Thursday, February 20, 2020

Where Is Your Bookmark?

After a pleasant but busy holiday weekend, somehow we all ended up getting sick. I am currently fighting some sort of bug and feeling pretty miserable. I also hurt my dominant hand somehow, and it is making doing even the simplest things difficult at the moment. 

Reading wise, I am enjoying Alma Katsu's The Deep at the moment. Since I shared excerpts from it last week, I thought I would share a bit of the book my daughter and I just finished tonight, Big News! (Emma is on the Air #1) by Ida Siegal with you this time around.

WNBC reporter Ida Siegal makes her debut as a chapter book author with a hilarious look at one girl's journey into journalism, mystery-solving, and fame -- or at least two out of those three!

This is Emma Perez, and I'm ON THE AIR!

"Today at lunch, my friend Javier found a slimy worm in his hamburger. It was extra gross! Now everyone wants to know how the worm got in there. Someone might even get in trouble! The school needs my famous reporter skills to solve the case!"

Emma Perez has been looking for some big news to help her become a famous reporter. Javier's wormburger is perfect-people need to know what happened! Emma is ready to find witnesses, gather clues, and file her report. [Goodreads Summary]

A weekly meme where readers share the first sentence of the book they are reading and say what they think. Hosted by the wonderful Gillion Dumas of Rose City Reader.
If you have to do a chore, you might as well set the table. That's my chore. It's better than cleaning your room, scrubbing the toilet, or worse . . . changing your baby sister's diaper trash can! Yuck. Plus, when you set the table, you can practice being famous. 

My thoughts: She has a point. Not to mention setting the table can go pretty quickly as far as chores go. Of course, anything is better than scrubbing toilets. Or mopping floors. I hate mopping floors.



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.

"Why aren't you girls eating your lunches?" she asked. 
"Miss Thompson, there's no time to eat today," I said, panting a little. 




My thoughts: Emma is in the middle of her investigation and doesn't have much time to question her witnesses. It is clear Emma has a one track mind when she's on a story.

My daughter really enjoyed reading Big News! and would like to read more in the series, which makes this book a winner in my mind. We both liked Emma as a character, and I appreciated the added bonus of having a character who speaks Spanish as well as English.


Have you read this book or one of the books in the series? If so, what did you think? What are you reading at the moment?


Every Friday Coffee Addicted Writer from Coffee Addicted Writer poses a question which participants respond on their own blogs within the week (Friday through Thursday). They then share their links at the main site and visit other participants blogs.
What is your go-to recommendation for someone who doesn’t read often? (submitted by Amanda @ Give Me Coffee and Books)

I honestly do not have a go-to recommendation in a situation like this. I try to find out what the person may like to read when they do read and come up with similar books they might like. Or if it is a person who does not really know what type of book they might like, I might try to match a book with their movie or television taste--or perhaps something that fits with an interest of theirs--and go from there. I would definitely recommend the person stop reading if they are not enjoying the book. There is nothing that kills enjoyment of reading like reading something one is not interested in! Especially for the reluctant or infrequent reader.

Do you have a go-to recommendation for someone who doesn't read often? 




Everyone has a favorite and then we also have something we dislike. Like a coin, there are two sides to every question. Each week, Carrie at The Butterfly Reads and Laura from Blue Eye Books ask participants to list what they like and don't like about that week's topic.

This week's topic is  Favorite/Least Favorite Paranormal or Fantasy Novel of 2019


The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow was my favorite historical fantasy novel of 2019 hands down.



It was not that I did not enjoy it, but I did struggle with Karen Lord's Unraveling, which I read this past year. I liked it okay, but did not love it.






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

Who are some of the recent debut/ new to me authors that impressed you?

I began the year with Madeline Miller's The Song of Achilles, which I really enjoyed, and I am eager to read more of her work. Circe is high on my wish list.


But I have to say the real stand out for me so far this year is Nic Stone, another new to me author, whose Dear Martin won my February TBR List Poll. It has been compared to Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give, which I also loved, and is just as powerful. Both books involve police shootings of young black men, but each narrative tells its own story, touching on similar and also different themes that are very relevant today in the U.S. I wish everyone would read Dear Martin. It gives voice to a much needed perspective that is all too often silenced or ignored.


 Who are some new to you authors that have impressed you recently?


 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, February 18, 2020

Can't Wait to Read Wednesday: The Ghost Map/In Five Years/Havenfall/The Forgotten Home Child



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 Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic - and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson (2006)
From Steven Johnson, the dynamic thinker routinely compared to James Gleick, Dava Sobel, and Malcolm Gladwell, The Ghost Map is a riveting page-turner about a real-life historical hero, Dr. John Snow. It's the summer of 1854, and London is just emerging as one of the first modern cities in the world. But lacking the infrastructure--garbage removal, clean water, sewers--necessary to support its rapidly expanding population, the city has become the perfect breeding ground for a terrifying disease no one knows how to cure. As the cholera outbreak takes hold, a physician and a local curate are spurred to action--and ultimately solve the most pressing medical riddle of their time. In a triumph of multidisciplinary thinking, Johnson illuminates the intertwined histories and inter-connectedness of the spread of disease, contagion theory, the rise of cities, and the nature of scientific inquiry, offering both a riveting history and a powerful explanation of how it has shaped the world we live in. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: While I do not read a lot of nonfiction, there is the occasional nonfiction novel that catches my fancy. This was one of them. 


Have you read The Ghost Map? Does it sounds like something you might 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.


In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
Release Date: March 10, 2020 by Atria Books
Where do you see yourself in five years?

When Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Cohan is asked this question at the most important interview of her career, she has a meticulously crafted answer at the ready. Later, after nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, Dannie goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve her five-year plan.

But when she wakes up, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. The television news is on in the background, and she can just make out the scrolling date. It’s the same night—December 15—but 2025, five years in the future.

After a very intense, shocking hour, Dannie wakes again, at the brink of midnight, back in 2020. She can’t shake what has happened. It certainly felt much more than merely a dream, but she isn’t the kind of person who believes in visions. That nonsense is only charming coming from free-spirited types, like her lifelong best friend, Bella. Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.

That is, until four-and-a-half years later, when by chance Dannie meets the very same man from her long-ago vision.

Brimming with joy and heartbreak, In Five Years is an unforgettable love story that reminds us of the power of loyalty, friendship, and the unpredictable nature of destiny. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: Well, I want to know what happens and what it all means for Dannie! Did she have some sort of vision or jump into the future? What changed within that five year period to change her future so dramatically, if that is in fact what happened?  I need to know!


Havenfall (Havenfall #1) by Sara Holland
Release Date: March 3, 2020 by Bloomsbury YA
A safe haven between four realms. The girl sworn to protect it--at any cost.

Hidden deep in the mountains of Colorado lies the Inn at Havenfall, a sanctuary that connects ancient worlds--each with their own magic--together. For generations, the inn has protected all who seek refuge within its walls, and any who disrupt the peace can never return.

For Maddie Morrow, summers at the inn are more than a chance to experience this magic first-hand. Havenfall is an escape from reality, where her mother sits on death row accused of murdering Maddie's brother. It's where Maddie fell in love with handsome Fiorden soldier Brekken. And it's where one day she hopes to inherit the role of Innkeeper from her beloved uncle.

But this summer, the impossible happens--a dead body is found, shattering everything the inn stands for. With Brekken missing, her uncle gravely injured, and a dangerous creature on the loose, Maddie suddenly finds herself responsible for the safety of everyone in Havenfall. She'll do anything to uncover the truth, even if it means working together with an alluring new staffer Taya, who seems to know more than she's letting on. As dark secrets are revealed about the inn itself, one thing becomes clear to Maddie--no one can be trusted, and no one is safe . . . [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: I am spoiled by Ilona Andrews' The Innkeeper Chronicles and admit it was the idea of the Inn of Havenfall and Maddie's position as innkeeper that first attracted me to this novel. I realize it will be completely different and I am perfectly okay with that. This sounds like it will be a fun read--a mix of fantasy and mystery. 


The Forgotten Home Child by Genevieve Graham
Release Date: March 3, 2020 by Simon & Schuster
2018

At ninety-seven years old, Winnifred Ellis knows she doesn’t have much time left, and it is almost a relief to realize that once she is gone, the truth about her shameful past will die with her. But when her great-grandson Jamie, the spitting image of her dear late husband, asks about his family tree, Winnifred can’t lie any longer, even if it means breaking a promise she made so long ago...

1936

Fifteen-year-old Winny has never known a real home. After running away from an abusive stepfather, she falls in with Mary, Jack, and their ragtag group of friends roaming the streets of Liverpool. When the children are caught stealing food, Winny and Mary are left in Dr. Barnardo’s Barkingside Home for Girls, a local home for orphans and forgotten children found in the city’s slums. At Barkingside, Winny learns she will soon join other boys and girls in a faraway place called Canada, where families and better lives await them.

But Winny’s hopes are dashed when she is separated from her friends and sent to live with a family that has no use for another daughter. Instead, they have paid for an indentured servant to work on their farm. Faced with this harsh new reality, Winny clings to the belief that she will someday find her friends again.

Inspired by true events, The Forgotten Home Child is a moving and heartbreaking novel about place, belonging, and family—the one we make for ourselves and its enduring power to draw us home. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: I do love historical fiction and this particular story sounds like it is one well worth reading--and that needs to be shared. A story of a child who survives against all odds . . . 


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

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

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Where Is Your Bookmark? The Deep & My Favorite Genre(s)

What are you up to this Friday? It has been a relatively quiet week here, which has been so very nice! I had a day off from work this week and was able to get some much needed stuff done around the house. I admit my blogging motivation has been next to null though. At least I have been reading, right?

 Last night I  finished reading Nic Stone's Dear Martin, which I wish I could put in everyone's hands to read. Thank you again to all who voted for the book as my February read! I started reading The Deep by Alma Katsu today during my lunch break at work and thought I would share an excerpt or three with you today.

Someone, or something, is haunting the ship. That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the passengers of the Titanic from the moment they set sail. The Titanic's passengers expected to enjoy an experience befitting the much-heralded ship's maiden voyage, but instead, amid mysterious disappearances and sudden deaths, find themselves in an eerie, unsettling twilight zone. While some of the guests and crew shrug off strange occurrences, several--including maid Annie Hebbley, guest Mark Fletcher, and millionaires Madeleine Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim--are convinced there's something more sinister going on. And then disaster strikes.
Years later, Annie, having survived that fateful night, has attempted to put her life back together by going to work as a nurse on the sixth sailing of the Britannic, newly refitted as a hospital ship to support British forces fighting World War I. When she happens across an unconscious Mark, now a soldier, she is at first thrilled and relieved to learn that he too survived the tragic night four years earlier. But soon his presence awakens deep-buried feelings and secrets, forcing her to reckon with the demons of her past--as they both discover that the terror may not yet be over.

Featuring an ensemble cast of characters and effortlessly combining the supernatural with the height of historical disaster,
The Deep is an exploration of love and destiny, desire and innocence, and, above all, a quest to understand how our choices can lead us inexorably toward our doom. [Goodreads Summary]

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

From the prologue:
For a moment, the falling feels like something else entirely--like a brief, wild glimpse of freedom.
 But the surface comes too soon, shattering against her skin--a pane of glass--knocking the air out of her lungs. 
My thoughts: I can feel her falling and the harsh reality as she hits the water from the way Katsu describes this scene and in the text that follows. I was hooked right from the start. Who is she? What is happening? I have lots of questions!

From Chapter One:
October 1916Morninggate Asylum, Liverpool
She is not mad. 
My thoughts: An interesting first sentence given the location mentioned in the chapter heading, isn't it?  But then, during that time period, it was not unusual for women to be in asylums for a host of reasons, not necessarily because they were mentally ill. I continue to be all kinds of curious.


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.
No one could know what had happened last night. Which meant that, once she'd managed to pull herself back up the servants' stairwell, dripping wet, she'd returned quietly to her rooms, stropped down, wrapped the soaking nightgown in a pillowcase, donned an overcoat (plain brown wool, it was an effective disguise), then sneaked back out and threw the incriminating bundle over the railing watching it disappear into the black of the night and sea.

My thoughts: I am only on chapter two so far, but peeking ahead, I came across this gem at 56% of the novel. I am not sure who this is, sneaking around, but I am very curious as to what she has been up to and what she is trying to hide.

What do you think? Does this sound like something you would like to read? 


Every Friday Coffee Addicted Writer from Coffee Addicted Writer poses a question which participants respond on their own blogs within the week (Friday through Thursday). They then share their links at the main site and visit other participants blogs.

Which genre do you like the most? (submitted by Shahnila @ Untiereaders)
I hate this question. Not because it is a bad question, but because it is like asking me to name my favorite book or color. I enjoy reading a wide variety of books--and I like to mix it up to keep things interesting, but these tend to be my go to genres:
  • historical mysteries
  • cozy mysteries
  • romantic suspense
  • domestic thrillers
  • urban fantasy 
  • paranormal/supernatural romance
  • historical fiction
  • heart-wrenching fiction
To make it even better? A cross-genre mix!

I mentioned to my husband how hard it is for me to pick just one favorite, and he put it better than I possibly could: "Historical mystery romance set during World War I or II." He forgot to add witches and werewolves to the mix. And maybe a dragon. In outer space.

Which genre do you like the most? 


 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.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Weekly Mewsings: Song of Achilles & The Secret Chapter/February's TBR List Poll 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: Last night I finished reading Jennifer J. Chow's upcoming Mimi Lee Gets a Clue, a cozy mystery featuring a pet groomer trying to get her business off the ground and her super intelligent (and sassy) cat, Marshmallow. It was a fun start to a new series, I look forward to following. Early last week, I began reading an essay anthology called Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves edited by Glory Edim for those moments I have just a spot of time to read. It is so good!


Mouse and I are reading the 6th book in the Ivy + Bean series, Doomed to Dance by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall. Mouse was a bit disappointed at first that Ivy and Bean hate ballet given how much Mouse enjoys it, but I think the book has engaged her enough that she is able to look past that fact for the time being.

What I Am Watching: My family watched the first couple episodes of the new Masked Singer season. It's one of Mouse's favorites. I checked out the new 911 Lonestar  television show, which is a spin off of 911, a drama about first responders. Despite the new Lonestar show being set in Austin, Texas, the opening scene of the premiere episode was filmed locally, and so I was curious how it turned out.

This morning we watched The Lion King remake--finally. It was amazingly well done, but very dark. Was the original this dark? I haven't seen that one in a while. I hated the scene in which Simba's dad dies. It was too much. My daughter left the room when I warned her it was coming up. I do not think that is a movie we will re-watch often.

Off the Blog: I have had hardly any time to get online and do any blogging or visiting other blogs. I hope to remedy that a bit this week. Show rehearsals are well under way, and cookie sales got off to a good start. Work has been busy, which is pretty much the norm this time of year.


My father was a king and the son of kings. ~ Opening of The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Ecco, 2011
Fantasy; 378 pgs
Source: Purchased

This past summer I had read a couple of reviews about The Song of Achilles and added it to my TBR pile. It was my first book finished this year, and what a book it was. Set in ancient Greece, the times of gods and heroes, the novel is narrated by a young prince, Patroclus, who has never been able to meet his father's expectations. He is exiled from his father's kingdom and sent to live and train in another court, that of King Peleus, father of Achilles. For all his awkwardness and seemingly ordinariness, Patroclus does not know why Prince Achilles, son of a king and sea goddess Thetis, would take an interest in him, but he does. Patroclus and Achilles share a special bond that only grows as they train, learning the art of war and medicine and eventually go off to war to try to save the kidnapped Helen of Sparta.

Madeline Miller's writing is exquisite and the story she weaves around the mythical Achilles and Patroclus is not only engaging, but extremely moving as well. Patroclus is easy to relate to, both compassionate and thoughtful. I felt pulled into his story and that of Achilles, their romance and their heartbreak, as well as their coming of age. It's a time in which the gods can be kind or cruel, taking sides and feel slighted and take revenge, and where the fate of humankind can be determined on a whim. Mankind is no less cruel--the things men do out of greed for riches and power, for the sake of  their own egos.

I did not always like the choices Achilles made, finding him at times too big on ego, but I suppose if I had been told all my life that I was the best fighter ever (and literally was), destined to be a hero, and the son of a king and a goddess, I might act that way too. Patroclus kept him grounded. I managed to get through most of the book without tears, but the end . . . There were lots of tears.

My father took a Greek mythology class in college when I was a child, and it sparked my own interest in the subject with all the stories he would share. The Song of Achilles leads up to the events in Homer's The Illiad, a book I have yet to read, but I did read The Odyssey, which made a big impression on me. I do not think it is necessary to have much knowledge of Greek mythology or Homer's tales to read and enjoy The Song of Achilles, although it certainly wouldn't hurt and might even add to one's appreciation of her re-telling of the ancient myths.

Recommended? Absolutely! If you enjoy stories with a mix of adventure, fantasy, warfare, coming of age, and romance, give this one a try.


The Secret Chapter (The Invisible Library #6) by Genevieve Cogman
Ace, 2020
Fantasy; 346 pgs

The Invisible Library series is one of my favorites, and I was eager to dive into the latest book as soon as I could. Genevieve Cogman has crafted an intricate multi-dimensional world filled with supernatural beings, including fae and dragons, and, of course, our favorite magical Librarians. As the Library's representative lead for the treaty between the fae and dragons, Irene, knows how tenuous the situation is during its early days. When word comes that the world she spent much of her school years is in danger, she will do just about anything it takes to save it. Joined by her ever faithful companion, Kai, Irene finds herself in a very precarious position. In order to save the world she grew up in, she must steal a painting for the nefarious fae, Mr. Nemo. He's put together an unlikely team of fae and dragons, plus Irene, to carry out the heist. They all must walk a fine line of not breaching the treaty and yet stealing their prize. Not knowing their team members, Kai and Irene are not sure who to trust, and soon it becomes apparent that the theft faces quite a few obstacles. Not to mention the political aspects that come in to play to avoid breaching the treaty.

As with every book in the series, The Secret Chapter is full of nonstop action and colorful and unique characters. Irene is as clever and resourceful as ever. And I just adore Kai. With each book I feel like we get to know more about each of the main characters' backgrounds--and that of the world they live in. I am fascinated by the origins of the dragons. And I definitely want to know more about Irene's hidden past. Each book gets better and better, and I cannot wait to see where Cogman will take me next.

My thoughts on the other books in the series:
The Invisible Library (Invisible Library #1) (2015)
The Masked City (Invisible Library #2) (2016)
The Burning Page (Invisible Library #3)(2016)
The Lost Plot (Invisible Library #4) (2018)
The Mortal Word (Invisible Library, #5) (2018)

Recommended? A must read historical fantasy series--but read in order preferably. Each book builds on the one before.


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


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). 



With twenty of you weighing in, there were an equal amount of votes for both Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay. The winner, Dear Martin by Nic Stone, got double the votes! That's quite a win! Thank you again to everyone who voted. I am eager to dive into Dear Martin today, especially after hearing how much so many of you recommended it.


Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning debut.
Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can't escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.
Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it's Justyce who is under attack.  [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, February 04, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday: Burglars Can't Be Choosers/The Unspoken Name/The Grace Kelly Dress/Pies Before Guys


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!


Burglars Can't Be Choosers (Bernie Rhodenbarr #1) by Lawrence Block (Harper Torch, 1977)

Bernie Rhodenbarr is a personable chap, a good neighbor, a passable poker player. His chosen profession, however, might not sit well with some. Bernie is a burglar, a good one, effortlessly lifting valuables from the not-so-well-protected abodes of well-to-do New Yorkers like a modern-day Robin Hood. (The poor, as Bernie would be the first to tell you, alas, have nothing worth stealing.)

He's not perfect, however; he occasionally makes mistakes. Like accepting a paid assignment from a total stranger to retrieve a particular item from a rich man's apartment. Like still being there when the cops arrive. Like having a freshly slain corpse lying in the next room, and no proof that Bernie isn't the killer.

Now he's really got his hands full, having to locate the true perpetrator while somehow eluding the police -- a dirty job indeed, but if Bernie doesn't do it, who will? [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: This is actually my husband's book, but it's also on my TBR shelf because I want to read it as well. A bit of a different hero in a mystery. Sounds like fun!


Have you read this book or tried the series? If so, what did you think? Does it sounds like something you would enjoy?


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 Unspoken Name (The Serpent Gates #1) by A.K. Larkwood
Release Date: February 11, 2020 by Tor
A. K. Larkwood's The Unspoken Name is a stunning debut fantasy about an orc priestess turned wizard's assassin.
What if you knew how and when you will die?
Csorwe does—she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.
But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard's loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.
But Csorwe will soon learn—gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read it: There's that word again. "assassin." How can I resist that? Csorwe sounds like an interesting character in a complicated position. 


The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz
Release Date: March 3, 2020 by Graydon House Books
Two years after Grace Kelly’s royal wedding, her iconic dress is still all the rage in Paris—and one replica, and the secrets it carries, will inspire three generations of women to forge their own paths in life and in love.

Paris, 1958: Rose, a seamstress at a fashionable atelier, has been entrusted with sewing a Grace Kelly—look-alike gown for a wealthy bride-to-be. But when, against better judgment, she finds herself falling in love with the bride’s handsome brother, Rose must make an impossible choice, one that could put all she’s worked for at risk: love, security and of course, the dress.

Sixty years later, tech CEO Rachel, who goes by the childhood nickname “Rocky,” has inherited the dress for her upcoming wedding in New York City. But there’s just one problem: Rocky doesn’t want to wear it. A family heirloom dating back to the 1950s, the dress just isn’t her. Rocky knows this admission will break her mother Joan’s heart. But what she doesn’t know is why Joan insists on the dress—or the heartbreaking secret that changed her mother’s life decades before, as she herself prepared to wear it.

As the lives of these three women come together in surprising ways, the revelation of the dress’s history collides with long-buried family heartaches. And in the lead-up to Rocky’s wedding, they’ll have to confront the past before they can embrace the beautiful possibilities of the future. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: I love these dual time line historical novels, this one centered around a dress. Romance, heartache, and family secrets . . . I cannot wait to dive into this one.


Pies before Guys (Pie Town Mystery #4) by Kirsten Weiss
Release Date: February 25, 2020 by Kensington
Val’s crime-solving club digs into a piping hot new case!

A poetry slam at a bakery? Why not! Even though Pie Town proprietor Val Harris would rather be spending time with her newfound half-brother, she knows her employee, Abril, is beyond excited to be hosting the event. Especially since it stars the apple pie of Abril’s eye, poet and professor Michael Starke. But the evening ends on a sour note when Professor Starke is found murdered mere moments after being accused of plagiarism.

Just like that, Pie Town is at the center of another criminal inquiry. At Abril’s request—and much to Detective Carmichael’s consternation—Val and Charlene decide to investigate Starke’s death. But the case is as tough as an overworked crust and the Baker Street Bakers are only coming up with scraps. If they don’t pinch the cultured killer soon, Pie Town’s reputation could crumble. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: A crime-solving club? A poetry slam? Pies? I haven't yet tried this series, but I do know I enjoy Kirsten Weiss's mysteries. I can't wait to read this one!


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

Saturday, February 01, 2020

Weekly Mewsings: Goodbye January (Finally!) & Hello February (Please Vote For My Next Read!)

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. 


Last night I learned that Mary Higgins Clark has died. I met her and her daughter Carol several years ago at a book festival. She was such a warm and lovely woman. I remember thinking she reminded me of "everyone's grandma". You would never imagine she wrote suspense thriller novels. It has been years since I last read one of her books, but I read them all through my teens, college years, and well into my adulthood.  She will be sorely missed.

New to the Shelves:

Finding this book has proven to be a bit of a challenge! I have wanted a copy since I first heard about it, but put off buying one too long. I finally found a used copy and it now has a place on my TBR shelf.

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu
A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers' bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.

One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.

Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery. [Goodreads Summary]

And more gift card book buys:


Wolf Gone Wild (Stay a Spell #1) by Juliette Cross 
What's the worst thing that can happen to a werewolf? Unable to shift for three months, Mateo Cruz knows all too well. His wolf has taken up residence in his head, taunting him night and day with vividly violent and carnal thoughts. Convinced he's cursed, he needs the help of a powerful witch before he literally goes insane.

​Evie Savoie has always obeyed the house rules of her coven--no werewolves. They're known for being moody and volatile. So, when a distempered, dangerous werewolf strolls into the bar and almost strangles one of her late-night customers, she's ready to bounce him through the door. But the desperation in his eyes when he begs her to help him softens her heart and convinces her to bend the rules.

​What Evie doesn't know is that Mateo's wolf has a mind of his own. And now that she's in his sights, he wants only one thing. Her. [Goodreads Summary]

Sweep with Me (Innkeeper Chronicles #4.5) by Ilona Andrews
Thank you for joining us at Gertrude Hunt, the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, during the Treaty Stay. As you know, we are honor-bound to accept all guests during this oldest of innkeeper holidays and we are expecting a dangerous guest. Or several. But have no fear. Your safety and comfort is our first priority. The inn and your hosts, Dina Demille and Sean Evans, will defend you at all costs. [But we hope we don’t have to.]

Every winter, Innkeepers look forward to celebrating their own special holiday, which commemorates the ancient treaty that united the very first Inns and established the rules that protect them, their intergalactic guests, and the very unaware/oblivious people of [planet] Earth. By tradition, the Innkeepers welcomed three guests: a warrior, a sage, and a pilgrim, but during the holiday, Innkeepers must open their doors to anyone who seeks lodging. Anyone.

All Dina hopes is that the guests and conduct themselves in a polite manner. But what’s a holiday without at least one disaster? [Goodreads Summary]

Trouble on the Books (Castle Bookshop Mystery #1) by Essie Lang
Rookie bookstore owner Shelby Cox must hit the books to learn the ropes before she loses a killer in the stacks.

Shelby Cox never intended to become a bookseller, so when the former editor returns to her hometown of Alexandria Bay, nestled in upstate New York’s breathtaking Thousand Islands region, to take over her aunt’s bookstore, she has no idea what to expect. To her amazement, she discovers that she now owns a fifty-percent share in Bayside Books, and will also run the store’s second location in the majestic castle on nearby Blye Island.

But just as Shelby is gearing up for the start of the tourist season, the Castle volunteer coordinator is found murdered in the nearby Grotto. Castle caretaker Matthew Kessler is suspect number one, but Shelby thinks the killing may be connected to an earlier era, when violence among Prohibition-era smugglers was rampant in the region. As Shelby launches her own investigation, handsome and unnerving Special Agent Zack Griffin of the Coast Guard Investigative Services tries to quell her smuggling theory and keep her safe. But Shelby is determined to summon all her savvy as a book editor to plot the murder—and find the killer before he strikes again—in Trouble on the Books, Essie Lang’s clever and captivating series debut. [Goodreads Summary]

Bear Witness to Murder (Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear Mystery #2) by Meg Macy
As autumn air settles into the quaint small town of Silver Hollow, there’s nothing more popular than Sasha’s teddy bears—and murder in cold blood . . .

Silver Bear Shop and Factory manager Sasha Silverman is cozying up to the fall season by hosting Silver Hollow’s Cranbeary Tea Party, the opening event of the village’s Oktobear Fest—a too-cute celebration themed around teddy bears. She barely has a moment to agonize over the return of her former high school rival, Holly Parker, whose new toy and bookstore in town could spell big trouble for her the Silver Bear Shop and her cousin’s small bookstore . . .

But when Sasha discovers Holly’s shop assistant dead with a knife plunged in her body, the unpleasant woman suddenly looks like a real backstabber. So does Sasha’s ex-husband, rumored to have rekindled the fiery extramarital affair he once had with the victim. Now, before a gruesome homicide case takes the fun out of both the Fest and her personal life, Sasha must identify the true culprit from a daunting suspect list—or risk becoming as lifeless as one of her stuffed bears . . . [Goodreads Summary]

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


What I Am Reading: I am just over halfway through S.K. Dunstall's Stars Beyond and loving it. It is the second book in a science fiction series written by two sisters. I hope to finish it this weekend. I think the next book I pick up will be a romance or mystery. Maybe a little of both.

What I Am Watching: I watched the final episodes of The Good Place. Yes, I cried. What a fitting ending! I am not generally a fan of sitcoms, but this one was a bit different, and I loved it. I enjoy the show's charm and humor. It was also thought provoking. I have always adored Kristen Bell, and that was the initial draw of the show for me. I have really come to like and respect Jameela Jamil outside of the show as well as her character on the show. Heck, I love the entire cast. I am going to miss The Good Place. Thank goodness I can watch it again.

Off the Blog: January was one of the longest months ever. There were dark clouds hanging over most of the month. And not the kind of clouds you find in the sky. There were lots of tears and angst and a mix of other emotions. But there were some bright spots too. My friend and coworker who was suffering from colon cancer had surgery in early January, and the surgeon was able to remove all the cancer. She has to undergo one more surgery, but her prognosis is very good. My great aunt is home and doing well after her heart surgery.

Girl Scout cookie season kicked off last weekend and Mouse has her first booth sale tomorrow. I will be assisting. I am not sure how many people will be out and about on Super Bowl Sunday, but hopefully we can catch some of those last minute shoppers before the game.

Auditions for the summer ballet and musical my daughter's dance studio is putting on were held last Saturday. She auditioned for both, and the cast lists came out earlier in the week. My husband even made it onto the ballet cast list! Rehearsals started today. Another busy spring and summer, with us spending most of our time at the dance studio . . . I am not complaining though. I love our dance family.

Mouse was selected to participate in one of her school's coding clubs this winter, and she had her first class this past week. She had hoped to get into the music or art group, but it wasn't meant to be. She did get her third choice though, which was fashion. She's loving it so far.

Work has been busy. The new manager is settling in well, and so far so good. She seems like she will be a good fit. I attended a training one day this past week and have another coming up next week. It's a chance to get out of the office. I actually like trainings--as long as I don't have to do any role playing or too many group activities where I have to report out.


Here is what I finished reading in January:
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  • The Secret Chapter (Invisible Library, #6) by Genevieve Cogman
  • Madeline's Christmas by Ludwig Bemelmans
  • Merry Moosey Christmas by Lynn Plourde
  • Amelia Bedelia's First Valentine by Herman Parish
  • An Easy Death (Gunnie Rose, #1) by Charlaine Harris
  • The Family Next Door by Fiona Cummins
  • A Longer Death (Gunnie Rose, #2) by Charlaine Harris
  • Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
  • A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead
  • Mr. Willowby's Christmas by Robert Barry
  • Curious George and the Puppies by Margret Rey & H.A. Rey
  • The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School by Deborah Diesen
  • The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
  • I Am Rosa Parks by Brad Meltzer
  • Superfudge by Judy Blume
There were a number of children's books in there (most re-reads). I did read a nice amount all for myself as well though. I am loving Charlaine Harris's Gunnie Rose series, and I cannot get enough of the Invisible Library series. The Song of Achilles was as good as everyone said it was. The Family Next Door was a compelling read--definitely chilling! Mouse and I enjoyed reading Superfudge together, although I had to skip most of chapter 10 when reading to her (she may barely believe Santa is real, but she isn't to the point yet where she wants to crossover to the non-believer side).

I got off to a good blogging start this year. I am behind in commenting on blogs and responding to my own comments at the moment, but hopefully I will find time to catch up. I also need to find time to do more prep work for future posts. I have not had a chance to work on many of the reviews I owe you. I am considering whether I want to include them in my weekend posts, just as quick reviews, continue to review books on Fridays with the Friday memes I participate in, or review them separately. What have you found works best for you?

This Past January In Reading Mews:

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




I selected three books this month to celebrate Black History Month, and am putting it up to you to help me choose which one to read in February. All three of these books have been on my TBR shelf awhile, and have come highly recommended. Have you read any of them?



Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
From the New York Times bestselling author of Bad Feminist: a searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself.

“I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.”
In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.

With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved—in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes. [Goodreads Summary]

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
A novel of breathtaking sweep and emotional power that traces three hundred years in Ghana and along the way also becomes a truly great American novel. Extraordinary for its exquisite language, its implacable sorrow, its soaring beauty, and for its monumental portrait of the forces that shape families and nations, Homegoing heralds the arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction.

Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle's dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast's booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia's descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

Generation after generation, Yaa Gyasi's magisterial first novel sets the fate of the individual against the obliterating movements of time, delivering unforgettable characters whose lives were shaped by historical forces beyond their control. Homegoing is a tremendous reading experience, not to be missed, by an astonishingly gifted young writer.  [Goodreads Summary]

Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning debut.

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can't escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it's Justyce who is under attack.  [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.