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.

57 comments:

  1. I haven't read Mary Higgins Clark in a while, either, but used to read each of her books as they were published. What a legacy she leaves!

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    1. Kathy - Me too. I read every one of her books I could get my hands on for awhile there. She was such a prolific author. Yes, she leaves quite a legacy.

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  2. I just started The Innkeeper Chronicles and am loving the series. Have fun reading all your new books.

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    1. Ardis - I love the Innkeeper Chronicles and am glad you are enjoying it too!

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  3. I was so sad to hear about Mary Higgins Clark. I used to just inhale her books in college though it's been awhile since I've read anything by her. Sounds like a busy spring for your family! So exciting about the ballet auditions! Have a great week!

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    1. Katherine - I did too. I used to love her books. It is a busy time of year for us. I am doing my best to enjoy it and not let it overwhelm me. I hope you have a great week too.

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  4. I really dislike roleplaying at training too!

    Here's to a great February!

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    1. Marg - I think most people dislike role playing in training. I wish they would just do away with it. LOL I hope you have a great February too!

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  5. I love to learn new things at trainings, but I hate all the silly things they often make you do.

    Homegoing is a book I enjoyed very much, but, because I'm curious about it and it's Black History Month, I voted for Dear Martin.

    I like including my reviews in my weekly wrapups, but I know there are lots of bloggers who prefer to review each book separately.

    I hope you have a wonderful week. Good luck to your daughter with her clubbing adventures.

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    1. Deb - I enjoy learning new things, but, yeah, I'm happy to just sit and listen to a lecture and take notes. Thank you for voting and for your input about posting reviews. For so long I've posted my reviews separately, but it isn't proving to be as practical these days. I am enjoying Dear Martin right now. It definitely is relevant in the here and now. Have a great week too and continue to enjoy Paris!

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  6. I'm so glad to hear that about your friend- here's hoping she's out of the woods with the cancer and on the way to a ful recovery. Congrats on the auditions too. :)

    Madeline Miller is an author I want to try- Song of Achilles sounds great!

    Good luck with the reviews! It's hard to catch up sometimes but don't pressure yourself. I am starting to like mini- reviews and am thinking if trying more of them.

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    1. Greg - We were all so relieved the cancer is out. My other coworker who has leukemia isn't doing so well though, unfortunately. She doesn't have any faith in modern medicine and despite her family's pleas, has chosen not to follow her doctor's advice but to try a holistic approach. We hope it will work out the way she wants to, but we are all worried about her.

      I hope you get a chance to read The Song of Achilles!

      I'm liking mini reviews too. It's so much less pressure on myself.

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  7. That's a beautiful memory of Mary Higgins Clark you have! Also, you've had an amazing start to the year, ever since I've read 'Circe' I've decided to give 'The Song of Achilles' another go as well. I hope you're enjoying a lovely weekend and have a great week coming up! Do pop by my round-up post if you have the time :) Juli @ A Universe in Words

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    1. Juli - Thank you! I really want to read Circe, but haven't yet. My interest in it though is what led me to The Song of Achilles, interestingly enough.

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  8. Sadly I have not read Mary Higgins Clark at all, despite her fame and fan following. Maybe I should give it a try this month as a tribute. I hope you enjoy reading Dear Martin.

    Also I love Jameela Jamil too.

    Gayathri @ Elgee Writes

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    1. Gayathri - If you do decide to try something by Mary Higgins Clark, I hope you enjoy it. I am enjoying Dear Martin very much right now.

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  9. All your February TBR reads look amazing but I heard so many good things about Dear Martin I had to vote for it!

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    1. Eustacia - Thank you for voting! I am enjoying Dear Martin so far. :-)

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  10. Wendy, I'm so impressed that you get to keep up blogging so well considering what a busy life you have. Mouse sure seems busy and, mom and dad as a result. I'm glad your aunt and friend are recovering well. Here's to a calmer February!

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    1. Diane - I am not doing so well with the blogging this month, but I do what I can. :-) Mouse definitely keeps us on the go. I hope you have a great February too.

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  11. Delighted to hear your friend is making a good recovery - colon cancer is such a horrible one! You had a stormingly good reading list for January, Wendy - I've also read A Longer Fall and The Secret Chapter, as well as Sweep With Me. I must look for the S.K. Dunstall space opera series. Have a great week - and an enjoyable February!

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    1. Sarah - Thank you! We are all so glad the doctor was able to remove all the cancer. It was a great reading month last month. This month is going much slower, but I am enjoying my reading just the same. I hope you do give S.K. Dustall's series a try. It's really good (I think).

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  12. I also read a lot of Mary Higgins Clark when I was a teen, so it’s been a while. Her legacy will no doubt live on.
    As to your blog schedule, maybe pick a day and include several mini reviews in the one post..that seems to be popular right now.

    Wishing you a great reading week

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    1. Shelleyrae - Yes, she's left a great legacy. Thank you for your input about review posting. Hopefully I can find a good balance that works for me and my time constraints. :-) I hope you have a great week too.

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  13. The World Gone Wild cover is gorgeous!
    I bought Sweep With Me a couple of weeks ago and haven't read it yet. I cross my fingers we both enjoy it but I'm sure we will as Ilona Andrews rock!

    I cried at the final episode of The Good Place too. I thought it was a wonderful ending. I really enjoyed that show.

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    1. Nicci - I really like that cover too. :-) I hope we both love Sweep With Me too. I love the series.

      Yes, the ending for The Good Place was so good, wasn't it? I am glad you enjoyed the show too.

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  14. I voted for Hunger, because...well, it's the only one I read of your choices...and it's good.

    Small note: I like the cat walking icon. Even shows up in my feed reader. Nice branding addition.

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    1. Bryan - I am glad to hear you liked Hunger. It may not have won, but I still really want to read it. I need to center the walking cat better, but I am glad you like it!

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  15. I hadn't heard about Mary Higgins Clark. It probably hits harder when you've met them in person. Hopefully there will be brighter skies in February and beyond!
    Happy reading!

    Stacy Renee @ Lazy Day Literature

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  16. I also got teary during the final episode of The Good Place (so glad I'm not the only one). I thought the series was fun, made me think, and was really well done.

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    1. Helen - The Good Place was a fun series. I am glad you enjoyed it too!

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  17. I'm actually surprised that it took so long for January to end. I'm usually always saying that time is flying but I definitely cannot say that about January. Which is a good thing?

    I love the books you're trying to choose from for next month. Both Hunger and Homecoming are on my TBR and I'm curious about Dear Martin. Can't wait to see what you pick!

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    1. Athira - I know I was happy to see January finally behind us. It was such a rough month. February is flying by, however, and so far not nearly as bad.

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  18. I was sad to hear about Mary Higgins Clark as well. However, she lived a long life - 92 I think. I remember well her early books that I loved and read more than once. A great legacy to other writers. How great that you got to meet her and her daughter. Those book events are cherished memories aren't they? Hope you have a good week. Life sounds busy for you. Good luck with Girl Scout cookies.

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    1. Kay - Yes, she certainly lived a long life. I hope you have a good week as well.

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  19. Wolf Gone Wild is one that looks really good to me. :)

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  20. I went to add Mooncakes to my library list, but they don't have it for kindle. :O It sounds like a really cool book ;)

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    1. Becki - Mooncakes seems to be really hard to find. I was lucky to find the copy I did. I hope you get a chance to read it at some point.

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  21. You definitely had a busy month. First so happy to hear your friend and aunt are doing well health-wise! That's so cool that you met Mary Higgins Clark. I think she's one of the authors that got me reading mystery/suspense but like you, I haven't read one of her books in years. I hope Mouse has a great time selling girl scouts cookies and hope February is filled with good stuff for you!

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    1. Iliana - February is almost half and that doesn't seem possible. I will be glad when the cookie sale is over. Having so many cookies in the house is too tempting. Haha. I hope you have a great February too!

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  22. I'm glad your friend and aunt are doing well. I read Wolf Gone Wild and liked it.

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    1. Mary - I remember your review of Wolf Gone Wild and how much you enjoyed it. :-) I look forward to giving it a try!

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  23. The Meg Macy series sounds good. I have Mooncakes on my TBR. My weekly update

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  24. I keep wanting to try out The Song of Achilles...and hope Homegoing wins. Its an amazing book!

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    1. Sveta - Thank you for voting! Even though Homegoing didn't win, I still want to read it. It does sound like a great book.

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  25. It looks like you had a really great month of reading! I haven't read any of the books on your TBR poll but I'll be interested to see what you end up reading. Have a great week!!

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    1. Samantha - It was a good month. I have gotten off to a slow start in February though. I hope you have a great week too.

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  26. That is great news about your co worker. Colon cancer can be totally eradicated if caught early enough. Hoping for an excellent prognosis after her next surgery.

    My daughter opted out of The Little Mermaid so she is only in one show at the moment. A new thing for us!

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    1. Ti - Yes, it is great news. We haven't heard to much about my other coworker who has cancer. Last we heard her family was trying to convince her to follow the doctor's recommendation for treatment, but she doesn't have any faith in modern medicine. I hope your daughter enjoys the break from doing more than one show at once.

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  27. I listened to Dear Martin on audio a few months ago, and it was sooooooo good! Very timely and very well written! I highly recommend it even if it doesn't win :)

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    1. Lisa - I am really liking Dear Martin. I agree, it's very timely. Thank you for voting!

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  28. So sad to hear about Mary Higgins Clark passing. I read a few of her books and have enjoyed them. She'll be missed. :(

    Sounds like you'd a busy month. And I'm glad to hear your friend and your great aunt are doing well after their surgery.

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    1. Melody - It was such sad news about Mary Higgins Clark. We've had a little reprieve from the busy this week, which was nice. I hope you have a great week.

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  29. Deborah Diesen is from my home state and I've listened to her present at SCBWI conferences. She is so talented and genuine. We also watched the end of The Good Place, although I didn't catch all of the episodes. It's always sad when the world loses talented artists like Clark. That's really cool that you got to meet her.

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