharee - Don't Touch My Hair! (2018) -Fiction/Children's
  • Moreno-Garcia, Silvia - Mexican Gothic (2020) - Fiction/Horror
  • Saad, Layla F. - Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor (2020) - Nonfiction/Self-Help
  • Louis, Lia - Dear Emmie Blue (2020) - Romance
  • Thomas, Sherry - The Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock #1) (2016) - Crime Fiction/Historical
  • DiAngelo, Robin - White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism (2018) - Nonfiction


  • Cross, Juliette - Wolf Gone Wild (Stay a Spell, #1) (2020) - Romance/Fantasy
  • Kendi, Ibram X.  - How to Be an Antiracist (2019) - Nonfiction
  • Caine, Rachel - Ink and Bone (The Great Library, #1) (2015) - Fantasy
  • Hackwith, A.J. - The Library of the Unwritten (Hell's Library, #1) (2019) - Fantasy
  • Brook, Allison - Checked Out for Murder (Haunted Library, #4) (2020) - Crime Fiction/Cozy/Paranormal

  • Keene, Carolyn & Peter Francis - Big Top Flop (Nancy Drew Clue Book, #4) (2016) - Crime Fiction/Children's
  • Hansen, Lina - In My Attic (Magic Misfits, #1) (2020) - Crime Fiction/Cozy/Paranormal
  • Cross, Juliette - Don't Hex and Drive (Stay a Spell, #2) (2020) - Romance/Fantasy
  • Butler, Dori Hillestad & Aurore Damant - The Haunted Library (#1) (2014) - Fantasy/Crime Fiction/Middle Grade
  • Mlynowski, Sarah - Spill the Beans (Whatever After, #13) (2019) - Fantasy/Middle Grade
  • Butler, Dori Hillestad & Aurore Damant - The Ghost in  the Attic (The Haunted Library #2) (2014) - Fantasy/Crime Fiction/Middle Grade
  • Butler, Dori Hillestad & Aurore Damant - The Ghost Backstage (The Haunted Library #3) (2014) - Fantasy/Crime Fiction/Middle Grade
  • Butler, Dori Hillestad & Aurore Damant - The Five O'Clock Ghost (The Haunted Library #4) (2015) - Fantasy/Crime Fiction/Middle Grade
  • Butler, Dori Hillestad & Aurore Damant - The Secret Room (The Haunted Library #5) (2015)- Fantasy/Crime Fiction/Middle Grade
  • Hoffman, Alice - The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic, #0.5) (2017) - Fantasy
  • Butler, Dori Hillestad & Aurore Damant - The Ghost at the Fire Station (The Haunted Library #6) (2015) - Fantasy/Crime Fiction/Middle Grade

  • Butler, Dori Hillestad & Aurore Damant - The Ghost in the Tree House (The Haunted Library #7) (2015) - Fantasy/Crime Fiction/Middle Grade
  • Gutman, Dan & Jim Paillot (il) - Dr. Snow Has Got to Go! (My Weirder-est School #1) (2019) - Fiction/Middle Grade
  • Brecher, Christin - 15 Minutes of Flame (Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery, #3) (2020) - Crime Fiction/Cozy
  • Chapman, Linda - Team Magic (Unicorn School, #6) (2008) - Fantasy/Middle Grade
  • Butler, Dori Hillestad & Aurore Damant - The Hide-and-Seek Ghost (The Haunted Library #8) (2016) - Fantasy/Crime Fiction/Middle Grade
  • Butler, Dori Hillestad & Aurore Damant - The Ghosts at the Movie Theater (The Haunted Library #9) (2017) - Fantasy/Crime Fiction/Middle Grade
  • Novik, Naomi - A Deadly Education (Scholomance, #1) (2020) - Fantasy
  • Butler, Dori Hillestad & Aurore Damant - The Underground Ghosts (The Haunted Library #10) (2017) - Fantasy/Crime Fiction/Middle Grade
  • Wilton, Traci - Mrs. Morris and the Ghost (Salem B& B Breakfast #1) (2019) - Crime Fiction/Cozy/Paranormal
  • Applegate, Katherine & Patricia Castelao (il) - The One and Only Ivan (#1) (2012) - Fiction/Middle Grade
  • Lauren, Christina - In a Holidaze (2020) - Romance/Holiday
  • Brosgol, Vera -  Anya's Ghost (2011) - Horror/Graphic Novel/YA

  • Cleary, Beverly - Ramona and Her Mother (#5) (1979) - Fiction/Middle Grade
  • Chastain, Rebecca - Leads & Lynxes (Terra Haven Chronicles, #1) (2020) - Fantasy
  • Paterson, Katherine - Bridge to Terabithia (1977) - Fiction/Middle Grade

  • Russell, Rachel Renée - Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life (Dork Diaries #1) (2009) - Fiction/Middle Grade
  • Eason, K. - How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse  (Thorne Chronicles #1) (2019) - Science Fiction/YA
  • Craig, Erin et al - Together, Apart (2020) - Fiction/YA/Short Stories
  • Russell, Rachel Renée - Tales from a Not-So-Popular Party Girl (Dork Diaries #2) (2010) - Fiction/Middle Grade
  • Guillory, Jasmine - Royal Holiday (Wedding Date #4) (2019) - Romance/Holiday
  • Palacio, R.J. - Wonder (#1) (2012) - Fiction/Middle Grade
  • *St. James, Dorothy - The Broken Spine (Beloved Bookroom #1) (2021) - Crime Fiction/Cozy [review pending]
  • Russell, Rachel Renée - Tales from a Not-So-Talented Popstar (Dork Diaries #3) (2011) - Fiction/Middle Grade
  • Steinkellner, Emma - The Okay Witch (2019) - Fantasy/Graphic Novel/Middle Grade [review pending]
  • Alvarez, Lorena - Nightlights (#1) (2017) - Fantasy/Graphic Novel/Middle Grade [review pending]
  • Tung, Debbie - Book Love (2019) - Nonfiction/Humor/Graphic Novel [review pending]

© 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.

First Sentences of Book Read 2020

Opening sentences are our first step inside a story. Some hook us right away while others ease us in. I started keeping track of first sentences years ago. I enjoy looking back on these opening lines and seeing what memories they stir up. 

Below you will find the first sentences of books I read in 2020. 


My father was a king and the son of kings. ~ The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

"Smile and circulate," Irene said through gritted teeth, drawing her skirts back from the blood that had spattered by her feet.  ~ The Secret Chapter by Genevieve Cogman

In an old house in Paris 
That was covered with vines
Lived twelve little girls
In two straight lines.  ~ Madeline's Christmas by Ludwig Bemelmans

Everyone deserves a holiday break. ~ Merry Moosey Christmas by Lynn Plourde

Amelia Bedelia saw hearts everywhere. ~ Amelia Bedelia's First Valentine by Herman Parish

In the morning I got Chrissie to cut off all my hair. ~ An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris

At first, the children were laughing. ~ The Family Next Door by Fiona Cummins

It had been a long time since I was on a train, and I found I hadn't missed it a bit. ~ A Longer Fall by Charlaine Harris

In a warm and sultry forest, far, far away, there once lived a mother fruit bat and her new baby. ~ Stellaluna by Janell Cannon

Amos McGree was an early riser. ~ A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead

Mr. Willowby's Christmas tree
Came by special delivery. ~ Mr. Willowby's Christmas by Robert Barry

This is George. ~ Curious George and the Puppies by Margret Rey & H.A. Rey

A long time ago,
When Mr. Fish was very small,
He headed off to school
For the first time of all. ~ The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School by Deborah Diesen

Deep in the water
Where the fish hang out
Lives a glum gloomy swimmer
 With an ever-present pout. ~ The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen

I am Rosa Parks. ~ I Am Rosa Parks by Brad Meltzer

Life was going along okay when my mother and father dropped the news. ~ Superfudge  by Judy Blume

It might have been coincidence--the chairman of Eaglehawk Company standing in the foyer of the Grande Hotel, watching the news vid on the three-floor-high screen--but Leonard Wickmore didn't believe in coincidence. ~ Stars Beyond by S.K. Dunstall

I stood in the warm L.A. sunshine, admiring the marquee sign above my store. ~ Mimi Lee Gets a Clue by Jennifer J. Chow

It was a book that started all the trouble. ~ Ivy + Bean: Doomed to Dance by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall

From where he's standing across the street, Justyce can see her: Melo Taylor, ex-girlfriend, slumped over beside her Benz on the damp concrete of the Farm-Fresh parking lot. ~ Dear Martin by Nic Stone

There had been a problem in Bean's house. ~ Ivy + Bean: What's the Big Idea? by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall

If you have to do a chore, you might as well set a the table. ~ Big News! (Emma is on the Air #1) by Ida Siegal

Amelia Bedelia never meant to lead a pack of dogs on a wild goose chase. ~ Amelia Bedelia Means Business by Herman Parish

One dark, dark night in Barrow Down,
a rabbit named Eliza Brown
found a book and settled down. ~ The Snatchabook by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty

In a dry, dusty place where
the sand sparkled gold,
Stood a might flat rock --
all craggy and old. ~ The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright

For a moment, the falling feels like something else entirely--like a brief, wild glimpse of freedom. ~ The Deep by Alma Katsu

All the books in my library hold a memory. ~ Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim (ed)

This is a book with no pictures. ~ The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

'How did you get invited to this exhibition, Orla?' ~ The Five Year Plan by Carla Burgess

Alice met the unicorn at her tenth birthday party in the park. ~ Go Away, Unicorn! by Emily Mullock

Bean looked around the lunch table. ~ Ivy + Bean: No News is Good News by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall

Twenty-five. ~ In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

In the town of Happville (which wasn't a very big town), Mr. Peabody was congratulating his Little League team on a great game. ~ Mr. Peabody's Apples by Madonna

"Girls are strong!" ~ Ivy + Bean Make the Rules by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall

That doesn't sound like a school trivia night," said Mrs. Patty Ponder to Marie Antoinette." ~ Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

A puppy is  puppy is  puppy. ~ Dog Songs by Mary Oliver

When Nory Horace turned into a koat, she had the body of a black kitten and the head of a tiny goat. ~ Sticks & Stones by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle & Emily Jenkins

Rhyme relies on repetition: pink drink,
big wig, tramp stamp, rank skank. ~ Girls Like Us by Elizabeth Hazen

Today is Tết,the first day of the lunar calendar. ~ Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhaa Lai

Where is Daniel Ahern? ~ Starbreaker by Amanda Bouchet

Bean wasn't allowed to watch television. ~ Ivy + Bean Take the Case by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall

"My Important People," wrote Bean at the top of her paper. ~ Ivy + Bean: One Big Happy Family (#11) by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall

The house at 136 Cypress Lane didn't look like trouble--quite the opposite. ~ A Spell for Trouble by Esme Addison

Rebecca Rubin tugged at her wooden doll until the top and bottom pulled apart to reveal a smaller doll nesting inside. ~ Rebecca: The Sound of Applause by Jacqueline Dembar Greene

I stared down into the open grave and wished that I could summon a tear. ~ A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

The whole thing was really Onetree's fault. ~ Help! I'm a Prisoner in the Library by Eth Clifford

This story ends in blood. ~ The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Something was in the air. ~ Witch Hunt by Cate Conte

Something bad happened in our town. ~ Something Happened In Our Town by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, Ann Hazzard, and Jennifer Zivoin

I'm Aria, and this is my hair. ~ Don't Touch My Hair! by Sharee Miller

The parties at the Tunons' huose always ended unquestionably late, and since the hosts enjoyed  costume parties in particular, it was not unusual to see Chinas Poblanas with their folklore skirts and ribbons in their hair arrive in the company of a harlequin or a cowboy. ~ Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

How did you feel the first time you saw the title of this book? ~ Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad

I was ready; so ready for him to ask me. ~ Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis

Had anyone told Honorable Harrington Sackville that the investigation into his death would make the name Sherlock Holmes known throughout the land, Mr. Sackville would have scoffed. ~ The Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

I am a white woman. ~ White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

I stole a glove. ~ Westside by W.M. Akers

I am a cat. ~ The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

"Would you like another beer?" ~ Wolf Gone Wild by Juliette Cross

I despised suites and ties. ~ How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

"Hold still and stop fighting me," his father said, and slapped him hard enough to leave a mark. ~ Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Books ran when they grew restless, when they grew unruly, or when they grew real. ~ The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith

"More coffee?" I asked Dylan as I got up from the table to pour us both a refill. ~ Checked Out for Murder by Allison Brook

"The best part of spring is spring break!" George Fayne said. ~ Big Top Flop by Carolyn Keene

My aunt lay dead and I was lost in her life. ~ In My Attic by Lina Hansen

I was thinking about purple pansies when it happened. ~ Don't Hex and Drive by Juliette Cross

Kaz floated nervously back and forth in front of the dusty classroom wall. ~ The Haunted Library by Dori Hillestad Butler

You know when something is bothering you and you can't stop thinking about? Spill the Beans by Sarah Mlynowski

"What's the matter, Kaz?" Claire asked as she shook the dice in her hand. ~ The Ghost in the Attic by Dori Hillestad Butler

Cuckoo! ~ The Ghost Backstage by Dori Hillestad Butler

"Woof!" ~ The Five O'Clock Ghost by Dori Hillestad Butler

"Kaz!" Little John called from behind the wall of books. ~ The Secret Room by Dori Hillestad Butler

Once upon a time, before the whole world changed, it was possible to run away from home, disguise who you were, and fit into polite society. ~ The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Claire's phone buzzed during dinner, interrupting a big conversation her parents were having. ~ The Ghost at the Fire Station by Dori Hillestad Butler

"Who left the TV on in here again?" Mr. Kendall grumbled as he wandered into the living room. ~ The Ghost in the Tree House by Dori Hillestad Butler

My name is A.J. and I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. ~ Dr. Snow Has Got to Go! by Dan Gutman

Saturday morning, I was lounging in my backyard and enjoying a little sun. ~ 15 Minutes of Flame by Christin Brecher

The Sun shone down on the glittering, pearly - white turrets of Unicorn School. ~ Team Magic by Linda Chapman

"One . . . two . . . three . . . GLOW!" Little John shouted. ~ The Hide-and-Seek Ghost by Dori Hillestad Butler

"You guys! Come quick!" Little John shouted as he swam into Claire's living room. ~ The Ghosts at the Movie Theater by Dori Hillestad Butler

I decided that Orion needed to die after the second time he saved my life. ~ A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

"Look, Kaz!" Little John gazed out Claire's window. ~ The Underground Ghosts by Dori Killestad Butler

Charlene Morris may be impulsive sometimes, but crazy she was not. ~ Mrs. Morris and the Ghost by Traci Wilton

I am Ivan. ~ The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Call me a harlot. ~ In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

Krak! ~ Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

"When will they be here?" asked Ramona Quimby, who was supposed to be dusting the living room but instead was twirling around trying to make herself dizzy. ~ Ramona and Her Mother by Beverly Cleary

I craned to see the everlasting tree through the press of people, a familiar excitement humming through my veins. ~ Leads & Lynxes by Rebecca Chastain

Ba-room, ba-room, ba-room, baripity, baripity, baripity, baripity ~ Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Sometimes I wonder if my mom is BRAIN DEAD. Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renée Russell

They named the child Rory, because the firstborn of every generation was always a Rory, and had been since the first of that name had cut his way through the cursed briars on the homeworld and saved the kingdom of Thorne--and, incidentally, the princess--from the consequences of poor manners. ~ How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason

"This is it!" Mom said brightly, opening the door to my new room with a grand, ceremonial swing. ~ Together, Apart by Erin Craig et al

I can't believe this is happening to me! Tales from a Not-So-Popular Party Girl by Rachel Renée Russell

Vivian nudged her daughter as they walked out of the customs area at Heathrow Airport. ~ Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

I know I'm not an ordinary ten-year-old kid. ~ Wonder by R.J. Palacio

No one in the moderately sized rural southern town of Cypress would ever suspect their stalwart assistant librarian of breaking into the library where she worked. ~ The Broken Spine by Dorothy St. James

OMG! ~ Tales From a Not-So-Talented Pop Star by Rachel Renée Russell

Mwaaah-hah-hahah-haaaaaa!!! ~ The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner

Sandy! ~ Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez

Books can take you to magical places. ~ Book Love by Debbie Tung

© 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, December 29, 2020

My 2021 Reading Challenges

At the beginning of each new year, I often feel ambitious. Read more poetry. Read more nonfiction. Read more of my TBR books. Catch up on my series reading. Catch up on my review reading. Read more in general. More often than not I fall short because I want to do all these things and then real life (and sometimes my reading mood) gets in the way. 

Here I am though, planning big. This past year, I had difficulty focusing on reading and seemed to thrive on lighter, less complicated reading fare. My best guess is that this coming year will not be much different. There are still many challenges ahead of us. And yet I feel the need to add some sort of structure to my reading--to a small degree anyway. My goal is always to have fun while reading, and I am excited about taking part in the following reading challenges.

(I am including some book possibilities for each challenge--which are just that, possibilities.)

I have been craving historical fiction. Not that I need an excuse to read it. Joining the 2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge hosted by Marg, the The Intrepid Reader, will be a fun way to give myself an extra boost of encouragement. The Victorian level (5 books) sounds right up my alley. 

Possible reading choices

Remembrance Rita Woods
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Treacherous is the Night (Verity Kent #2) Anna Lee Huber
Opium and Absinthe by Lydia Kang
Three Souls by Janie Chang
Daughter of Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
The Hummingbird's Diary by Luis Alberto Urrea
Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March

I also will be taking part in the 2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge hosted by Shelleyrae of Book'd Out. My shelves of unread nonfiction books have been calling to me, and I am hoping this challenge will help motivate me to clear a few off. I am taking on the Nonfiction Nibbler level with plans to read 6 nonfiction books over the course of the year.

Possible reading choices

Becoming by Michelle Obama
Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks by Annie Spence
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers Who Helped Win World War II by Liza Mundy
The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
The Princess Spy: The True Story of World War II Spy Aline Griffith, Countess of Romanones by Larry Loftis
Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Of course I will be taking part in the 2021 Poetry Challenge hosted by Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit again! My goal is to read at least 3 books of poetry and feature them on my blog. I have a subscription to Poetry Magazine and hope to find a poem or two I can share on my blog from time to time as well. 

Possible reading choices

In the Lateness of the World by Carolyn Forché 
The Death of Sitting Bear by N. Scott Momaday
Bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward
All Cats Are Introverts by Francesco Marciuliano
Great Goddesses: Life Lessons from Myths and Monsters by Nikita Gill
Of Yesteryear by Lauren Eden

I am excited about this year's Clean Out Your E-Reader Challenge (COYER) hosted by Michelle and Berls of Because Reading Is Better Than Real Life. This coming year it will last all year long and is being split into seasons. Participants can take part in one, some, or all of the seasons. For details check out the sign up page for the COYER challenge. The Winter COYER Challenge (January & February) follows the more strict COYER rules: for books to count toward the challenge, they must be in electronic format (e-books or audiobooks). Books read must be free or nearly free. This includes review books and books under $2 (audiobooks under $5). 

I am keeping it simple because low pressure is my goal for this next year. My aim is to read four review e-books for Winter COYER. If I manage more, even better!

Possible reading choices

The Dark Archive (Invisible Library #7) by Genevieve Cogman
How to Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole
The Russian Cage (Gunnie Rose #3) by Charlaine Harris
The Ruthless Lady's Guide to Wizardy by C.M. Waggoner
Murder in the East End (Kat Holloway Mystery #4) by Jennifer Ashley
A Glimmer of Death (#1) by Valerie Wilson Wesley
Fairy Godmother, Inc. (#1) by Saranna DeWylde
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
Etched in Bone (The Others, #5) by Anne Bishop

Just one more. I love the name of the Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge and decided this coming year would be a good year to participate. Mysteries usually are near the top of the number of books I read, but this year that was not the case. I love mysteries and hope to change that next year. Joining the Cloak and Dagger Challenge hosted by Carol of Carol's Notebook is an added incentive! Like with the other challenges I am joining in 2021, I am aiming low. I will be participating at the Amateur Sleuth level, reading between 5 to 15 mysteries. I like that the challenge allows for a broad range of subgenres. 

Possible reading choices

No Graves As Yet (#1) by Anne Perry
One by One by Ruth Ware
Bait and Witch (#1) by Angela Sanders
Death of an Unsung Hero (Lady Montfort #4) by Tessa Arlen
The Body Under the Piano (Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen #1) by Marthe Jocelyn
The Girl Who Knew Too Much (Burning Cove #1) by Amanda Quick
The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins
Death at a Country Mansion (Daisy Thorne #1) by Louise R. Innes
Magpie Murders (Susan Ryeland #1) by Anthony Horowitz

Do you have any reading goals for the new year? Are you taking part in any challenges? 

© 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.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Mini Bookish Mewsings: Royal Holiday / Wonder

Vivian nudged her daughter as they walked out of the customs area at Heathrow Airport. ~ Opening of Royal Holiday

Royal Holiday 
by Jasmine Guillory 
Berkley, 2019
Romance/Holiday; 304 pgs
Source: NetGalley for an honest review. 

Vivian Forest's daughter Maddie will not take no for an answer when she asks her mother to spend Christmas with her in England while she is on assignment to design and dress a Duchess. Facing a possible promotion that will tie her up time-wise, Vivian plans to take full advantage of her stay in England. What she doesn't expect is to meet the charming Malcolm Hudson, the Queen's Private Secretary. The two hit it off right away and the more time they spend together, they closer they become. However, they both know their any relationship they have will be short lived. They both have their own lives to live--and an ocean between them. 

Royal Holiday is a sweet holiday romance between two middle-aged people (yay!). Malcolm and Vivian are such nice people. Although I enjoyed their time getting to know each other at the Sandringham Estate, it felt like something was missing. I wanted a tad more complexity--to the characters and their overall story. I think the author attempts that toward the end of the novel with Malcolm and his nephew, Vivian and her promotion and then their sudden realization that their time together is coming to an end--something they hadn't even talked about before then. And yet, I still found Royal Holiday to be a delightful read in it's own way. It made me smile and I wanted to keep reading. I enjoyed my time with Vivian and Malcolm (and especially wish I could sample Julia's cooking!). I have heard the author's earlier books in the series are better, and I look forward to finding out for myself. 

I know I'm not an ordinary ten-year-old kid. ~ Opening of Wonder
Wonder (Wonder #1) by R.J. Palacio
Alfred A. Knopf, 2012
Fiction/Middle Grade; 315 pgs
Source: Purchased
I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse. 

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. Wonder, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. [Goodreads Summary]
I have wanted to read Wonder for awhile now, but it was not until my daughter's 4th grade class began reading it this fall that I decided I would pick it up too. 

Is it any wonder this is one of my favorite books this year? Well-written, with genuine and relatable characters that I instantly loved. I am so glad my daughter was required to read Wonder for school. It touches on quite a few real life experiences and lessons that I think most kids around her age can relate to--and even us as adults too. As we compared notes about the novel, it also opened the door to more in-depth discussions.

This is one of those books that I have so much to say about, and yet I am not quite sure how to put it into writing. I had all the feels while reading this novel--I laughed, I cried  (both out of sadness and joy), I got angry, and felt so proud of some of the characters. If I had to name a favorite character of all those I "met" this year, it would be Auggie. He's just an ordinary boy, just being himself. He, his family, and his friends touched my heart. Especially in a year when all the negativity seems amplified, Wonder, with its message of kindness, acceptance, understanding and respect, stands out even more. 

© 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, December 27, 2020

Mini Bookish Mewsings: How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse / Together, Apart / Anya's Ghost

They named the child Rory, because the firstborn of every generation was always a Rory, and had been since the first of that name had cut his way through the cursed briars on the homeworld and saved the kingdom of Thorne--and, incidentally, the princess--from the consequences of poor manners. ~ Opening of How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse (The Thorne Chronicles #1) by K. Eason 
DAW, 2019
Science Fiction/YA, 416 pgs
Source: NetGalley for an honest review.

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse was such a fun read. Taking on several fairytale tropes and wrapping it up in a Science Fiction novel, K. Eason's first novel in this duology tells the story of Princess Rory Thorne, gifted with thirteen fairy blessings, one of which gives her the ability to see beyond the lies and platitudes. After her father the king is assassinated, she is to marry a prince of another world for political reasons. An ambitious Regent standing in for the prince until he becomes of age is hellbent on holding onto the power for himself. Rory is no damsel in distress, and with a small group of allies, she is determined not to let the Regent have his way. 

I was immediately pulled into the novel and liked Rory right away. She is a headstrong and clever young woman. Add in a well-developed cast of secondary characters who help make this novel what it is. From the writing to the characters, to the high stakes, occasional action, and carefully orchestrated political maneuvering, Eason's novel kept me entertained and has me eager to read the second book.

"This is it!" Mom said brightly, opening the door to my new room with a grand, ceremonial swing. ~ Opening of "Love, Delivered" by Erin A. Craig in Together, Apart

Together, Apart by Erin A. Craig, Auriane Desombre, Erin Hahn, Bill Konigsberg, Rachel Lippincott, Brittney Morris, Sajni Patel, Natasha Preston, Natasha Preston, & Jennifer Yen 
Delacorte Press, 2020
Fiction/YA; 288 pgs
Source: NetGalley for an honest review.

Several authors come together in this collection to share short stories set during the current pandemic. There's a definite sense of melancholy given the situation, but there's also a sense of hope in the connections the characters are able to make even despite the circumstances. I enjoyed each of these stories, relating to their feelings of frustration at being cooped up and enjoying the creative ways they made new friends--and even found love--while taking precautions and being safe. Whether flirting to the cute boy on the balcony across the way, falling for the pizza delivery boy, connecting with someone while out walking the dog, or bonding in an oak tree, among other ways, these stories capture our reality and that we really aren't alone in this.

Krak! ~ Opening of Anya's Ghost

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol
First Second, 2011
Fiction/Graphic Novel/YA; 221 pgs
Source: Purchased

Vera Brosgol's graphic novel Anya's Ghost is about a teenager who just wants a friend. Her life isn't going the way she would like. Anya is ashamed of her immigrant parents and traditions, and only wants to fit in with the others in her school. A ghost Anya meets after falling into a well find a way to escape the well herself by tagging along with Anya when she is rescued. As Anya gets to know the ghost, she thinks perhaps she's met the answer to her problems. It soon becomes obvious that there is more the ghost's story than the ghost has let on.

There is a definite creepy factor to Anya's Ghost. Anya is an interesting character, insecure and full of angst, who grows over the course of the novel. The artwork is well done and enhances the dialogue. This graphic novel was a bit darker than I anticipated, but I thoroughly enjoyed it--probably more so as a result. 

© 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, December 24, 2020

Season's Greetings!

Merry Christmas everyone! 

My thoughts are with you all this holiday, wishing you safe and well. 

To all those (like us) who are unable to be with loved ones this year, know that we are together in spirit. 

Big hugs to my friends and family who have lost someone and are missing them especially hard right now. 

May the New Year bring you peace, love and good health.

© 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, December 17, 2020

Where Is Your Bookmark? (Goodbye Dreadful Week, A Peek Into A Royal Holiday & My Winter TBR List)

It has been a long week, and I am very much looking forward to the week off from work and school (my daughter's). It was a difficult week at work in more ways than one. If you have children, please check in with them. Make sure they are okay. I know it isn't as simple a solution as that, but please do it anyway. Some of you who follow me on Facebook or Twitter may have already heard me talk about my coworker who lost his life because of COVID-19 on Tuesday. It feels like it happened so fast. Two weeks ago he was all smiles and his kindhearted positive self. It just doesn't seem real that he's gone. I also got news this week that my grandmother tested positive for the virus. You may remember me mentioning a few weeks ago about how it had been spreading around the long-term care facility in which she resides. You can imagine my concern for her well-being--and all the other residents and staff there. I know so many have been impacted by the pandemic, whether losing loved ones, suffering their own health (physical and mental) issues, or having financial difficulties. It all sucks. I hate it and I am tired. Oh so tired. 

My daughter has been giving me an overdose in hugs (not a bad thing, mind you), which I appreciate. And I am taking comfort in my current read. It's an escape out of my head for a little while, anyway. It's my first Jasmine Guillory book, although I believe the 4th in the series. Each one stands alone well, so I wasn't worried about that. I am enjoying reading a Royal Holiday, and like that it features a romance between two middle-aged people. There's something refreshing about that. It is sweet so far, and I am enjoying it.

New York Times bestselling author Jasmine Guillory makes her hardcover debut with a heartwarming Christmas romance. 

Vivian Forest has been out of the country a grand total of one time, so when she gets the chance to tag along on her daughter Maddie's work trip to England to style a royal family member, she can't refuse. She's excited to spend the holidays taking in the magnificent British sights, but what she doesn't expect is to become instantly attracted to a certain Private Secretary and his charming accent and unyielding formality. 

Malcolm Hudson has been the Queen's Private Secretary for years and has never given a personal, private tour...until now. He is intrigued by Vivian the moment he meets her and finds himself making excuses just to spend time with her. When flirtatious banter turns into a kiss under the mistletoe, things snowball into a full-on fling. 

Despite a ticking timer on their holiday romance, they are completely fine with ending their short, steamy fling come New Year's Day...or are they? [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 amazing Gillion Dumas of Rose City Reader.

Vivian nudged her daughter as they walked out of the customs area at Heathrow Airport.

"Um, Maddie? Do you think Ms. M. Forest and Ms. V. Forest are us?"

Vivian gestured at the man in the suit, holding a sign with their names on it.

Maddie turned in the direction Vivian was looking and grinned at her mother.

"Let's do this, Mom." [opening of Royal Holiday]

Initial thoughts: I like how the novel jumps right in with Vivian and her daughter arriving in England, and I'm right there with Maddie when she says, "Let's do this, Mom." I was ready!

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.

She never should have stayed. Why had she listened to her daughter? [excerpt from 56% of Royal Holiday]

My thoughts: Uh oh. What's happened?! As I write this, I have not reached this point in the book, and so I haven't a clue what is going on. Last I left Vivian, she was having a marvelous time. I must find out!  Excuse me while I get back to my reading.

Have you read Royal Holiday? Does it sound like something you would enjoy? 

Following the example of  Maria from ReadingMaria who started 
the Last Year I Was Reading feature, I will be looking back to what 
I was reading around this time last year and comparing it to what I am reading now. 

A year ago this week my daughter and I were catching up on the Ivy + Bean series  by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall. We also re-read this little gem, Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon written by Patty Lovell & illustrated by David Catrow. It is one of my favorites of Mouse's picture books about having confidence in oneself and celebrating our differences. 

My daughter is much less interested in books meant for younger readers these days and so Molly Lou is out and Nikki Maxwell (Dork Diaries) is in. Fortunately for me, she still enjoys reading with me from time to time. She's been introducing me to Nikki and friends as we read through the Dork Diaries series together (her second time around and my first). We have read the first two books together so far. Whereas Molly Lou was full of confidence, Nikki has very little. But both girls learn the value of being true to themselves. Well, maybe Nikki in a more round about way . . .
And of course I am also reading this month's TBR List poll winner, Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory, which is proving to be a delightful read. It's quite different from Mouse's and my reading.

*                    *                    *

Five Years Ago I Was Reading

The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat

Connect Five Friday is a weekly meme where readers share 
a list of five books, read or unread, or bookish things, that 
share a common theme. Hosted by the  Kathryn of of Book Date.

Winter is coming. It is just a few days away. I am not the best at sticking with reading lists even as much as I enjoy making them. But this time of year seems like the time for making lists, and so here are five books I would like to read this winter. At least as of this moment.  

The Black Witch (The Black Witch Chronicles #1)
~ I have wanted to read this series since it first came out. I cannot resist a novel about witches. Coming in at 601 pages, I have been putting it off though. Winter seems like a good time for long books--so perhaps it's time. 
A new Black Witch will rise…her powers vast beyond imagining.

Elloren Gardner is the granddaughter of the last prophesied Black Witch, Carnissa Gardner, who drove back the enemy forces and saved the Gardnerian people during the Realm War. But while she is the absolute spitting image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.

When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren joins her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University to embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But she soon realizes that the university, which admits all manner of people—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of all Gardnerians—is a treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

As evil looms on the horizon and the pressure to live up to her heritage builds, everything Elloren thought she knew will be challenged and torn away. Her best hope of survival may be among the most unlikely band of rebels…if only she can find the courage to trust those she’s been taught to fear.
[Goodreads Summary]

by Madeline Miller
~ The Song of Achilles was my first book of 2019 and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's tempting to make Circe my first book of 2021. It's certainly a contender for the spot!
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child - not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power - the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.
[Goodreads Summary]

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
by Bryan Stevenson
~ A must read if ever there was one. I had hoped to get to this one this past summer. Perhaps now is the time.
An unforgettable true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to end mass incarceration in America — from one of the most inspiring lawyers of our time.

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit law office in Montgomery, Alabama, dedicated to defending the poor, the incarcerated, and the wrongly condemned.

Just Mercy tells the story of EJI, from the early days with a small staff facing the nation’s highest death sentencing and execution rates, through a successful campaign to challenge the cruel practice of sentencing children to die in prison, to revolutionary projects designed to confront Americans with our history of racial injustice.

One of EJI’s first clients was Walter McMillian, a young Black man who was sentenced to die for the murder of a young white woman that he didn’t commit. The case exemplifies how the death penalty in America is a direct descendant of lynching — a system that treats the rich and guilty better than the poor and innocent.
[Goodreads Summary]

A Great Deliverance
(Inspector Lynley #1) by Elizabeth George
~ This has been on my TBR shelf forever. I think I have the entire series. At least most of it. And all but one in the series are unread. How does this happen?! It has been awhile since I dived into a police procedural mystery, and as I was pulling books from my shelves to donate, I came to this one and decided I really need to read it!
To this day, the low, thin wail of an infant can be heard in Keldale's lush green valleys. Three hundred years ago, as legend goes, the frightened Yorkshire villagers smothered a crying babe in Keldale Abbey, where they'd hidden to escape the ravages of Cromwell's raiders.

Now into Keldale's pastoral web of old houses and older secrets comes Scotland Yard Inspector Thomas Lynley, the eighth earl of Asherton. Along with the redoubtable Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, Lynley has been sent to solve a savage murder that has stunned the peaceful countryside. For fat, unlovely Roberta Teys has been found in her best dress, an axe in her lap, seated in the old stone barn beside her father's headless corpse. Her first and last words were "I did it. And I'm not sorry."

Yet as Lynley and Havers wind their way through Keldale's dark labyrinth of secret scandals and appalling crimes, they uncover a shattering series of revelations that will reverberate through this tranquil English valley—and in their own lives as well.
[Goodreads Summary]

The Arctic Fury
by Greer Macallister
~ This sounds like an intriguing winter read given the setting. I enjoyed Macallister's The Magician's Lie and Girl in Disguise and am eager to read more by her. 
A dozen women join a secret 1850s Arctic expedition—and a sensational murder trial unfolds when some of them don't come back.

Eccentric Lady Jane Franklin makes an outlandish offer to adventurer Virginia Reeve: take a dozen women, trek into the Arctic, and find her husband's lost expedition. Four parties have failed to find him, and Lady Franklin wants a radical new approach: put the women in charge.

A year later, Virginia stands trial for murder. Survivors of the expedition willing to publicly support her sit in the front row. There are only five. What happened out there on the ice?

Set against the unforgiving backgdrop of one of the world's most inhospitable locations,
USA Today bestsellng author Greer Macallister uses the true story of Lady Jane Franklin's tireless attempts to find her husband's lost expedition as a jumping-off point to spin a tale of bravely, intrigue, perseverance and hope. [Goodreads Summary]

Have you read any of these? What did you think? What books are you hoping to get to this winter season? 

 I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Stay safe and take care.  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.