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..

51 comments:

  1. I had no idea that 911 show was supposed to be based in Austin. Given that I live in Austin I may have to check it out! So glad to hear you really liked The Song of Achilles and hope Dear Martin is going to be a great read!

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    1. Iliana - The original 911 show is based in Los Angeles, but the new one is supposed to be based out of Austin. It's pretty out there in terms of believability, but for some reason I like these types of shows. Thanks for visiting!

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  2. I loved mythology in school but for some reason it doesn't interest me now even though I've heard good things about The Song of Achilles.

    I hope Mouse has a fantastic cookie sale!

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    1. Kathy - There are some subjects I feel the same way about--things I was interested in at one time, but not so much anymore. Thank you for the well wishes for Mouse. :-) Thank you too for stopping by!

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  3. I need to finally try Miller!
    Enjoy your week.
    https://wordsandpeace.com/2020/02/09/sunday-post-24-2-9-2020/

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    1. Emma - I hope you will. I really enjoyed The Song of Achilles. I hope you enjoy your week too! Thank you for visiting.

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  4. We watched the new Lion King too and thought the same thing, this is too scary for our grand kids. Love the new season of the Masked Singer!

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    1. Nise' - Yeah, it was too much for my daughter, I think. The Masked Singer is such a fun show, isn't it? :-) Thank you for stopping by!

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  5. The Song of Achilles is not something I'd usually pick up - but I read it for a book group last year and was riveted. I have only read this one by her but so many recommend Circe, I will definitely read that one too. The writing style was poetically riveting!

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    1. Erin - I am glad you enjoyed The Song of Achilles when you read it. I met it made for a good book group pick. I want to read Circe now too. Thank you for visiting!

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  6. Mimi Lee Gets a Clue looks good. It's going on my wishlist. My weekly update

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    1. Sarah - It was a fun read. :-) Thank you for stopping by!

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  7. I read Circe last year, and many people told me that Song of Achilles is even better, so I'm eager to read it, too.

    The Lion King remake sounds like it is quite sad. I don't remember the original being so sad, but it's been a long time since I've seen it.

    I don't know why I haven't read the Invisible Library series. It has everything I love in a story.

    I hope you have a lovely week!

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    1. Deb - I am looking forward to reading Circe at some point. It was what first pointed me in the direction of The Song of Achilles. I hope you do give the Invisible Library series a try some day. Have a great week too. Thank you for visiting!

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  8. I've read Circe but I still haven't read Song of Achilles!

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    1. Marg - I hope you do get a chance to read it! Thank you for visiting.

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  9. The Song of Achilles seems very intriguing! I haven't read Homer's Iliad or Odyssey, but I am aiming to do it soon. Given that being an English student, it is kind of expected of me 🙈 I am also very intrigued by Greek mythology but the most I can do about it is learn about it online since my uni doesn't offer any such course 😔 but hey, there are great resources online too, so I am not complaining!

    Hope you have a wonderful week ahead!

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    1. ERK - I've found it's nice to have somewhat of a knowledge of certain ancient texts as they often find their way into modern times in one way or another. It is too bad your university doesn't offer a Greek mythology class, but, as you said, there are a lot of resources out there you could probably look into if you wanted to. I hope you have a great week too. Thank you for stopping by!

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  10. I hope you enjoy Dear Martin.

    Wishing you a great reading week

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    1. Shelleyrae - So far I am really enjoying it. I hope you have a great week too. Thank you for visiting!

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  11. I enjoyed reading Circe and thought it was very well written. I've to keep The Song of Achilles in mind. Hope you enjoy reading Dear Martin, Wendy.

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    1. Melody - I am enjoying Dear Martin--definitely a timely read given the climate in the U.S. today. I need to read Circe still. Thank you for stopping by!

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  12. I've been meaning to try the Invisible Library series for a long time - probably because you love it. Ha! I'll do that soon, hopefully. The 911 series 'set in Austin' - yeah, well, I heard what the actual Austin Fire Department thinks of it. Not very positive reviews - LOL! And if it isn't actually filmed here - well, you won't get the right vibe. However, it might be very popular.

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    1. Kay - If you do read the Invisible Library series, I hope you enjoy it. I can imagine what the real first responders think of both 911 shows. Even the original set in L.A. is pretty out there. Of course, most shows like that are. I've worked with enough to know. I enjoy shows like that though. I like the personal stories especially. I am not sure where 911 Lonestar is actually filmed. I just know the one scene in the first episode was filmed near where I live. The original 911 show is set in L.A. Thank you for visiting!

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  13. When I first got into audiobooks, Song of Achilles was one of the first books I read that way! I keep meaning to read Circe now.

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    1. Kelly - I would like to read Circe too. It's actually the one that first caught my attention, although I haven't yet read it. Thanks for stopping by!

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  14. I loved Circe and have The Song of Achilles, but still haven't read it.

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    1. Jenclair - I hope you enjoy The Song of Achilles if you read it. Thank you for visiting!

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  15. I've been meaning to read The Invisible Library books...thanks for sharing.

    Dear Martin looks good!

    Enjoy your week, and here are my Weekly Updates

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    1. Laurel-Rain - I hope you will give them a try someday. Dear Martin is good--and very relevant today. I hope you have a great week too. Thank you for stopping by!

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  16. cute pic and i hope you enjoy dear martin
    sherry @ fundinmental

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  17. That cozy sounds pretty good. Seeing The Song of achilles reminds me I want to read Circe too- I've been meaning to for a while. I liked the first Invisibe Library as well.

    Hope you had a good weekend and have a great week ahead!

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    1. Greg - I would like to read Circe too--hopefully this year! I hope you have a great week too. Thank you for stopping by!

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  18. Mimi Lee gets a clue sounds like a fun cozy mystery! I'm glad you're enjoying it! Dear Martin sounds like a fascinating read as well! Have a wonderful week :)

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

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    1. Lindy - It was a fun cozy. :-) I hope you are having a great week as well. Thank you for visiting!

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    1. Mary - We are enjoying it too. :-) I'm a terrible guesser though. Haha. Thank you for stopping by!

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  20. It's hard to read a book where your favorite activity is denigrated- so cheers to Mouse for continuing on! I've been wanting to watch the new Lion King but put it off for a while because I heard secondhand there were a lot of negative reviews. Glad to know it's a bit dark- I'll avoid seeing it with my youngest and just view by myself at some point.

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    1. Jeane - Especially when it involves characters you've come to really like over the course of the series. By the end, she really liked the book, but she did say she wished they had realized ballet was fun. I would definitely recommend you screen the new Lion King first if your youngest is as sensitive as mine to sad movies. She may be okay with it, of course, but it doesn't hurt to err on the side of caution.

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  21. I haven't read Ivy & Bean in years :) Dear Martin sounds similar to The Hate U Give or A Love Hate Thing, maybe? Enjoy your week!

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    1. Becki - My daughter loves the Ivy + Bean books. :-) I actually discovered Dear Martin after reading The Hate U Give, which I loved. I hope you enjoy your week too!

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  22. We've been watching the 911 spin off and we are liking it so far. Hope you and mouse enjoy Doomed to Dance!

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    1. Jenea - I am glad you are enjoying 911 Lonestar too. Thank you for visiting!

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  23. It does sound like you have been quite busy! Those Ivy and Bean books were favourites of mine. So much fun. I hope that you enjoy Dear Martin, it sounds like it is going to be really gripping. Have a wonderful week! :)

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    1. Lori - Dear Martin is thought provoking and a good book. I am enjoying it. I hope you have a great week too. Thank you for stopping by!

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  24. Sorry your little one was sad to see that beloved book characters didn't share her love of ballet. It's interested to see how kids are affected by things like that in their reading.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. Nicole - Thank you. She seemed really hurt by it at first, but that gave us the opportunity to talk about the fact that even friends can have different interests sometimes. Thank you for visiting!

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  25. We've been watching The Masked Singer UK and it's the most random show I've seen in a while but it's oddly addictive!

    The Song of Achilles I bought on an audible sale last year as people speak so highly of it but I haven't read it yet. Your thoughts on the book have got me excited to begin! Although, I may hold off just a little bit longer as we're going to Greece this summer and it feels like it may be a good pre-holiday read! :)

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