Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Waiting to Read Wednesday: The Mermaid from Jeju & Day One


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 Mermaid from Jeju
by Sumi Hahn
Release Date: December 8, 2020 by Crooked Lane Books
In the tradition of Yangsze Choo's Night Tiger and Min Jin Lee's Pachinko comes a magical saga that explores what it really means to love.

In the aftermath of World War II, Goh Junja is a girl just coming into her own. She is the latest successful deep sea diver in a family of strong haenyeo. Confident she is a woman now, Junja urges her mother to allow her to make the Goh family's annual trip to Mt. Halla, where they trade abalone and other sea delicacies for pork. Junja, a sea village girl, has never been to the mountains, where it smells like mushrooms and earth, and it is there she falls in love with a mountain boy Yang Suwol, who rescues her after a particularly harrowing journey. But when Junja returns one day later, it is just in time to see her mother take her last breath, beaten by the waves during a dive she was taking in Junja's place.

Spiraling in grief, Junja sees her younger siblings sent to live with their estranged father, Suwol is gone, the ghost of her mother haunts their home--from the meticulously tended herb garden that has now begun to sprout weeds, to the field where their bed sheets are beaten. She has only her grandmother and herself. But the world moves on without Junja.

The political climate is perilous. Still reeling from Japan's forced withdrawal from the peninsula, Korea is forced to accommodate the rapid establishment of US troops, and her grandmother, who lived through the Japanese invasion that led to Korea's occupation understands the signs of danger all too well. When Suwol is arrested for working with and harboring communists, and the perils of post-WWII overtake her homelands, Junja must learn to navigate a tumultuous world unlike anything she's ever known. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: Everything about this book calls to me. I love historical fiction and this sounds like such a heartbreaking novel that will bring tears to my eyes more than once. I can't wait to read it.


Does The Mermaid from Jeju interest you? What upcoming release are you looking forward to reading?


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!


Day One
by Nate Kenyon
(Thomas Dunne Books, 2013)
Cloverfield meets The Terminator in this story of one man's escape from New York City as technology becomes sentient

Scandal-plagued hacker journalist John Hawke is hot on the trail of the explosive story that might save his career. James Weller, the former CEO of giant technology company Eclipse, has founded a new start-up, and he’s agreed to let Hawke do a profile on him. Hawke knows something very big is in the works at Eclipse---and he wants to use the profile as a foot in the door to find out more.

After he arrives in Weller’s office in New York City, a seemingly normal day quickly turns into a nightmare as anything with an Internet connection begins to malfunction. Hawke receives a call from his frantic wife just before the phones go dead. Soon he and a small band of survivors are struggling for their very lives as they find themselves thrust into the middle of a war zone---with no obvious enemy in sight.

The bridges and tunnels have been destroyed. New York City is under attack from a deadly and brilliant enemy that can be anywhere and can occupy anything with a computer chip. Somehow Hawke must find a way back to his pregnant wife and young son. Their lives depend upon it . . . and so does the rest of the human race.
[Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: It is always my intent to read more science fiction. I do enjoy it. This one has a bit of a horror sci fi vibe. I picked up a copy of this one on 2013 and added it to my TBR shelf. It sounded like quite the page turner. And still does. 


Have you read Day One? Does this book sound like something you would like to read? 


© 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, October 25, 2020

My Bookish Mewings: 15 Minutes of Flame by Christin Brecher / Mrs. Morris and the Ghost by Traci Wilton



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

15 Minutes of Flame (Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery, #3) by Christin Brecher
Kensington, 2020
Crime Fiction/Cozy; 304 pgs
Source: From the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

15 Minutes of Flame is the first book in the Nantucket Candle Maker series featuring Stella Wright. This was a perfect reading choice given the Halloween season. Stella had agreed to help put together this year's annual Halloween fundraiser which will take place at an old creepy abandoned home in Nantucket. When she discovers the skeleton in a boarded up shack on the property, suddenly rumors of ghosts and murder take flight. 

As the police and historians look into the matter, Stella herself cannot help but be intrigued. Was the woman's death over 100 years ago related to a theft and possible suicide of the woman's best friend? What of the man they both loved? And then a more modern murder shakes everyone up--how could it be tied to the death of the woman found in the shack? Or is it?  The police and Stella have their hands full as they try to unravel the clues in this cozy mystery.

I enjoyed every minute of 15 Minutes of Flame. Author Christin Brecher had me from the first sentence. I felt right at home in Nantucket and enjoyed the descriptions of Stella's candles. I would love to browse her shop and pick up a few of her themed candles! Stella is a great character--smart and resourceful. I did question her judgement a couple of times, however (of which my husband got an earful--and I will likely be talking about for some time to come because it hit on one of my pet peeves). While I never felt I was lost or missing something by starting with the third book in the series, I do have to wonder if there is some history between Stella and Andy. I suspected just about everyone in the book at some point or another and felt the author did a good job of weaving the history of the island in while building up suspense and keeping the readers (and characters) on our toes. I definitely hope to read more in this series at some point.


Charlene Morris may be impulsive sometimes, but crazy she was not. ~ Opening from Mrs. Morris and the Ghost
Mrs. Morris and the Ghost (A Salem B&B Mystery #1) by Traci Wilton
Kensington, 2019
Crime Fiction/Cozy/Paranormal, 336 pgs  

A young widow wanting to make a fresh start leaves behind Chicago to open a bed and breakfast in Salem, Massachusetts. The estate is as beautiful as she expected, but what she didn't expect was a ghost. Dr. Jack Strathmore died three years before and has been haunting his house ever since. He begs Charlene for her help when he realizes she can see him--find his murderer, for he is sure he's been murdered despite the official report. 

I enjoyed my time in Salem, getting to know the characters and area just as Charlene did. Charlene is anxious to make it work--her new business and her new life. She misses her husband terribly, but finds Jack's charms hard to resist. And then there is the detective, Sam, whose interest in Charlene is obvious from the start. Charlene has her own gift for charming people--but her pointed questions about Jack's past stir up the ire of several of the town's residents.  Especially when someone else ends up dead. There are plenty of suspects and motives to go around, and while some secrets I suspected early on, it took me awhile to work out who was behind it all in the end. 

Traci Hall and Patrice Wilton writing as Traci Wilton have written an entertaining mystery. I enjoyed every minute of it. I cannot wait to see what Jack and Charlene's next mystery will entail--and to see what Silva is up to. Who can resist a cuddly cat? Not me, that's for sure. And oh, how much I would love to stay at Charlene's Bed and Breakfast!


© 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, October 22, 2020

Where Is Your Bookmark? (Then & Now: Witches & Ghosts, Anyone?)

As October winds down, I am not quite ready to jump into a Christmas themed book yet. I recently finished Naomi Novik's A Deadly Education (thank you to all who voted for it in my TBR poll!), and decided to settle in with a cozy mystery next. Mrs. Morris and the Ghost, the first in the Salem Bed and Breakfast series, has been calling my name for awhile now, and I decided to give in.

Charlene Morris knew Salem, Massachusetts had a spooky reputation. But when she decided to open her B&B there, she expected guests--not ghosts...

A grieving young widow, Charlene needed a new start--so she bought a historic mansion, sight unseen, and drove from Chicago to New England to start turning it into a bed-and-breakfast. On her first night in the house, she awakens to find a handsome man with startling blue eyes in her bedroom. Terror turns to utter disbelief when he politely introduces himself as Jack Strathmore--and explains that he used to live here--when he was alive. He firmly believes that someone pushed him down the stairs three years ago, and he won't be able to leave until someone figures out who. If Charlene wants to get her business up and running in time for the Halloween tourist rush, and get this haunting houseguest out of the way, she'll have to investigate. Though truth be told, this ghost is starting to grow on her . . .  [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.

Charlene Morris may be impulsive sometimes, but crazy she was not. Yes, buying an 8,000-square-foot estate in Salem, Massachusetts, sight unseen, might seem extreme, but she'd needed a clean break after her husband's tragic death, something new to take her mind off the pain and loneliness of losing her soul mate. [opening of Mrs. Morris and the Ghost]

My initial thoughts: That does seem extremely impulsive, doesn't it? Buying such a large property sight unseen. Just what has she gotten herself into, I wonder?




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.


Ernie fled to the front door, but he couldn't open it. Jack was concentrating and keeping it closed, leaning his body against it. "What's going on?" Ernie asked panicked.

"You need to tell me everything. The truth will set you free," Charlene said, walking calmly toward him. [excerpt at 56% from Mrs. Morris and the Ghost]
My thoughts: I have just about reached this section of the book, but am not quite there yet. I kind of read a spoiler pulling out this quote (no spoilers here though), but I already suspected it, so all is not lost. Given what I know of Ernie up to this point, I am not surprised Jack and Charlene had to corner him to get answers. And I really need answers! I can't wait to see what he has to say.


Have you read Mrs. Morris and the Ghost? If so, what did you think? What are you reading today?

A weekly meme in which readers look at what they were reading 
last year at this time and compare it to what they are reading now.  
Hosted by the great Maria from ReadingMaria.


From witches to ghosts, these both seem fitting reads for this time of year. Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler is a household favorite, and definitely one of my favorite Halloween stories. It's the story of a witch who is constantly dropping things, from her hat to her wand. Each of the items are picked up by different animals whom she invites for a ride on her broom. Mouse and I read it every year around this time. The movie is cute too. Quite a bit different from the cozy mystery I am reading right now, although both books have a big reveal near the end . . . 



What was the last book you read this past year around this time? How does it compare to what you are reading now? Have you read Room on the Broom? If so, what did you think? 

*                    *                    *

A glimpse into what I was reading 5 years ago: 

Hidden by Karen E. Olson

 










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, October 13, 2020

Waiting to Read Wednesday: The House We Grew Up In / Murder in Old Bombay / Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines / The Bright and Breaking Sea


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


The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell (Atria Books, 2014)
Meet the Bird family. They live in a honey-colored house in a picture-perfect Cotswolds village, with rambling, unkempt gardens stretching beyond. Pragmatic Meg, dreamy Beth, and tow-headed twins Rory and Rhys all attend the village school and eat home-cooked meals together every night. Their father is a sweet gangly man named Colin, who still looks like a teenager with floppy hair and owlish, round-framed glasses. Their mother is a beautiful hippy named Lorelei, who exists entirely in the moment. And she makes every moment sparkle in her children's lives. 

Then one Easter weekend, tragedy comes to call. The event is so devastating that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear the family apart. Years pass as the children become adults, find new relationships, and develop their own separate lives. Soon it seems as though they've never been a family at all. But then something happens that calls them back to the house they grew up in -- and to what really happened that Easter weekend so many years ago. 

Told in gorgeous, insightful prose that delves deeply into the hearts and minds of its characters, The House We Grew Up In is the captivating story of one family's desire to restore long-forgotten peace and to unearth the many secrets hidden within the nooks and crannies of home. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: I seem to collect Lisa Jewell books, but I have yet to read one. All her books sound like ones I would like though. One of these days I'll take the plunge!


Have you read The House We Grew Up In? Does this book sound like 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.


Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March
Release Date: November 10, 2020 by Minotaur Books
In 19th century Bombay, Captain Jim Agnihotri channels his idol, Sherlock Holmes, in Nev March’s Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award-winning debut. 

In 1892, Bombay is the center of British India. Nearby, Captain Jim Agnihotri lies in Poona military hospital recovering from a skirmish on the wild northern frontier, with little to do but re-read the tales of his idol, Sherlock Holmes, and browse the daily papers. The case that catches Captain Jim's attention is being called the crime of the century: Two women fell from the busy university’s clock tower in broad daylight. Moved by Adi, the widower of one of the victims — his certainty that his wife and sister did not commit suicide — Captain Jim approaches the Parsee family and is hired to investigate what happened that terrible afternoon. 

But in a land of divided loyalties, asking questions is dangerous. Captain Jim's investigation disturbs the shadows that seem to follow the Framji family and triggers an ominous chain of events. And when lively Lady Diana Framji joins the hunt for her sisters’ attackers, Captain Jim’s heart isn’t safe, either. 

Based on a true story, and set against the vibrant backdrop of colonial India, Nev March's Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award-winning lyrical debut, Murder in Old Bombay, brings this tumultuous historical age to life. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: I do enjoy a good mystery set in another country, and this one happens to be a historical mystery as well--another bonus! 


Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines (A Sassy Cat Mystery #2) by Jennifer J. Chow 
Release Date: November 10, 2020 by Berkley
When a local teacher is found dead, LA’s newest pet groomer Mimi Lee finds herself in a pawful predicament—with her younger sister’s livelihood on the line. 

Mimi Lee is on top of the world. She has a thriving pet grooming business, the sweetest boyfriend, and a talking cat to boot. When she arrives at the elementary school where her sister Alice works, she's expecting a fun girls' night out—but instead finds a teacher slumped over in her car, dead. 

Alice was the last one to see Helen Reed, which instantly marks her as the prime suspect. Unable to sit quietly and let the authorities walk all over her sister, Mimi starts snooping and talks to Helen’s closest contacts, including one jumpy principal, a two-faced fiancé, and three sketchy teachers. With the help of her sassy but savvy cat, Marshmallow, and a cute kitten named Nimbus, the clock’s ticking for Mimi to get to the bottom of yet another case before her sister gets schooled. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: I enjoyed the first book in Jennifer J. Chow's series, and am looking forward to reading this one as well. Mimi Lee is a great character, and I especially love her cat Marshmallow. 


The Bright and Breaking Sea (Captain Kit Brightling #1) by Chloe Neill 
Release Date: November 17, 2020 by Berkley 
Chloe Neill brings her trademark wit and wild sense of adventure to a stunning seafaring fantasy starring a dauntless heroine in a world of magic and treachery. 

Kit Brightling, rescued as a foundling and raised in a home for talented girls, has worked hard to rise through the ranks of the Isles' Crown Command and become one of the few female captains in Queen Charlotte's fleet. Her ship is small, but she's fast--in part because of Kit's magical affinity to the sea. But the waters become perilous when the queen sends Kit on a special mission with a partner she never asked for. 

Rian Grant, Viscount Queenscliffe, may be a veteran of the Continental war, but Kit doesn't know him or his motives--and she's dealt with one too many members of the Beau Monde. But Kit has her orders, and the queen has commanded they journey to a dangerous pirate quay and rescue a spy who's been gathering intelligence on the exiled emperor of Gallia. 

Kit can lead her ship and clever crew on her own, but with the fate of queen and country at stake, Kit and Rian must learn to trust each other, or else the Isles will fall.... [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: A female captain! This sounds a bit different than Chloe Neill's previous books. I am curious to see how this one fares. 


Do any of these books sound like books you would like to read? 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, October 11, 2020

My Bookish Mewsings: Mexican Gothic / The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires / The Family Next Door


The parties at the Tunons' house 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. 
~ Opening of Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Del Rey, 2020
Horror/Historical Fiction; 320 pgs
Source: NetGalley for an honest review

Set in the 1950's, a young free-spirited socialite travels to a remote Mexican countryside to visit her cousin and her cousin's new English husband and his family.  Her cousin's letters have been quite concerning, and Noemí worries over her cousin's health and sanity. Noemí is quite out of place at High Place, with her fancy dresses and debutante air. High Place is rather dark and damp with strict rules in place. The servants seems listless and withdrawn. It is clear she is not welcome. Even the house is unwelcoming, invading her dreams with nightmarish images. The ancient patriarch who has taken a particular interest in Noemí, makes her feel extremely uncomfortable. Noemí finds a sympathetic ally in the family's youngest son, Francis, only he holds tight onto his family's secrets. Noemí knows she must uncover the truth in order to save her cousin--and herself. 

Mexican Gothic is an imaginative and atmospheric tale with an underlying tension that builds with each turn of the page and eventually grabs hold of the reader and will not let go. Mexican folklore as well as  the history of the region are woven throughout, adding to the richness of the story. It was especially interesting to see how the author used such threads to weave together the history of High Place, the family's mining business, the curse, and there rise and fall over the years. It was as fascinating as it was disturbing. 

Noemí is one of those characters who grew on me over time. She is clever and smart and does not give up easily. The juxtaposition of the life Noemí leads normally to the life she suddenly finds herself in at High Place is a study in contrast of culture and lifestyle. The imagery and detail Silvia Moreno-Garcia uses paints such a vivid impression of the setting and characters. I found the novel to be at times sad and other times horrifying. This is one of those books I do not want to say too much about because the experience is in reading it. I did not find Mexican Gothic to be a fast paced read, but rather one I wanted to take my time with and savor. 


This story ends in blood.
 ~ Opening of The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires 

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Quirk Books, 2020
Horror; 400 pgs
Source: NetGalley for an honest review
Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia's life has never felt smaller. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they're more likely to discuss the FBI's recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood.

But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club's meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he's a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she--and her book club--are the only people standing between the monster they've invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community. [Goodreads Summary]

I admit it. I wanted to read The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires solely because of the title. I had read something when I was first considering reading the novel about the author and his penchant for mixing satire into his stories, which also appealed to me. I am so glad I took a chance on this book. It was entertaining, creepy, and fun.

At times cringe-worthy and extremely disturbing, there were many more moments in which the horror elements were more subtle. It's in those moments that the tension builds up the most, leaving Patricia and the reader a little off balance. I really felt for Patricia, not only knowing something was terribly wrong with her neighbor and the threat he may pose to her and her family as well as the rest of the community, but also most people not really believing her and making her think she was going crazy. 

Grady Hendrix's portrayal of vampires is one straight out of nightmares, both seductive and as leeches. It is much darker and more insidious than that of Bram Stoker's Dracula. I found the backstory particularly interesting, especially in comparison to the novel's present day events--and how closely they mirrored each other. 

My blood boiled quite a bit at the treatment of Patricia by her husband. A bit of satire on the author's part, portraying life in the white suburbs, the wives expected to stay in their place. Monsters come in all forms, even the human variety. There are several strong women featured in the novel who turn the idea of helpless little housewife on its ear. I appreciated that the author does not shy away from tackling not just sexism, but racism as well. 

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires turned out to be all I hoped it would be and more.


At first, the children were laughing. 
~ Opening of The Family Next Door

The Family Next Door by Fiona Cummins
Pinnacle Books, 2020
Crime Fiction/Thriller; 400 pgs
Source: NetGalley for an honest review
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]

There is nothing like an attention-grabbing thriller that once you start reading, you do not want to put down, and so I decided to take a chance on Fiona Cummins' The Family Next Door. Unfortunately this didn't quite hold my interest the way I hoped.

Everyone in this neighborhood seems to have their secrets, some darker than others. A serial killer is on the loose and the most recent victim was the husband of DCI Wildeve Stanton, both police officers assigned to the case. Having stalled in their investigation, the police are desperate for a lead. Each of the dead have their faces painted and are dressed immaculately, earning the killer the nickname  of the Dollmaker. 

The narrative alternates between the killer and other residents in the neighborhood, several of whom could be behind the deaths. I never felt like I got to know any of the characters to any real degree, perhaps because there were so many. It was not too hard to figure out who was behind everything, but there was plenty of suspense and tension throughout, especially the closer we get to the reveal. During the early parts of the book, I found myself wondering where the story was going, and was glad when the pieces finally started coming together. While I did enjoy The Family Next Door to a certain extent, it did not completely win me over in the end.


© 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, October 10, 2020

Weekly Mews: Carpal Tunnel Woes & My October 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.






What I Am Reading: My daughter and I both continue to read Wonder by R.J. Palacio, and are making our way through Dori Hillestad Butler's The Haunted Library series, featuring a ghost and his solid friend as the solve ghostly mysteries. We will likely start book 8 in the series this next week. For my own reading pleasure, I hope to start this month's TBR List Poll winner tonight. Fingers crossed!

What I Am Watching: We watched the final Star Wars movie this weekend, The Last Skywalker. It isn't my favorite of the final trilogy, but there are some great scenes. My husband made me watch an episode of one of his and my daughter's favorite YouTube series, 3DBotMaker. It's actually very clever. My husband discovered it while listening to a podcast as the hosts discussed alternatives to Formula 1 racing to watch during the pandemic. I am not really into car racing, admittedly, but sometimes I will watch if my husband happens to have a race on. The 3DBotMaker races involve toy cars that run on a toy track. The commentators narrate the race just as if it were a real Formula 1 race. It's actually pretty amusing. My husband and daughter never miss an episode. 

I was able to get in a few episodes of The Originals recently. I am about four episodes into season 5. We continue to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I love that my daughter has gotten into it. 

Off the Blog: This past week was crazy busy at work, and I ended up having to work overtime more days than I'd like to count. My carpal tunnel syndrome is acting up quite a bit, and I've returned to wearing my braces at night and sometimes during the day. It also means I haven't been spending too much time on the computer unless it's for work (because I can't avoid that).  It is one of the main reasons why I was not around much this past week to respond to comments and visit your blogs, sadly. 

It was a rather ordinary week in our household otherwise. Mouse attended her Zoom dance and musical theater classes. She also had a Girl Scout meeting (Zoom, of course). For her Girl Scout meeting, she had to do a presentation on a historical girl/woman of her choice, and she chose Princess Diana. It's hard for me to think of Princess Diana in terms of being "historical", but to my daughter, I suppose she really is a historical figure. Gosh, do I feel old! 

Anjin and I got our ballots in the mail and will be sitting down to fill them out tomorrow. As is our tradition, we plan to drop them off at the Registrar of Voters office in person.

Someone is hiding

This Week in Reading Mews


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 could tell early on from the comments who the likely winner would be and, sure enough, that book won by quite a margin. Mrs. Morris and the Witch by Traci Wilton came in with only 2 votes, followed by 5 votes for Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. Naomi Novik's A Deadly Education came in with 14 votes.  I am really excited to dive in!

Lesson One of the Scholomance 

Learning has never been this deadly 

A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets. There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere. El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students. [Goodreads Summary]

Thank you for voting! 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.

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Waiting to Read Wednesday: Asylum City / Judge's Girls / Among the Beasts & Briars / A Page Marked for Murder


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!


Asylum City
by Liad Shoham
(Harper, 2014)
In this edgy thriller from the author of the #1 Israeli bestseller Lineup, which was described by Joseph Finder as ‘a marvel of tight plotting, spare prose, and relentless pacing’, a young police officer’s investigation of a murder plunges her into the dark underworld of Tel Aviv. 

When social activist Michal Poleg is found dead in her Tel Aviv apartment, her body showing signs of severe violence, officer Anat Nachmias is given the lead on her first murder investigation. Eager to find answers, the talented and sensitive cop looks to the victim’s past for clues, focusing on the last days before her death. Could one of the asylum-seekers Michal worked with be behind this crime? 

Then a young African man confesses to the murder, and Anat’s commanders say the case is closed. But the cop isn’t convinced. She believes that Michal, a tiny girl with a gift for irritating people, got involved in something far too big and dangerous for her to handle. 

Joined by Michal’s clumsy yet charming boss, Anat is pulled deep into a perplexing shadow world where war victims and criminals, angels and demons, idealists and cynics, aid organisations and criminal syndicates intersect. But the truth may be more than Anat can manage, bringing her face to face with an evil she’s never before experienced. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: I read the author's first book, Lineup, and enjoyed it, and so scooped up this one when it first came out. I enjoy mysteries set in other countries. 


Have you read Asylum City? Does this book sound like 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.


Judge's Girls
by Sharina Harris
Release Date: October 27, 2020 by Kensington Books
Three very different women. Only one thing in common. But when their family patriarch dies and they must share his estate, the truths they discover will test them--and everything they think they know about each other. 

Beloved Georgia judge Joseph Donaldson was known for his unshakable fairness, his hard-won fortune--and a scandalous second marriage to his much-younger white secretary. Now he's left a will with a stunning provision. In order to collect their inheritance, his lawyer daughter Maya, her stepmother Jeanie, and Jeanie's teen daughter, Ryder, must live together at the family lake house. Maya and Jeanie don't exactly get along, but they reluctantly agree to try an uneasy peace for as long as it takes... 

But fragile ex-beauty queen Jeanie doesn't know who she is beyond being a judge's wife--and drinking away her insecurities has her in a dangerous downward spiral. Fed up with her mother's humiliating behavior, Ryder tries to become popular at school in all the wrong ways. And when Maya attempts to help, she puts her successful career and her shaky love life at risk. Now with trouble they didn't see coming--and secrets they can no longer hide--these women must somehow find the courage to admit their mistakes, see each other for who they really are--and slowly, perhaps even joyfully, discover everything they could be. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: This sounds like a heartfelt read, one of women supporting women (even if not initially), grieving that who they have lost, and re-discovering themselves. 


Among the Beasts and Briars
by Ashley Poston 
Release Date: October 20, 2020 by Balzer + Bray
Cerys is safe in the kingdom of Aloriya. 

Here there are no droughts, disease, or famine, and peace is everlasting. It has been this way for hundreds of years, since the first king made a bargain with the Lady who ruled the forest that borders the kingdom. But as Aloriya prospered, the woods grew dark, cursed, and forbidden. Cerys knows this all too well: when she was young, she barely escaped as the woods killed her friends and her mother. Now Cerys carries a small bit of the curse—the magic—in her blood, a reminder of the day she lost everything. The most danger she faces now, as a gardener’s daughter, is the annoying fox who stalks the royal gardens and won’t leave her alone. 

As a new queen is crowned, however, things long hidden in the woods descend on the kingdom itself. Cerys is forced on the run, her only companions the small fox from the garden, a strange and powerful bear, and the magic in her veins. It’s up to her to find the legendary Lady of the Wilds and beg for a way to save her home. But the road is darker and more dangerous than she knows, and as secrets from the past are uncovered amid the teeth and roots of the forest, it’s going to take everything she has just to survive. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: I cannot resist the draw of magic--and a forest full of secrets. I can't wait to read this one.


A Page Marked for Murder
(Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery #5) by Lauren Elliott 
Release Date: October 27, 2020 by Kensington 
In Lauren Elliott's fifth Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery, a murder and a missing first edition of The Secret Garden have rare bookstore owner Addie Greyborne running around her Massachusetts town trying to read the clues... 

January isn't the season for the seaside, but the big Fire and Ice festival is keeping bookstore owner Addie busy. Amid the plans for a fireworks display and an ice-carving competition, she's also dog sitting for a friend in the hospital. When Addie goes to her friend's house to gather supplies, she notices an interesting item on the nightstand which belongs to her shop assistant, Paige: a very valuable copy of the beloved children's book The Secret Garden. 

But Addie's blood runs cold when she finds something else: a dead body behind the bakery next door to her shop. Martha, the bakery owner, has no alibi--and has been seen in a heated argument with the victim. And the next thing Addie knows, that first edition has gone missing. Is there a connection between the body and the treasured tome? If there is, it's up to Addie to find a killer with a motive as hidden as Frances Hodgson Burnett's famous garden... [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: How have I not read this series yet?! A cozy mystery centered around a bookstore? I'm in!


Do any of these books sound like books you would like to read? 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, October 04, 2020

My Bookish Mewsings: Wolf Gone Wild & Don't Hex and Drive by Juliette Cross


"Would you like another beer?"
 ~ Opening of Wolf Gone Wild

Wolf Gone Wild (Stay a Spell, #1) by Juliette Cross (2020)
Romance/Fantasy; 376 pgs
Source: Purchased

I first heard about this book from another book blogger. Just about any book involving witches and magic is sure to be a draw for me. I enjoy a good supernatural romance, and Juliette Cross is an author I have enjoyed before. Wolf Gone Wild is a bit different from Cross's other novels, this one being more of a romantic comedy. It has a strong romance element like her other novels with a bit of a mystery tied into it. 

Mateo Cruz knows he has been hexed. He has not been able to shift into his wolf form for three months now. The voice of his wolf is his constant companion in his head, posing a danger to himself and others with the wolf's violent and carnal thoughts.  Mateo's only hope is Evie Savoie, a local witch and hex breaker. With her family's strict no wolf policy, Evie is not too sure she should help Mateo out--but his desperation tugs at her heartstrings. 

Evie is such a fun heroine. A comic book geek who has a thing for Wolverine and Star Wars. She has a kind heart and spirit. Mateo is a sweetheart, an artist, and struggles greatly to control the wolf trapped inside him. Although the reader knows instantly they belong together, it takes our two main characters a while to come to the same conclusion. And no wonder given Mateo's reservations about commitment and Evie's own past experiences in love. 

The hex turns out to be more complicated than Evie or her sisters (also witches) anticipated, which causes them to try to dig deeper into its origins. I would not have minded if the mystery of the hex had been woven in a bit earlier in the novel to help build the suspense leading to the big reveal, but there definitely was plenty of tension as all the pieces fell into place towards the end. 

I enjoyed Wolf Gone Wild. It was entertaining and fun--and broke me out of my reading slumpI am definitely interested in learning more about the world the author has created in her new series. 


I was thinking about purple pansies when it happened. ~ Opening of Hex and Drive

Don't Hex and Drive (Stay a Spell, #2) by Juliette Cross (2020)
Romance/Fantasy; 
Source: NetGalley for an honest review.

After reading Wolf Gone Wild, I excitedly dove into Don't Hex and Drive to find out which Savoie sister I would learn more about next. I really liked Evie from the first book, but I adored her introverted sister Isadora Savoie in this second book. It might have been because I could relate to her love of animals and being an introvert myself. 

In Don't Hex and Drive, Isadora is literally run into by the ever charming Devraj Kumar, vampire warrior and former Bollywood star. Isadora is not going to fall head over heels for Dev no matter how hard he tries to win her over. Or that's the plan, anyway. The last thing she wants to do is get involved with the irresistible vampire who is only there to help his friend look into the sudden disappearance of women from local clubs. She is willing, however, to step up and help with the investigation. Her gifts as a Conduit prove quite valuable. 

I can see why Isadora jumps to the conclusions she does about Dev right away--I mean, he does run in circles with some pretty high profile people and is famous himself. While she didn't recognize him right away, her sisters did. Underneath it all though, Dev is longing for something more than all of that. He misses having a place to call home. He's really rather down to earth and wants to prove to Isadora that there is more to him than what she believes. He certainly won me over. And I loved Isadora and Dev together. 

My minor concern regarding the first book in the series did not exist in this second one. The romance is centerstage, but the  mystery of the women who have disappeared is a consistent and strong plot line throughout the novel. I found Don't Hex and Drive to be a combination of sexy and suspenseful--and just a whole lot of fun. I also enjoyed spending more time with the Savoie sisters and cannot wait to find out who will be the focus of the next book in the series.



© 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.

Friday, October 02, 2020

Weekly Mews: So Long September and Welcome October (Please Vote in My TBR Poll!)

I am linking up to the Sunday Post hosted by Kim of Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where participants recap our week, talk about what we are reading, share any new books that have come our way, and whatever else we want to talk about. I am also linking The Sunday Salon hosted by Deb Nance of Readerbuzz where participants discuss what they are reading and other bookish topics. 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.   I am linking to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Team Tynga's Reviews and Marlene of Reading Reality a meme in which participants share what new books came their way recently. 


New to the Shelves:

I went on a bookish shopping spree with gift cards I received for my birthday this past month. I usually hold onto my gift cards and spread out my buying, but I needed the retail therapy. I earned it after last month. Haha.


Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2) by Rachel Caine
Ash and Quill (The Great Library #3) by Rachel Caine
A Songs of Wraiths and Ruin (#1) by Roseanne A. Brown
A Deadly Education (Scholomance #1) by Naomi Novik


Dragon Springs Road by Janie Chang
A Single Swallow by Zhang Ling
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender


Return to Tradd Street (#4) by Karen White
Death and Daisies (Magic Garden Mystery #2) by Amanda Flower
Elementary, She Reads (Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #1) by Vicki Delany


A Grave Matter (Lady Darby Mystery #3) by Anna Lee Huber
A Study in Death (Lady Darby Mystery #4) by Anna Lee Huber
A Pressing Engagement (Lady Darby Mystery #4.5) by Anna Lee Huber
As Death Draws Near (Lady Darby Mystery #5) by Anna Lee Huber
A Brush With Shadows (Lady Darby Mystery #6) by Anna Lee Huber


What I Am Reading: I am in the middle of 15 Minutes of Flame by Christin Brecher and enjoying it quite a bit. Although it is the third book in the Nantucket Candle Maker mystery series, it is my first time reading anything by Brecher. It is set around Halloween, and so I figured this was a good time to dive in. I am still reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Mouse is reading it with her class, and I am doing my best not to jump too far ahead of where they are. It's very hard, let me tell you. I have just started the Jack Will section, for those familiar with the book. 

What I Am Watching: We are all caught up with Lucifer until the next half of season 6 drops on Netflix. In the meantime, we have started re-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which was a favorite of my husband's and mine years ago.

Anjin and I were finally able to get back into watching the Star Wars movies, and re-watched The Last Jedi over the weekend. I am sure this weekend we will re-watch The Last Skywalker.

As a family, we really got into the first season of Julie and the Phantoms, a Netflix series. It is so good! It's a fun family show if you like comedy, music, ghosts, and teen/family drama. It is a knock-off of a Brazilian show. After watching the first season with us, Mouse immediately started watching it again on her own.


We were all happy to see The Masked Singer start up a new season, and have been watching that. We cannot watch when episodes first air, but we catch it on Hulu a day or two after.

Dare I ask if any of you caught the U.S. Presidential debate? It was not on in our house, although my husband and I have read and caught clips here and there since then. It sounds like it went just about how I expected it would. 

Off the Blog: September was such a rollercoaster. More so in an emotional sense, although it was a busy one too. The last two weeks of September especially so with dress rehearsals and the final performances put on by Mouse's dance studio. Both the musical and ballet are over now, and I think all of us are more than relieved. They went as well as can be expected given the circumstances. You may remember that Mouse was one of a small few who performed from home instead of in the studio with the other kids. Mouse's musical theater instructor wrote her a lovely note of encouragement before the first Grease performance. Someone from the booster club brought over roses on opening night as well as a goody bag of snacks another night. I think that was very nice of them to do.

The county in which I reside moved up to the next tier restriction wise near the end of last month. We are now in the red, which means more businesses can start re-opening, including gyms and movie theaters and restaurants can have indoor patrons--all on a limited capacity. I for one am not rushing to get back to any of those places, and I know my husband feels the same way. I see a lot of parents demanding to know when in-person instruction in schools can begin again in the Facebook neighborhood and county groups. Our county is still in virtual mode. I have heard rumors it may happen before the end of October. It does not really affect Mouse though given she is on the year long virtual plan. 

Virtual learning continues to go about as one would expect. There are a lot of challenges, some within our control and others outside of it. It's an adjustment. And not an especially easy one for many of us, is it? 


As a 4th grade class assignment, Mouse had to research non-profit organizations for a cause she wanted to support, plan how to earn money for the cause, and follow through with donating the money to that organization (we haven't gotten to that last step yet). She set a goal for $100 and has already achieved it! She decided she wanted to do a chocolate chip cookie bake sale. She still has a couple of out of town orders to bake and send out, but she got all the local deliveries done.

Delivering cookies

Bookish party favors from Mouse's friend's Anne of Green Gables themed birthday party

Mouse's Roses from the Booster Club

A photo of Nina for good measure.


Here is what I finished reading in September:
  • Big Top Flop (Nancy Drew Clue Book, #4) by Carolyn Keene & Peter Francis 
  • In My Attic (Magic Misfits, #1) by Lina Hansen
  • Don't Hex and Drive (Stay a Spell, #2) by Juliette Cross
  • The Haunted Library (#1) by Dori Butler Hillestad & Aurore Damant
  • Spill the Beans (Whatever After, #13) by Sarah Mlynowski
  • The Ghost in  the Attic (The Haunted Library #2) by Dori Butler Hillestad & Aurore Damant
  • The Ghost Backstage  (The Haunted Library #3) by Dori Butler Hillestad & Aurore Damant
  • The Five O'Clock Ghost (The Haunted Library #4) by Dori Butler Hillestad & Aurore Damant
  • The Secret Room (The Haunted Library #5) by Dori Butler Hillestad & Aurore Damant
  • The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic #2) by Alice Hoffman
  • The Ghost at the Fire Station (The Haunted Library #6) by Dori Butler Hillestad & Aurore Damant
September turned into middle grade book month as Mouse and I work our way through The Haunted Library series. It's about a ghost boy whose lost his family and has joined up with a human girl to solve ghostly mysteries--and hopefully find his family. Mouse and I also discovered the Whatever After series, which features a sister and brother who travel through a mirror into various fairy tales and have to "fix" them (after messing them up in the first place). 

For my own reading, I had a lot of fun reading both In My Attic and Don't Hex and Drive. I also finished The Rules of Magic, which was wonderful. Thank you to all who voted for it in my September TBR List Poll! 

September was a full blogging month. I feel like I kept up pretty well overall. I managed to get quite a  few of my overdue reviews posted and have a few more coming this month. Because of Mouse's performances the last full week of September, I wasn't around as much and didn't get a review post up I had ready to go. It happens.

This Past September In Reading Mews:

Tell me what you have been up to! What are you reading, listening to and watching? How was your September? 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 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). 




Sticking with the R.I.P. XV theme for October, I thought I would tempt you (and me) with these three gems. Admittedly two have been on my TBR shelf a bit longer than the most recent release, but I can assure you, they are all books that I have been wanting to read, but just haven't made time for. Yet. So what will it be? Dark magic at a boarding school, zombie romance, or perhaps a murder solving ghost? Help me decide what to read next! 


A Deadly Education
(Scholomance #1) by Naomi Novik
Lesson One of the Scholomance

Learning has never been this deadly

A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets. There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere. El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students. [Goodreads Summary]

 


Warm Bodies
(Warm Bodies #1) by Isaac Marion
R is having a no-life crisis—he is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he is a little different from his fellow Dead. He may occasionally eat people, but he’d rather be riding abandoned airport escalators, listening to Sinatra in the cozy 747 he calls home, or collecting souvenirs from the ruins of civilization.

And then he meets a girl.

First as his captive, then his reluctant guest, Julie is a blast of living color in R’s gray landscape, and something inside him begins to bloom. He doesn't want to eat this girl—although she looks delicious—he wants to protect her. But their unlikely bond will cause ripples they can’t imagine, and their hopeless world won’t change without a fight.
  [Goodreads Summary]


Mrs. Morris and the Witch 
 (A Salem B&B Mystery #2) by Traci Wilton

In Traci Wilton's second cozy mystery featuring a new sleuth on the Salem scene, when widowed B&B owner Charlene Morris discovers the dead body of a local Wiccan on Halloween, she and her charming ghostly partner must help the local Salem, Massachusetts, coven to find the killer.

Halloween is the biggest holiday of the year in Salem, Massachusetts--but when B&B owner Charlene Morris finds the dead body of a witch, it spells trouble...

Charlene, recently widowed, has renovated her historic mansion just in time to greet guests arriving for the town's annual Halloween festivities. She's lucky to have a helpful staff to provide support--as well as a handsome ghost named Jack standing invisibly by her side.

Unfortunately, while the revelers head out on haunted tours, have their fortunes told, or grab a drink at Brews and Broomsticks, a killer walks among them. When Charlene discovers Morganna, a local Wiccan, dead in her shop, she starts getting cozy with the local coven, looking for clues to locate the crafty culprit. Salem may be famous for the false accusations of witchery in centuries past, but this time someone is genuinely guilty--of murder...
[Goodreads Summary]



Thank you for voting! 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.