Saturday, August 08, 2020

Weekly Mews: Reading, Watching and My August TBR 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: I turned to a favorite author this past week to help break my reading slump. I am nearly finished with Wolf Gone Wild (Stay a Spell, #1) by Juliette Cross. While my bookmark is still in Ibram X Kendi's How To Be an Antiracist, I read very little of it this week. I hope to dive back in soon. 

What I Am Watching: We are slowly working our way through the Star Wars movies. So far we seen Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. The first three episodes on the series are not the strongest by any stretch, but they are entertaining. And I do find Naboo to be a beautiful planet. 

I started watching Netflix's Cursed, which I believe is based on an illustrated novel by Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler I haven't read. I am not a huge fan of Arthurian legends or their alternative tellings generally, but this certainly is a different and interesting take on it. I have a soft spot for strong women leads. One of my favorite novels is Bradley's Mists of Avalon, after all. It's rather graphic violence wise, but other than that, I am enjoying it.

Off the Blog: Summer break has come to an end. Mouse's teacher sent an e-mail on Friday introducing himself and information on how to log in to class on Monday morning. I sent him a brief email of support, knowing this will be a challenge for all of us. He's an experienced 4th grade teacher. I really feel for those teachers who are being thrown into grades and classes they do not have a lot of experience with. This first week is sure to be one of adjustment and change. 

I was called into the office this past week to meet and begin the training of a new staff person. We have another couple of new people who will likely be starting between now and the end of the month as well. Most of their training will be done remotely.

My husband accepted a supporting role in my daughter's ballet performance. He began rehearsals this weekend. Mouse continues with her online rehearsals for both the musical and ballet every Saturday. They are hoping to put together the shows the end of September. Audtions for the Nutcracker are also in September, but we will be skipping this year's production. 
Sleepyhead
Why did the humans move the tree?

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). 


One of my favorite places to spend time is in a library, and that made this month's poll more enticing. Seven of you voted for the cozy mystery, Checked Out For Murder by Allison Brook. Eight voted for AJ Hackwith's The Library of the Unwritten. The winner, Ink and Bone by Rachel Cane came in with twelve votes. I have been wanting to start the Great Library series for awhile now and am looking forward to reading it. Thank you to all who voted!

Ink and Bone
 (The Great Library #1) by Rachel Caine 

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden. 

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service. 

When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn…
 [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.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Weekly Mews: Welccome to August (New Books, Recent Reads & My August TBR List Poll--please vote!)

I am linking up to the Sunday Post hosted by Kim of Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where participants recap our week, talk about what we are reading, share any new books that have come our way, and whatever else we want to talk about. I am also linking The Sunday Salon hosted by Deb Nance of Readerbuzz where participants discuss what they are reading and other bookish topics. I am linking up to Nicole of Feed Your Addiction's Monthly Wrap-Up Post, where any book bloggers who write monthly wrap-up posts can link up and visit other bloggers to see what they have been reading.   I am linking to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Team Tynga's Reviews and Marlene of Reading Reality a meme in which participants share what new books came their way recently. 


New to the Shelves:

The Anatomist's Wife (A Lady Darby Mystery, #1) by Anna Lee Huber
Murder at Morrington Hall (A Stella and Lyndy Mystery, #1) by Clara McKenna

I added these two e-books to my e-reader this past month. I have been wanting to try Huber's Lady Darby series for quite some time now, and McKenna's series is another one I have been wanting to try.
 

My daughter's Girl Scout's troop has been meeting via Zoom this summer. The leaders left a surprise on everyone's doorstep one day in July. Included in the bag was this awesome "Quarantining With Troop 1241" t-shirt and the book Troop 6000: The Girl Scout Troop That Began in a Shelter and Inspired the World by Nikita Stewart. 

The Mystery of the Moon Tower (The Pathfinders Society #1) by Francesco Sedita, Prescott Seraydarian, illustrated by Steve Hamaker 
El Deafo by Cece Bell
The Time Museum (Time Museum #1) by Matthew Loux

I also recently added more books to my daughter's growing graphic novel collection. She is currently reading The Time Museum and is enjoying it. 

Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think? What new books have you added to your TBR pile?


What I Am Reading: I am about halfway through How To Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, which is really good. It is one of those books I ger more out of when I can give it my full attention with no interruptions--time which is hard to come by these days. So, it is taking me a little while to get through, despite not being a long book.

This evening I began reading Wolf Gone Wild (Stay a Spell, #1) by Juliette Cross. I am  in the mood for something fun that can sweep me off my feet, which will hopefully help with the reading slump I seem to find myself in.

What I Am Watching: My husband and I watched the Sherlock series, rewatching the earlier episodes and seeing the later ones for the first time this past month. It is such a good show! Next we are taking on the Star Wars movies, and started tonight with Phantom Menace. We have seen all the Star Wars movies before, but were in the mood to watch them again--even the not so good ones. 

I have been working my way through the television show S.H.I.E.L.D., and am watching the 5th season at the moment. A jump to the future and outerspace. 

Off the Blog: It was an exciting month. Well, as exciting as they can get these days. My daughter took part in a virtual choir camp, which was a lot of fun for her. Her first love is singing. She also took a couple of virtual art classes, her second love being art. Her Girl Scout troop met up online a couple of times in July for fun home science projects and a directed art project. We picked up her Girl Scout cookie rewards one evening, and Mouse got to see one of her best friends (from a distance, of course). Mouse also reconnected with a couple of her school friends via Facebook Messenger. It was good to hear her laughing and having a good time with them again.

My husband was called to jury duty. The seating in the jury waiting area was spread out, and the usually crowded room was filled with a considerably less amount of people. The first day, he and eighteen other jurors were called into the courtroom and spread out in the public's seating area and instructed to fill out a questionaire. Then they were called back another day for the questions from the attorneys. He wasn't chosen, which I think disappointed him a bit. But still, probably for the best given the circumstances.

Jury Waiting Room

I surprised all of my staff by sending them cookie grams. I got the idea from my husband's boss who had sent him one. I thought it would be something fun to do for them in these weird times. Most of our contact is online and  telephone since we are all rotating into the office at different times. Work otherwise has been going about as well as it can be. I am still working from home part of the week and in the office the other. 

We took Christmas photos for this year's holiday card before we moved the Christmas tree to make room for Mouse's new work station for the upcoming school year (yes, my Christmas tree is still up--it's decorated with stuffed animals at the moment). Making the decision of which school option to choose for my daughter was agonizing. None of them are appealing. I made my husband hit the submit button and then I broke down crying. I am still second guessing myself, but am doing my best to stay positive and make the most of it. I know all of us parents are in the same boat, trying to decide if it is safe to send our children back, if that's even possible. I cannot even imagine what teachers and other school staff are going through right now, scrambling to prepare for the new school year, many still uncertain about how things will look when school begins again. My daughter's school district is beginning online per state mandate. We hope to hear soon who Mouse's teacher will be and some sort of instruction on where we go from here. School begins on the 10th of August, and so the countdown has begun . . . 



Here is what I finished reading in July:
  • Westside (#1) by W.M. Akers
  • The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa, translated by Philip Gabriel
I took a break from blogging in July and evidently from reading too. I only managed to finish two books. I had hoped to get in some blog hopping this past month, but time got away from me.


Tell me what you have been up to! What are you reading, listening to and watching? How was your July? Do you have anything planned for this month?



I stole a glove. ~ Opening of Westside

Westside (#1) by W.M. Akers 
Harper Voyager, 2019
Fantasy; 304 pgs
A young detective who specializes in “tiny mysteries” finds herself at the center of a massive conspiracy in this beguiling historical fantasy set on Manhattan’s Westside—a peculiar and dangerous neighborhood home to strange magic and stranger residents—that blends the vivid atmosphere of Caleb Carr with the imaginative power of Neil Gaiman. [excerpt from the Goodreads Summary]
 
My thoughts: Set in 1921 Manhattan, this alternate history fantasy novel was both dark and witty and quite the rollercoaster. Gilda Carr lives behind the fence, the 13-mile fence that separates Manhattan into two, the prosperous Eastside and the dangerous Westside, where people and structures just seem to disappear. The Westside is the home of the gangs, thieves, poets, painters, drunks and the poor. Gilda makes a leaving as a detective, only takes on tiny mysteries--not the big ones. Not like murder. But while investigating a case of a missing glove, she becomes embroiled in a big mystery, just the kind she tries to avoid--one that may be tied to her own past--or rather, that of her police detective father and his death.

There is much to like about this novel from the world-building to the colorful and well-developed characters, including Gilda. Gilda is resourceful and strong willed. Manhattan, particularly the Westside, is a character all its own. Why do things from the simple, like coffee pots, to the larger, entire buildings, disappear? And people too. Guns do not work and nature thrives. There is murder, smuggling, bootlegging, gang disputes, and something much darker and sinister going on in the Westside, along with ordinary people just trying to get by. 

Fast-paced, full of action and unexpected twists, The Westside is one wild ride as Gilda tries to unravel the little mysteries that lead to the bigger one. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, Westside Saints


I am a cat. ~ Opening of The Travelling Cat Chronicles

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa, translated by Philip Gabriel 
Viking, 2012
Fiction; 288 pgs
Sometimes you have to leave behind everything you know to find the place you truly belong...

Nana the cat is on a road trip. He is not sure where he's going or why, but it means that he gets to sit in the front seat of a silver van with his beloved owner, Satoru. Side by side, they cruise around Japan through the changing seasons, visiting Satoru's old friends. He meets Yoshimine, the brusque and unsentimental farmer for whom cats are just ratters; Sugi and Chikako, the warm-hearted couple who run a pet-friendly B&B; and Kosuke, the mournful husband whose cat-loving wife has just left him. There's even a very special dog who forces Nana to reassess his disdain for the canine species.

But what is the purpose of this road trip? And why is everyone so interested in Nana? Nana does not know and Satoru won't say. But when Nana finally works it out, his small heart will break...
[Goodreads Summary]

My thoughts: The Travelling Cat Chronicles appealed to the cat lover in me, and I loved every minute of my time spent with Nana and Saturo. While the overreaching story arch belongs to Nana and Saturo, the side stories of his friends and Saturo's relationship with each of them, also plays major roles throughout the novel. I was especially touched by the time Saturo spends with his aunt, Noriko. I enjoyed getting to know Saturo, seeing different sides of him through the eyes of his childhoold friends. His kind heart and positivity are infectious. I found it especially comforting in the current climate of the world right now. 

While not all, much of the novel is told from the perspective of Nana, the stray cat who Saturo wins the trust of and takes in.  Saturo's love for his cat undeniable. I think most, if not all, animal lovers will be able to relate--especially if your animal companion is more than just a pet, but is also a part of your family. I liked how the author potrays Nana--somewhat aloof and yet not really.  Because a cat cannot just outright admit to caring, can he? I adored Nana from the beginning, but even more so by the end of the novel having seen the many sides of him.

The Travelling Cat Chronicles is a beautiful story of the love and bond between a man and his cat, the strength of friendship and family, and also of letting go. I finished the novel with an overwhelming feeling of love for my cats--and I tortured one of them with extra cuddles. The other one was too fast to catch. Thank you again to everyone who voted for this book in my July TBR List poll! 


Have you read either of these books? Do they sound like something you would enjoy?



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). 




This month's theme is libraries--but not just any library . . . Have you read this month's contenders? Which one do you think I should read next? 


The Library of the Unwritten (Hell's Library #1) by A.J. Hackwith
Release Date: October 1, 2019 by Ace Books
In the first book in a brilliant new fantasy series, books that aren't finished by their authors reside in the Library of the Unwritten in Hell, and it is up to the Librarian to track down any restless characters who emerge from those unfinished stories. Many years ago, Claire was named Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing-- a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto.

But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil's Bible. The text of the Devil's Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell….and Earth. [Goodreads Summary]

Checked Out for Murder
(The Haunted Library Mysteries #4) by Allison Brook 

Carrie Singleton and Evelyn the ghost sleuth the slayings of a starlet and a star-crossed psychic in Agatha Award nominee Allison Brook's fourth Haunted Library mystery. 

Daphne Marriott strolls into Clover Ridge and informs librarian Carrie Singleton that she's a psychic. But had she foreseen what fate awaited her, Daphne would have steered clear of the quaint Connecticut town. Evelyn, the library ghost, tells Carrie that there's more to Daphne than she lets on. 

The mysterious woman grew up in Clover Ridge with her no-good dad, who apparently met his end at the hands of Daphne's brother, Billy. Still, Daphne proves a welcome distraction when Carrie's overbearing mother hits town. Mom's much younger husband, Tom, is in a movie that's lensing locally, and she's there to keep an eye on him: Tom's costar, sultry Ilana Reingold, is also his ex-fiance, and there's no denying the chemistry is still there. Soon after mingling with the moviemakers at a meet-and-greet, Daphne is found dead. 

Carrie and Evelyn investigate, assisted by bushy-tailed library cat Smoky Joe. But the suspect list could overflow the library shelves. Has Billy killed another relative? Is their long-missing mother involved? Or Daphne's mean ex-husband? Carrie's sure she knows who committed the crime, but can she bind together the clues before the culprit Dewey-decimates the town? [Goodreads Summary]

Ink and Bone
(The Great Library #1) by Rachel Caine

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn…
[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.