Sunday, January 24, 2021

Bookish Mewsings: What Mothers Withhold by Elizabeth Kropf



What Mothers Withhold by Elizabeth Kropf
Finishing Line Press, 2021
Poetry; 23 pgs
The poems of “what mothers withhold” are songs of brokenness and hope in a mother’s voice, poems of the body in its fierceness and failings. Elizabeth Kropf’s poems revel in peeling back silence, and invite us to witness a complicated and traumatic world that is also filled with love. –Cindy Huyser, poet and editor, author of “Burning Number Five: Power Plant Poems.”

As I sit here thinking of how to put into words my thoughts about this amazing collection of poems, my daughter comes into the room and sets her favorite stuffed toy on my lap. It's a cross between a unicorn and a pig, pink and pillow-shaped. My daughter, who insists she is not a writer and hates to write, says she is going upstairs to her room to work on the story she is writing.

The main reason I jumped at the chance to read and review Elizabeth Kropf's What Mothers Withhold had everything to do with the title. It was not even the description, although that did not hurt either. Somehow I knew the poet's writing would resonate with me, and I was right.

All of Elizabeth Kropf's poems spoke to me in some way. Her expression through words, imagery, and heart came through. All the pain and love, fear and hope. I think all mothers can relate in some way or another. She writes about struggling to get pregnant, miscarriage, pregnancy and birth and that journey that we call motherhood. Her poems capture about the struggles and vulnerabilities of motherhood as well as the deep love felt. Kropf bares her soul in these poems, and at times I felt like she was sharing my own thoughts and feelings.

The opening poem, "chocolate chip cookies with Madeline L'Engle" is by far one of my favorites in the collection. A mother's love wishing to ease the pain and heartache for not just her child, but the hardships of others too. 
I wish to give them milk, cookies, blankets around their shoulders as they listen to Madeline L'Engle, who will whisper to them plants and dolphins and all the forces aligned to keep them safe ["chocolate chip cookies with Madeline L'Engle" by Elizabeth Kopf]
Then there was "heel-click" which captures the joy of a moment. How often did the household chores go undone because I was wrapped up in watching my daughter play. The poem reminded of the time I was folding laundry, and for everything I folded, my daughter, then a toddler, would unfold it, building a mountain of towels and clothes she could jump in. I did not mind. Her smile and laughter were worth it. 

My own daughter is at an age where she has one and a half feet in childhood and half a foot stepping onto the other side. She is still so young and innocent. And yet wisdom is dawning in her eyes, the kind that comes with getting older and beginning to soak in the realities around her. As mothers we want so much want to protect our children, and we try to. To a point. There comes a time when we have to let go, however, give them their independence, all the while hoping it will not happen too quickly. Several poems in the collection touch on different aspects of this: what we do to protect our children, the anxiety and fears a mother feels during the transition into independence, balancing how much and how little we tell them in an effort to protect and prepare them, and maybe even what mistakes or slights today will land our kids in the therapist's office. 

as mothers have always withheld splinters of pain
unwilling to prick innocent skin
until the moment the child is ready to hold truth tenderly
accept blood trickle from sharp edges ~ ["what mothers withhold" by Elizabeth Kopf]

 

first rip in a veil that will continue to tear
as tragedies are harder  conceal
what will remain of her tender spirit when the last realms of protection are removed
how can we save her? ["Austin bombs: March 2018" by Elizabeth Kopf]

Children grow up so fast:
she takes the year 2016 off the tassel before we get home.
I blink, and it is 2038 ["'I am a promise. I promise to help all of the rabbits'" by Elizabeth Kopf]

I often say that reading poetry is a personal experience, resonating differently with each reader. As an emotional reader, I tend to put a lot of emphasis on how poetry makes me feel, and the poetry in Elizabeth Kropf's What Mothers Withhold really moved me. It not only brought back memories of when my daughter was much younger but also spoke to me where we am now, in this moment of our mother/daughter relationship. I am so glad I did not hesitate to be a part of this tour. What Mothers Withhold is worth adding to your poetry collection.


You can learn more about the poet on her website


hope you will check out what others have to say about What Mother's Withhold by Elizabeth Kropf on the Poetic Book Tours route:

Add to GoodReads:

What Mothers Withhold

Available at Finishing Line Press.

Blog Tour Schedule:

Jan. 7: The Book Lover’s Boudoir (Review)

Jan. 7: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (Interview)

Jan. 12: Unconventional Quirky Bibliophile (Review)

Jan. 14: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (Review)

Jan. 20: Wall-to-Wall Books (Review)

Jan 25: Musings of a Bookish Kitty (Review)

Jan. 27: Diary of an Eccentric (Guest Post)

Feb. 11: Diary of an Eccentric (Review)

Feb. 23: Suko’s Notebook (Guest Post)

Follow the blog tour with the hashtag #WhatMothersWithhold #ElizabethKropf


Many thanks to the Poetic Book Tours and Elizabeth Kropf for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour! Thank you also for providing a copy of the book for my honest review.


© 2021, 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, January 23, 2021

Weekly Mews: Mouse's Corner Edition & What I Have Been Reading/Watching

I am linking up to the Sunday Post hosted by Kim of Caffeinated Book Reviewer and The Sunday Salon (TSS) hosted by Deb Nance of Readerbuzz  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 It's Monday! What Are you Reading? hosted by Kathryn of Book Date where readers talk about what they have been, are and will be reading.







Tales from a Not-So-Graceful Ice Princess
 (Dork Diaries #4) by Rachel Renée Russell
 (Aladdin, 2012)

This is the fourth installment of a series written in diary form from the perspective of 13-year-old Nikki Maxwell. Nikki and her two bestfriends, Chloe and Zoey, sign up to be in an ice skating competition to raise money for a charity. They find the perfect charity to support when they discover that the animal shelter where Brandon (Nikki's crush) volunteers is at risk of closing. Of course, Nikki's arch nemesis Mackenzie Hollister will do everything she can to try to thwart Nikki at every turn. 
  
I love that this series excites my daughter and has her wanting to read more. She can easily relate to Nikki and her friends. The book narrative is funny and cute. Nikki struggles with insecurity and doing the right thing. She comes across as a genuine and ordinary girl learning to navigate middle school. MacKenzie is a bit of a caricature. The wealthy spoiled popular girl who is every inch a brat. Mouse and I are quite vocal in our conversations about Mackenzie that we don't like how she acts very much. My daughter said the other night though that even though she doesn't quite know why, she kind of feels sorry for Mackenzie. I have to admit I do too. I can't help but wonder what her back story is. Every bully has one, right? 
  
Anyway, Mouse and I both liked Tales from a Not-So-Graceful Ice Princess. We liked that Nikki stepped up to help Brandon and, despite her fears, got on that ice even knowing she isn't that great of an ice skater. Mouse thought Nikki was very brave and what she did was cool.

Tales from a Not-So-Smart Miss Know-It-All
 (Dork Diaries #5) by Rachel Renée Russell
 (Aladdin, 2012)

Of course Mouse was eager to dive into the 5th book in the series soon after we finished the fourth. Nikki Maxwell decides to join the school newspaper staff to keep an eye on Mackenzie who has threatened to write a story involving Nikki's crush, Brandon.  A story that could get a lot of people in trouble, including Nikki and her bestfriends Chloe and Zoey. Mackenzie's attempts to thwart Nikki from getting a position on the paper are in vain when Nikki ends up with the assignment of advice columnist. But she must keep it a secret. Trying to stay on top of answering letters, worrying her scholarship is at risk, and find a birthday present for Brandon, Nikki begins to feel overwhelmed very quickly.

There's the usual family drama with Brianna, Nikki's six year old sister. Nikki is often put in the role of caring for her sister--or keeping her occupied. And although Brianna often gets on Nikki's nerves and sometimes makes situations worse, there are times when she comes through in surprising ways. That was the case in this book too. Mouse relates to both Brianna and Nikki, which is not surprising given her age. She's right in between the two. 

Then there is the whole situation with Nikki's dad possibly going to work for Mackenzie's dad--which would be a nightmare of unimaginable proportions. Through out these books, Nikki spends a lot of time worrying about people finding out she is on scholarship at the private school she attends. And that her dad is an exterminator who drives a van with a giant roach on top. As a result, she feels like she is always having to hide a part of herself. 

This was another fun book for Mouse and I to read together. It's also the first book in the series that we have read together that was not a re-read for my daughter. It was kind of nice not having things spoiled for me as we went along (although to be fair, Mouse never really gave away anything other than the occasional, "I love the next part!" or "I remember what happens next!"). We both got a kick out of some of the letters Nikki received and the advice she gave people. Mouse said her favorite advice Nikki gave was to the new girl who had been bullied and felt out of place and that was probably mine too. It was definitely something Nikki could relate to herself.

Nikki makes quite a few questionable decisions in Tales from a Not-So-Smart Miss Know-It-All that Mouse and I discussed as we read (Toilet papering someone's house and lying to her parents among them). Nikki is by no means perfect and many of the issues and feelings she deals with mirror real life even if not in an exact situational way. I can appreciate that about her and about these books. While sometimes it may seem that everything falls into place a little too easily for Nikki in the end, it's important to keep in mind the audience this series was written for. 

Each of these books can be read as stand alones, but I think it may be more fun to read them in order to see the characters' progressions in their relationships with one another.

Now Reading: Mouse would have loved to continue with the Dork Diaries, I am sure, but we are missing the next few books. I think we may have the ninth book. Mouse wants to wait to read it until she's read the books that come before it. I think that's a good idea.

Last year Mouse discovered the Whatever After series by Sarah Mlynowski. We read a later book in the series together, and she expressed an interest in reading more. For Christmas, she got the first three books in the series. We are currently reading the first, Fairest of All. The series features a 10 year old girl named Abby and her 7 year old brother Jonah who discover a magical mirror in their basement which serves as a door into various fairytales. With each fairytale, something goes wrong to throw the story off course, and it's up to Abby and Jonah to get everything back on track.

On her own, Mouse is reading The Cinderella Ballet Mystery (Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew #4) by Carolyn Keene, illustrated by Macky Pamintuan, and The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner. 


What I Am Reading: 
I was able to finish T.A. Willberg's Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder Thursday night, staying up later than I should.  I paid for it in spades the next morning. Why do we do that to ourselves?! 

At the moment I am reading Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano. I could not resist this one after reading the synopsis. It is about a romantic suspense novelist/divorced mother who is mistaken as a hired killer. I am not too far in, but it's already relatable (even if a bit over the top) and funny, and I look forward to reading more. 

I have not quite decided what comes next. Perhaps The Russian Cage (Gunnie Rose #3) by Charlaine Harris or Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck. It will depend on where my mood takes me. 

What I Am Watching: The rain outside my window. It is so lovely. 

I had the chance to watch Lupin on Netflix, about a man trying to clear his deceased father's name of a crime he didn't commit. He is inspired by his favorite book, Arsène Lupin, Gentleman-Thief (Arsène Lupin #1) by Maurice Leblanc, which he has read numerous times. I watched the dubbed version, not realizing there was an option to watch it with subtitles. I may have to go back and watch it again with the subtitles. Regardless, I really enjoyed it.

I was able to watch much of the U.S. Presidential Inauguration this past Wednesday. It was understated as compared to years past, but I thought everything went very well and was fitting for the times. The highlight was Amanda Gorman, the inaugural poet. She did an amazing job--and what a beautiful poem! 


Off the Blog: As mentioned above, it is raining at the moment. It is much welcomed and needed. Earlier in the week the wind was quite strong. Luckily my area did not suffer a power outage, but many surrounding neighborhoods and areas did. I just noticed the lid of the sandbox must have blown off--and of course now the sand is being soaked by the rain . . .

My family and I enjoyed the extra day off earlier in the week due to the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. Not that we did anything particularly special but it was just nice to have the day off together. 

On Tuesday I got my first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. Because of my work, I fall in one of the priority categories. I had a moment of panic after when I was told they wouldn't automatically schedule second vaccine appointments. That I would have to call in every day and hope for an opening. Fortunately my persistence paid off and I was able to schedule a second appointment. It's been such a scramble for anyone to get an appointment. They fill up so fast, especially as the requirement levels open up more and more. The big issue is whether there is enough supply to meet the demand. In my county, people 65 and older, teachers and child care staff have been added to the existing qualifying list most recently. I had a sore arm for a few days after the shot, but other than that I seem to be fine. I heard the second dose has more side effects. 

I woke up yesterday morning with a bad case of allergies. At least I am assuming it's allergies. It made for a miserable day trying to get through work. It did not help I was up the night before reading. I managed though. I feel a little better today with the help of some sinus medicine. The headache has is not as intense, my eyes are dry, and my nose isn't quite as active.


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



© 2021, 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, January 21, 2021

Where Is Your Bookmark? (5 Fave Nonfiction Books / What I Am Reading Now & Five Years Ago / BBHOP: E-Readers)

I am so very close to finishing my current read but work and life keep getting in the way. I. Must. Finish. I am really enjoying Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder by T.A. Willberg, and thought I would tease you with a couple of excerpts.
The letter was short. A name, a time, a place. Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder plunges readers into the heart of London, to the secret tunnels that exist far beneath the city streets. There, a mysterious group of detectives recruited for Miss Brickett’s Investigations & Inquiries use their cunning and gadgets to solve crimes that have stumped Scotland Yard.  

Late one night in April 1958, a filing assistant for Miss Brickett’s named Michelle White receives a letter warning her that a heinous act is about to occur. She goes to investigate but finds the room empty. At the stroke of midnight, she is murdered by a killer she can’t see—her death the only sign she wasn’t alone. It becomes chillingly clear that the person responsible must also work for Miss Brickett’s, making everyone a suspect. 

Almost unwillingly, Marion Lane, a first-year Inquirer-in-training, finds herself being drawn ever deeper into the investigation. When her friend and mentor is framed for the crime, to clear his name she must sort through the hidden alliances at Miss Brickett’s and secrets dating back to WWII. Masterful, clever and deliciously suspenseful, Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder is a fresh take on the Agatha Christie—style locked-room mystery with an exciting new heroine detective at the helm. [Goodreads Summary]



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

Threads of steam rose from the warm tarmac. The alleyway was quiet tonight, the perfect setting for the conveyance of secrets. The woman in the red headscarf checked over her shoulder. No one would have followed her, but she had to be sure. 
My initial thoughts: An ominous beginning . . . I was immediately hooked, wanting to know what she was up to, why she was worried about being followed, and what secrets she was holding and who was she going to share them with.




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.


Bill stared at her with a look of bewilderment, 'Blimey.'

'What?' Marion shifted in her seat.

'You're just, I've never seen this side of you. I'd almost encourage it if it wasn't about to get us fired, or worse.'

My thoughts: Something is about to happen. Or rather Marion is about to do something that could put her placement as an apprentice at risk. 


Does Marion Lane and the Midnight Hour sound like something you would enjoy reading? What are you reading right now?

Originally a feature called Last Year I Was Reading created by Maria from ReadingMaria
I liked it enough to continue on my own, but have tweaked it
 to feature Five Years Ago I Was Reading. 
(I would have gone back ten, but I read so little in 2011)

Five years ago at this time, I had just finished reading Moonlight Over Paris by Jennifer Robson. Lady Helena Montagu-Douglas-Parr is recovering from a near fatal illness. She has a new appreciation for life and wants to live as fully as she can. Despite her family's reservations, she travels to Paris to stay with her widowed aunt where Helena is to study art. Her parents give her a year, and she plans to make the most of it. There she meets Sam Howard, a Chicago-Tribune journalist, who couldn't be more wrong for her, and yet she is drawn to this scarred war veteran. I enjoyed Moonlight Over Paris most for its atmosphere, the setting, including the time period (1920's), and the interesting cast of characters. I would not have minded a bit more tension and conflict, but, overall, I do not think the story suffered for it.

It is definitely a different flavor than my current book, which is more of a historical mystery. I do a historical setting! 



What were you reading five years ago? Have you read Moonlight Over Paris?


Connect Five Friday is a weekly meme where readers share a list of five books, 
read or unread, or bookish things, that share a common theme. 
Hosted by the  Kathryn of of Book Date.

I almost always gravitate more towards fiction than I do towards nonfiction. However, I enjoy nonfiction from time to time and thought I would share some of my favorite nonfiction reads with you today. 


Hidden Figures: The American Dream and Untold Story of Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly ~ Hidden Figures tells the stories of some of the most underrated influential black women in the history of the American space program. Among them being Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine Jackson, Christine Darden, and Gloria Champine.  I really enjoy reading stories about lesser known and recognized individuals throughout history. More often women, and even more especially women of color. Too often their contributions are undervalued. The movie with the same title was good, but the real stories are even better.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson ~ Lawson's conversational narrative made it feel like I was sitting right there with her. I found Lawson extremely easy to relate to: at times laughing out loud and other times crying right alongside her as she talks about her life and struggles with mental illness. 

StiffThe Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach ~ I was first introduced to Mary Roach through Reader's Digest. I would always read the cartoons and her articles first. Stiff is a funny and informative books about what happens to the body after a person dies, historically and up through modern times. It may sound like a morbid topic to some, but it's really quite fascinating. And hilarious.

Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak by Jean Hatzfeld, translated by Linda Coverdale ~ Whenever the question comes up of what is the scariest book I have read, I often cite this one. Usually the asker means something in the horror genre, but what is more horrific than real events? Where neighbors turn on neighbors so easily? Slaughtering even children. Years after having read it, I am still haunted by it. While this book specifically deals with the genocide in Rwanda, its truths and lessons about prejudice, hate and greed for power are ones that can impact and apply to all of us in varying ways. 

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, translated by Mattias Ripa ~ My favorite kind of graphic novels are graphic memoirs, and both volumes 1 and 2 of Persepolis makes the top if the list. These two volumes describe what it was like for the author growing up in Iran during the Islamic and Cultural Revolutions. They touch on the toll war takes on ordinary people, oppression of women, and about the difficulties of being an immigrant and having to start over. Satrapi's story is also one of hope. 


What are some of your favorite nonfiction books? 



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.
Do you own more than one e-reader? (submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)


I have two (three if you count my mobile phone). I have an older Kindle Fire which I sometimes break out if I am reading a PDF file that I just cannot manage to read on my preferred e-reader. I do most of my e-reading on my Oasis. It is easier on my eyes for reading than the Fire ever is.

This isn't to say I do not like to read physical books! I enjoy reading those too, and the occasional audio book.

What about you?


 I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Be sure and tell me what you are reading and are up to!



© 2021, 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, January 19, 2021

Waiting to Read Wednesday: The Kindest Lie / The Iron Raven / Fearless Fourteen


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 Kindest Lie
by Nancy Johnson

Release Date: February 9, 2021 by William Morrow
It’s 2008, and the rise of Barack Obama ushers in a new kind of hope. In Chicago, Ruth Tuttle, an Ivy-League educated black engineer, is married to a kind and successful man. He’s eager to start a family, but Ruth is uncertain. She has never gotten over the baby she gave birth to—and abandoned—when she was a teenager. She had promised her family she’d never look back, but Ruth knows that to move forward, she must make peace with the past.

Returning home, Ruth discovers the Indiana factory town of her youth is plagued by unemployment, racism, and despair. While her family is happy to see her, they remind her of the painful sacrifices to give Ruth a shot at a better future—like the comfortable middle-class life she now enjoys.

Determined, Ruth begins digging into the past. As she uncovers burning secrets her family desperately wants to hide, she unexpectedly befriends Midnight, a young white boy who is also adrift and looking for connection. When a traumatic incident strains the town’s already searing racial tensions, Ruth and Midnight find themselves on a collision course that could upend both their lives.

The Kindest Lie examines the heartbreaking divide between black and white communities and plumbs the emotional depths of the struggles faced by ordinary Americans in the wake of the financial crisis. Capturing the profound racial injustices and class inequalities roiling society, Nancy Johnson’s debut novel offers an unflinching view of motherhood in contemporary America and the never-ending quest to achieve the American Dream. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: This popped up on a list of must read 2021 books, and I was immediately intrigued. Digging into the past can be dangerous as well as cathartic. Sometimes to move forward, we must face our pasts. This novel appeals to me for that basic reason, but also for the more cultural and social issues the author takes on. 


The Iron Raven
(The Iron Fey: Evenfall #1) by Julie Kagawa

Release Date: February 9, 2021 by Inkyard Press
You may have heard of me...

Robin Goodfellow. Puck. Prankster, joker, raven, fool… King Oberon’s right-hand jester from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The legends are many, but the truth will now be known as never before, as Puck finally tells his own story and faces a threat to the lands of Faery and the human world unlike any before.

With the Iron Queen Meghan Chase and her prince consort, Puck’s longtime rival Ash, and allies old and new by his side, Puck begins a fantastical and dangerous adventure not to be missed or forgotten. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: I do not know if reading this would be best after reading the Kagawa's original Iron Fey series (which I haven't yet done), but it captured my attention the first I heard about it. I enjoy stories about the fey and like Kagawa's writing, and so this goes straight onto my wish list.


Do The Kindest Lie and The Iron Raven interest you? What upcoming releases are you looking forward to reading?
 

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


Fearless Fourteen
 (Stephanie Plum #14) by Janet Evanovich
 (St. Martin's Press, 2008) 
Personal vendettas, hidden treasure, and a monkey named Carl will send bounty hunter Stephanie Plum on her most explosive adventure yet. 

The Crime: Armed robbery to the tune of nine million dollars.
Dom Rizzi robbed a bank, stashed the money, and did the time. His family couldn't be more proud. He always was the smart one. 

The Cousin: Joe Morelli
Joe Morelli, Dom Rizzi, and Dom's sister, Loretta, are cousins. Morelli is a cop, Rizzi robs banks, and Loretta is a single mother waiting tables at the firehouse. The all-American family. 

The Complications: Murder, kidnapping, destruction of personal property, and acid reflux
Less than a week after Dom's release from prison, Joe Morelli has shadowy figures breaking into his house and dying in his basement. He's getting threatening messages, Loretta is kidnapped, and Dom is missing. 

The Catastrophe:
 Moonman
Morelli hires Walter Mooner Dunphy, stoner and inventor turned crime fighter, to protect his house. Morelli can't afford a lot on a cop's salary, and Mooner will work for potatoes. 

The Cupcake: Stephanie Plum
Stephanie and Morelli have a long-standing relationship that involves sex, affection, and driving each other nuts. She's a bond enforcement agent with more luck than talent, and she's involved in this bank-robbery-gone-bad disaster from day one. 

The Crisis: A favor for Ranger
Security expert Carlos Manoso, street name Ranger, has a job for Stephanie that will involve night work. Morelli has his own ideas regarding Stephanie's evening activities. 

The Conclusion:
 Only the fearless should read 
Fourteen.
Thrills, chills, and incontinence may result. 
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: I used to rush to the bookstore as soon as I could on release day to buy copies of books in this series, but I burnt out. Stephanie's hijinks and her constant indecision about Joe and Ranger just wore on me after awhile. Along with this one, I have the next two books in the series too and number 19 (not sure why I skipped to 19), all sitting unread on my shelf. I always assumed I would go back to the series. It's been twelve or so years. I keep the books around, so perhaps . . .


Have you read the Stephanie Plum series? Does this book sound like something you would like to read? 


© 2021, 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, January 17, 2021

Bookish Mewsings: The Broken Spine by Dorothy St. James


No one in the moderately sized rural southern town of Cypress would ever suspect their stalwart assistant librarian of breaking into the library where she worked. ~ Opening of The Broken Spine

The Broken Spine (Beloved Bookroom Mystery #1)  by Dorothy St. James
Berkley, 2021
Crime Fiction/Cozy; 320 pgs
Source: NetGalley

When I first heard about The Broken Spine by Dorothy St. James I knew I had to read it. I cannot resist and cozy mystery series set in a library. This one in particular caught my attention because of the premise. Trudell Becket is a pretty much by the book person who is not known for doing anything out of the ordinary. But when her beloved books are threatened at the library she works, drastic measures have to be taken. The mayor and town council of Cypress, South Carolina have decided their historic library would better serve the public by going bookless, and that means getting rid of all the books. This doesn't go over well with some of the town folk, much less Trudell. As a result, with the help of friends, she secrets the books away into the basement where she plans to open her own underground library. No one is going to take those precious books away from the town! 

When the body of the man in charge of the library's transformation is murdered, all suspicion falls on Trudell. I mean, she did make it obvious she was opposed to the idea. In order to clear her name, Trudell and her friends are set on finding the killer themselves---and the while protecting the secret of their underground library. 

I had a lot of fun reading The Broken Spine. Tru makes the perfect person behind the secret library just because she's so unassuming. She has a couple of very loyal friends, Tori and Flossie, who have her back at every turn. I especially liked Flossie, who is evidently a best selling author who refuses to tell even those closest to her what name she uses to write under or what books she's written. There's an adorable stray cat with a skull like marking on his head that finds his way into the library and Tru's heart.

There is a hint of romance, but the situation is complicated, and I was glad to see the author did not rush her characters into anything too soon. And who knows? Maybe it won't go in that direction at all. I am just not sure about her possible love interest, to be honest.

I thought the author did a good job with setting up the mystery and motives of  possible suspects. I did figure out who was behind it all early on, but that in no way ruined the novel for me. This was a good first start to a series, one I look forward to continuing in the future.

What do you think of the idea bookless libraries? 


© 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, January 16, 2021

Weekly Mews: The Poetry Corner Edition (Plus Recent Updates)

I am linking up to the Sunday Post hosted by Kim of Caffeinated Book Reviewer and The Sunday Salon (TSS) hosted by Deb Nance of Readerbuzz  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 It's Monday! What Are you Reading? hosted by Kathryn of Book Date where readers talk about what they have been, are and will be reading.






I am going to use this space every third weekend to highlight some of the poetry I have been reading. I enjoy reading poetry, but admit I am more of a casual reader than someone who goes in for the deeper dive to find the hidden meanings between the words. I admire those who do. Reading (and writing) poetry is a very personal experience that means something different to each person. And there's such a wide variety for all different tastes. I hope you will enjoy my offerings and perhaps find something that speaks to you.

I came across two poems on Mom Egg Review, a literary journal about motherhood focusing on literature and art that spoke to me immediately. I could relate to them so much. It just so happens that the poems are both by fellow blogger Serena Agusto-Cox of Savvy Verse & Wit.  If you get the chance, please check them out at Mom Egg Review

While I am still required to go into the office some days, I work from home most days now. In writing about her own experience, Serena perfectly describes my day too in "Remote Work", from the sounds outside my window to the sounds inside, especially with a school-aged child in virtual school at the same time. I love the tone and imagery in the poem.
Draft client, text, peppered with child-like
giggles, rather than COVID-19's spread.
[excerpt from "Remote Work" by Serena Agusto-Cox, in Mom Egg Review]

But it was "In the Distance" that really moved me with its melancholy feel, describing the life of an only child during this pandemic. She could have been describing my child. I got tears in my eyes when I got to the verse about a child shouting, crying and the "ghosts of sleepovers".  How much different life is for them right now!
my (l)only child marched
into an age of social distance
[excerpt from "In the Distance" by Serena Agusto-Cox, in Mom Egg Review]

I will leave you with another poem which is about a tradition passed on from generation to generation in my family and likely many of yours. I can only hope my daughter will look back on our time together as fondly as I treasure it now. 

The Reading Mother

by Strickland Gillilan

I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,
"Blackbirds" stowed in the hold beneath

I had a Mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.

I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness blent with his final breath.

I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings-
Stories that stir with an upward touch,
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be-
I had a Mother who read to me.

Later this month I will be sharing my thoughts about Elizabeth Kropf's poetry collection What Mothers Withhold. I hope you'll keep an eye out for my review! 


What I Am Reading: I finished Ruth Ware's One by One yesterday and am looking forward to the COYER January Book Club discussion at the end of the month. It's been awhile since I was last part of a group read, and I am looking forward to it! They recently announced the picks for the February (Adult: Beach Read by Emily Henry and YA: To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han). I have a copy of Beach Read and look forward to joining in for at least that discussion if I can.

Today I plan to start reading my January TBR winner, Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder by T.A. Willberg. I am looking forward to my visit to 1958 London, exploring the secret tunnels and solving a murder!

What I Am Watching: I am taking a break from The 100 to watch Bridgerton. I binge watched the first five episodes one day. I am loving it so far. It's a bit whimsical and just plain fun. 

This weekend we are planning to watch the movie Wonder finally, now that my daughter's class has officially finished reading the book (I couldn't help but finish it last month). Mouse and I are looking forward to it! 

And of course my family and I watched the first two episodes of WandaVision, a new Marvel Universe (MCU) show featuring Vision and the Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff). These first two episodes reminded me of the Dick Van Dyke Show and Bewitched. filmed in black and white and set during that time period. It's still not clear what exactly is going on, but I will enjoy seeing it all unfold. 


Off the Blog: There was nothing really out of the ordinary about this week on the home front. The weather is starting to turn warmer (low to mid 70F's during the day--and today it should reach 85F), and so I opened the windows while I was working to let in the breeze. It was also my week to spend part of it in the office. Even after all these months, it is still a bit surreal to be in a big office with so few people while most work from home. Yesterday there were just two of us in my area. 

The Girl Scout cookie season is under way. It looks a lot different this year for our Council. No booth or door to door sales. Just about everything is being done online. We will make contactless deliveries locally when possible.

My county is still breaking records every day in deaths related to COVID-19 or the number of infections. There is a shortage of vaccinations and appointments fill up within an hour or two of being opened. How are things where you live? 

I got an e-mail from the school district saying that we would have to decide soon whether to enroll our child in their in-person, virtual, or home-school programs for the 2021/2022 school year. We are being given a two week window in early February to decide. It feels too soon, with everything still so up in the air--and as bad as the situation is right now. Next August seems too far away and we all hope things will be better by then. But I get that the district wants to be somewhat prepared. Schools here are still all virtual except for some special education classes and the small few private schools that received waivers last fall. 

Inauguration Day is coming up fast, although not fast enough for many of us. Hopefully it will be a peaceful event. I will be working through it but hopefully will be able to catch clips of it after. Are you planning to watch? 

Watching me work



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

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Happy Reading!



© 2021, 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, January 14, 2021

Where Is Your Bookmark? (A Peek Into My Current Read & What I Was Reading 5 Years Ago/ Nonfiction-Fiction Pairings / BBHOP)

I am nearly finished reading Ruth Ware's latest, One by One. As someone who lives in a part of the world in which the closest snow is on the distant mountain tops on the horizon, I have to experience a white winter vicariously through books.  Which is probably for the best since I do not like the cold very much. 

One by One by Ruth Ware 
Simon & Schuster, 2020
Crime Fiction/Thriller; 352 pgs
Source: NetGalley
A luxury mountaintop chalet
The opportunity of a lifetime
Until guests start to disappear… 

**The unmissable new thriller from the queen of the modern-day murder mystery.** 

Snow is falling in the exclusive alpine ski resort of Saint Antoine, as the shareholders and directors of Snoop, the hottest new music app, gather for a make or break corporate retreat to decide the future of the company. At stake is a billion-dollar dot com buyout that could make them all millionaires, or leave some of them out in the cold. 

The clock is ticking on the offer, and with the group irrevocably split, tensions are running high. When an avalanche cuts the chalet off from help, and one board member goes missing in the snow, the group is forced to ask - would someone resort to murder, to get what they want? [Goodreads Summary]



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

I keep my earbuds shoved into my ears on the minibus from Geneva Airport. I ignore Topher's hopeful looks and Eva, glancing over her shoulder at me. It helps, somehow. It helps shut out the voices in my head, their voices, pulling me this way and that, pummeling me with their loyalties and their arguments to and fro. [first paragraph of One by One]

My initial thoughts: The novel is divided into two points of view, Liz's and Erin's. This particular section is from Liz's. From this opening, I immediately wonder what it is Liz finds herself in the middle of. Is it something significant or just a part of their relationship dynamics? 




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.


"She came to my room last night, to try to persuade me not to sleep alone. When I asked why she was still awake, she said she had something on her mind, something she'd seen--I begged her to tell me--" She breaks off, her voice cracking. [excerpt from 56% of One by One]
My thoughts: Things have really taken off at this point, and one cannot help but wonder what it was "she" was trying to say. When I got here in the novel, I was on pins and needles wanting to know what she knew and did that play a part in what was happening. 


Does One by One sound like something you would enjoy reading? 

Originally a feature called Last Year I Was Reading created by Maria from ReadingMaria
I liked it enough to continue on my own, but have tweaked it
 to feature Five Years Ago I Was Reading. 
(I would have gone back ten, but I read so little in 2011)

It seems like this time last year I was reading another suspense/thriller, except then it was Gilly Macmillan's What She Knew, about a mother whose son goes missing one day while in the park. Looking over my notes on it, I noted that although I enjoyed it, the novel didn't quite sweep me off my feet, that I felt the end was a bit rushed. I have not quite reached the end of One by One to have an opinion on that one, but I do know that it's a different type of thriller. More of a locked room mystery.


In the eyes of others, we're often not who we imagine ourselves to be. ~ Opening of What She Knew


Do you remember what you were reading five years ago? 



Connect Five Friday is a weekly meme where readers share a list of five books, 
read or unread, or bookish things, that share a common theme. 
Hosted by the  Kathryn of of Book Date.

I like the idea of matching fiction books with nonfiction books and reading them either at the same time or at least around the same time. I know some of you do that already, but I often think of it long after the fact. I decided to think ahead a bit, however, and have come up with these nonfiction/fiction pairings, all books I already own and have on my TBR shelves. 



Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality
by Debbie Cenizper & Jim Obergefell is about the hard won fight for marriage equality in the United States. It will go nicely with David Levithan's Two Boys Kissing, which is based in a true story about two 17 year olds who attempt to break the world record for the longest kiss narrated by a host of gay men who died of AIDS. The novel touches on coming out and gender identity issues among other things. Maybe not an obvious pairing on the surface, but I imagine both books take on the subject of discrimination and identity. Not to mention love itself. 


Cleopatra
by Stacy Schiff's cover is part of what lured me to buy a copy, but I have always been fascinated by the historical figure herself. And what a perfect pairing! Schiff's Cleopatra with Margaret George's Memoirs of Cleopatra. Both tell the story of her life, one nonfiction and the other fictionalized. If only I can  get over the intimidating size of George's novel.


I got excited when I first heard about Making the Monster: The Science Behind Mary Shelley's Frankenstein by Kathryn Harkup, and it did not take long to spend some of that gift card money on a copy. Doesn't it make a perfect pairing with the original novel of Frankenstein? I think so!


I had not connected my next two initially, but after some thought, I decided they would make a compelling side by side read: Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by John Krakauer and Bear Town by Fredrik Backman. While one book focuses more on college culture and the other a small town, I think it's fair that some similarities can be drawn. Not to mention the issue of sexual assault itself and how it effects a small community. 


I was approved to read and review the historical novel The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck which comes out next month and immediately thought of Sonia Purnell's A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II. Both of these books about the life of Allied Spy Virginia Hall. It is always interesting to compare notes when it comes to historical fiction and nonfiction, and I look forward to doing so with these two.


What are some nonfiction/fiction pairings that you have read or want to read? Have you read any of these?


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.

How many posts do you schedule for your blog on a weekly basis? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)


Scheduling posts ahead of time is a must for me because of my other obligations and priorities. I rarely am able to post off the cuff. At the very least I like to have the outline of a post done ahead of time to make it easier for myself if I have to add time-dependent content (like Sunday Salon/Post). I would say I schedule to post somewhere between two to four posts a week. It can vary. Sometimes I post less or not at all, rarely more.

What about you?


 I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Be sure and tell me what you are reading and are up to!


© 2021, 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.