Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Waiting to Read Wednesday: Witches Steeped in Gold / Hour of the Witch / The Witches of New York


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.


Witches Steeped in Gold
(#1) by Ciannon Smart
Release Date: April 20, 2021 by HarperTeen
This Jamaican-inspired fantasy debut about two enemy witches who must enter into a deadly alliance to take down a common enemy has the twisted cat-and-mouse of Killing Eve with the richly imagined fantasy world of Furyborn and Ember in the Ashes.

Divided by their order. United by their vengeance.

Iraya has spent her life in a cell, but every day brings her closer to freedom - and vengeance.

Jazmyne is the Queen’s daughter, but unlike her sister before her, she has no intention of dying to strengthen her mother’s power.

Sworn enemies, these two witches enter a precarious alliance to take down a mutual threat. But power is intoxicating, revenge is a bloody pursuit, and nothing is certain - except the lengths they will go to win this game. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: Sworn enemies coming together to take down a common enemy is a very appealing story line. Not to mention this novel involves witches.  Witches!!!


Hour of the Witch
by Chris Bohjalian

Release Date: April 20, 2021 by Doubleday Books
A young Puritan woman--faithful, resourceful, but afraid of the demons that dog her soul--plots her escape from a violent marriage in this riveting and propulsive novel of historical suspense from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Flight Attendant.

Boston, 1662. Mary Deerfield is twenty-four-years-old. Her skin is porcelain, her eyes delft blue, and in England she might have had many suitors. But here in the New World, amid this community of saints, Mary is the second wife of Thomas Deerfield, a man as cruel as he is powerful. When Thomas, prone to drunken rage, drives a three-tined fork into the back of Mary's hand, she resolves that she must divorce him to save her life. But in a world where every neighbor is watching for signs of the devil, a woman like Mary--a woman who harbors secret desires and finds it difficult to tolerate the brazen hypocrisy of so many men in the colony--soon becomes herself the object of suspicion and rumor. When tainted objects are discovered buried in Mary's garden, when a boy she has treated with herbs and simples dies, and when their servant girl runs screaming in fright from her home, Mary must fight to not only escape her marriage, but also the gallows. A twisting, tightly plotted novel of historical suspense from one of our greatest storytellers,
Hour of the Witch is a timely and terrifying story of socially sanctioned brutality and the original American witch hunt. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read these: There is another side of witch-themed novels that appeals to me too, that involving the history of those accused of being witches. I have enjoyed Chris Bohjalian's work before and look forward to reading this one. 


Does either of these books 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!

The Witches of New York
by Ami McKay
(Harper Perennial, 2016)
In the vein of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, comes a new novel from historical fiction maven Ami McKay that transports readers to the heart of Victorian New York, where three witches practice their craft—to the delight of some—but at their own peril.

Respectable Lady Seeks Dependable Shop Girl. Those averse to magic need not apply.

New York in the spring of 1880 is a place alive with wonder and curiosity. Determined to learn the truth about the world, its residents enthusiastically engage in both scientific experimentation and spiritualist pursuits. Séances are the entertainment of choice in exclusive social circles, and many enterprising women—some possessed of true intuitive powers, and some gifted with the art of performance—find work as mediums.

Enter Adelaide Thom and Eleanor St. Clair. At their humble teashop, Tea and Sympathy, they provide a place for whispered confessions, secret cures, and spiritual assignations for a select society of ladies, who speak the right words and ask the right questions. But the profile of Tea and Sympathy is about to change with the fortuitous arrival of Beatrice Dunn.

When seventeen-year-old Beatrice leaves the safety of her village to answer an ad that reads "Respectable Lady Seeks Dependable Shop Girl. Those averse to magic need not apply," she has little inclination of what the job will demand of her. Beatrice doesn't know it yet, but she is no ordinary small-town girl; she has great spiritual gifts—ones that will serve as her greatest asset and also place her in grave danger. Under the tutelage of Adelaide and Eleanor, Beatrice comes to harness many of her powers, but not even they can prepare her for the evils lurking in the darkest corners of the city or the courage it will take to face them.
Why I want to read this: Another witch book, you ask? Why, yes! I figured I would stick to the theme. This lovely book has been languishing on my TBR shelf since 2018. So, not as long as many other books on my shelf, but still too long. A mix of history and magic, it's no wonder I was drawn to this book in the first place. I also have been wanting to read Ami McKay's work for some time now. I heard that one of the characters in this book is also featured in another of McKay's novels, The Virgin Cure--something I only recently learned and now want to get my hands on. 


Have you read The Witches of New York? 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.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Waiting to Read Wednesday: Broken / The Last Windwitch / The Unkindness of Ravens / Furiously Happy


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.


Broken
(In the Best Possible Way) by Jenny Lawson
Release Date: April 6, 2021 by Henry Holt & Co.
As Jenny Lawson’s hundreds of thousands of fans know, she suffers from depression. In Broken, she explores her experimental treatment of transcranial magnetic stimulation with brutal honesty. But also with brutal humor. Jenny discusses the frustration of dealing with her insurance company in “An Open Letter to My Insurance Company,” which should be an anthem for anyone who has ever had to call their insurance company to try and get a claim covered. She tackles such timelessly debated questions as “How do dogs know they have penises?” We see how her vacuum cleaner almost set her house on fire, how she was attacked by three bears, business ideas she wants to pitch to Shark Tank, and why she can never go back to the post office. Of course, Jenny’s long-suffering husband Victor―the Ricky to Jenny’s Lucille Ball―is present throughout.

A treat for Jenny Lawson’s already existing fans, and destined to convert new ones,
Broken is a beacon of hope and a wellspring of laughter. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: I loved Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened. I laughed. I cried. She speaks up and out about mental illness in a way that is relatable and real even when it may sound off the wall. I am looking forward to this upcoming release.


The Last Windwitch
by Jennifer Adam
Release Date: April 13, 2021 by Harper Collins
Many years ago, in the kingdom of Fenwood Reach, there was a powerful Windwitch who wove the seasons, keeping the land bountiful and the people happy. But then a dark magic drove her from the realm, and the world fell into chaos.

Brida is content in her small village of Oak Hollow. There, she’s plenty occupied trying to convince her fickle magic to actually do what it’s meant to in her work as a hedgewitch’s apprentice—until she accidentally catches the attention of the wicked queen.

On the run from the queen’s huntsman and her all-seeing Crow spies, Brida discovers the truth about her family, her magic, and who she is destined to be—and that she may hold the power to defeating the wicked queen and setting the kingdom right again. 
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: My daughter and I both enjoy stories about witches and I thought maybe this middle grade fantasy novel would appeal to her as much as it does me.  


The Unkindness of Ravens
(A Greer Hogan Mystery #1) by M.E. Hilliard

Release Date: April 13, 2021 by Crooked Lane Books
Librarian Greer Hogan matches wits with a deviously clever killer in M.E. Hilliard's chilling series debut, ideal for fans of Louise Penny and Dorothy L. Sayers.

Greer Hogan is a librarian and an avid reader of murder mysteries. She also has a habit of stumbling upon murdered bodies. The first was her husband's, and the tragic loss led Greer to leave New York behind for a new start in the Village of Raven Hill. But her new home becomes less idyllic when she discovers her best friend sprawled dead on the floor of the library.

Was her friend's demise related to two other deaths that the police deemed accidental? Do the residents of this insular village hold dark secrets about another murder, decades ago? Does a serial killer haunt Raven Hill?

As the body count rises, Greer's anxious musings take a darker turn when she uncovers unexpected and distressing information about her own husband's death...and the man who went to prison for his murder . She is racked with guilt at the possibility that her testimony may have helped to convict an innocent man.

Though Greer admires the masters of deduction she reads about in books, she never expected to have to solve a mystery herself. Fortunately, she possesses a quick wit and a librarian's natural resourcefulness. But will that be enough to protect her from a brilliant, diabolical murderer?

And even if Greer manages to catch the Raven Hill killer, will living with her conscience prove a fate worse than death?
  [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: A librarian solving a murder. How could I not want to read this?!


Do any of these books 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!


Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things
by Jenny Lawson
(Macmillan Audio, 2015)
In Furiously Happy, a humor memoir tinged with just enough tragedy and pathos to make it worthwhile, Jenny Lawson examines her own experience with severe depression and a host of other conditions, and explains how it has led her to live life to the fullest:

"I've often thought that people with severe depression have developed such a well for experiencing extreme emotion that they might be able to experience extreme joy in a way that ‘normal people' also might never understand. And that's what Furiously Happy is all about."

Jenny’s readings are standing room only, with fans lining up to have Jenny sign their bottles of Xanax or Prozac as often as they are to have her sign their books. Furiously Happy appeals to Jenny's core fan base but also transcends it. There are so many people out there struggling with depression and mental illness, either themselves or someone in their family—and in Furiously Happy they will find a member of their tribe offering up an uplifting message (via a taxidermied roadkill raccoon). Let's Pretend This Never Happened ostensibly was about embracing your own weirdness, but deep down it was about family. Furiously Happy is about depression and mental illness, but deep down it's about joy—and who doesn't want a bit more of that?
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: After listening to Let's Pretend This Never Happened, I scooped this up when it came out on audio. Jenny Lawson narrates her own books and I love her conversational style. Although I enjoy audiobooks, I do not listen to them regularly, and so have not managed to get to Furiously Happy. I haven't listened to any audiobooks since the pandemic started, actually.


Have you read Furiously Happy? 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.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Weekly Mews: Celebrating a Birthday ... and a Year of Isolation

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.






What I Am Reading: I finished reading M. Ravenel's The Arrangement, the first book in her P.I. Tootsie Carter series set in the 1970's this past week. It was a quick and fun read. 

Mouse and I are nearing the end of Tales of a Not-So-Glam TV Star (Dork Diaries #7) by Rachel Renée Russell. There is one scene that had us laughing so hard (tears were running down my face--which only made Mouse laugh harder). It was funny and gross and I still cannot believe the character did that . . .

I am also reading The Memory Collectors by Kim Neville about two women with a similar gift (or curse) of feeling the emotions of objects people have left behind. They both view their abilities in very different ways. It's a more serious read in comparison to some of my other books read lately. I am enjoying it so far. 

Next up will be this month's TBR List Poll winner, which I am very much looking forward to reading. Thank you again to all who voted! 


What I Am Watching: I FINALLY started watching the 15th season of Supernatural. I hadn't realized how much I missed Sam, Dean and Castiel. It is good to be spending time with them again. 

This past weekend we watched the new Disney movie, Raya and the Last Dragon on Disney+We all enjoyed it, although I think Mouse wishes it had been a musical. 


Off the Blog: One day this past week I took the day off work so I could do some running around for my daughter's birthday. My husband and I decided to keep it lowkey this year because of the pandemic and my lack of creative party planning abilities. I got her doughnuts in the morning before school, presented her with a bouquet of birthday balloons, served her one of her favorite lunches, and we had pizza from her favorite Italian restaurant for dinner. There were presents from my husband and I as well as out of town family. Throughout the morning her teacher made sure to wish her a happy birthday several times, which I thought was nice of him. She had wanted to make her own birthday cake this year, and it turned out very yummy, Chocolate cake topped with chocolate frosting with pink frosting accents. One of her friends came over to drop off a present and the girls (masked and distanced, of course) played and talked in our yard while us moms talked for a while. She seemed to have a nice day over all. My mom will be coming the week after next to celebrate--so  the birthday celebrations aren't over yet. We haven't seen each other in over a year now and so are very excited about her visit.

Other than that, the week was fairly normal. It was my turn to work in the office and I had it pretty much to myself. I do not know if I will ever get used to the office being so empty. Of course, now there is talk of having staff in office more frequently but those plans are still up in the air for the time being. 

Girl Scout cookies sales are over for my daughter's troop. The Council extended the season another week because the area counties opened sales for booth sales last week and next. Our troop decided not to take part, a decision I am very happy with. The girls finished up their cooking badge and are now working on a scribe badge. For the first part, they have to write a poem and a short story.

Mouse's Zoom dance classes and rehearsals are going as well as can be, as is school. Her teacher has been teaching in his classroom the entire school year and so was on campus the day the hybrid students returned to the physical classroom. His class is strictly virtual and so he isn't teaching any children in-person this school year, but he wanted to wave and greet those who were returning--so he unplugged his computer and brought his class along so they could wave and say hello to the returning students too. The students, my daughter included, got to see the long line of kids waiting their turn for temperature checks before being allowed on campus. I did not see any of this, just heard it from the other room. I thought it was a nice gesture but also felt sad for those kids in my daughter's class who are disappointed they are not able to return in-person for the rest of the year.

It sounds like the county I live in will be moving up to the red tier the middle of next week, which will allow indoor dining among other restrictions being lifted --with limitations. Not that most restaurants in the area are not already open for both indoor and outdoor dining. The vaccination effort continues and seems to be going better than it was initially.

This week has been more of an emotional one than I would have expected, thinking back to where we were a year ago. The panic and fear, the not knowing and helplessness that followed. It has been a year since my daughter was last in a classroom or in daycare. Almost a year since my husband began working strictly from home and me part of the time. A year since our lives were turned completely upside down and we struggled to find a new normal, unsure how long it would last. Three weeks we were told back then. Three weeks that turned into more than a year. Its seems like a lifetime ago. So many lives lost.

What I Am Grateful For: Laughing uncontrollably with my daughter over a book. Homemade birthday cake. Surviving this past year. Time with my family. 



Thank you for helping me decide what book from my TBR collection I should read next: 

My TBR List is 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. My review will follow (unfortunately, not likely in the same month, but eventually--that's all I can promise). 



Thank you to all who voted in this month's poll. The choices were very different from one another but all shared a historical theme with a focus on women. The two books that did not win tied with five votes each. They were The Paper Daughters of Chinatown by Heather B. Moore and Women in White Coats by Olivia Campbell. Winning by a whopping 13 votes was The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner. I am looking forward to starting on that one soon!


Thank you for voting! 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, March 11, 2021

Where Is Your Bookmark? (What I Was Reading Then and Now / Time Travel Connect 5 / BBHOP Fun]





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.

The air beneath Evelyn's paper mask is hot and damp, and even though a shaft of sunlight from the open barn door reveals sawdust swirling in the air, she pulls the mask up to her forehead and allows herself a breath of cool air. [opening of The Memory Collectors]


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 breathes in calm. She's stronger than this object. She is calm, peaceful. She opens wider. A white-hot flash pierces her center like a lightning bolt, and with it a sickening jolt in her gut, and a vision. A pair of hands, knotty pale hands, dirt under the nails, chewed up cuticles, white knuckles clenched around the grip of a gun. The barrel's pointing down at a stack of old paint cans, and a voice echoes inside her brain. How do you like me now? 
The connection breaks. Ev bends over at the waist, fizzy, disoriented. [excerpt from 56% of The Memory Keepers

I currently am reading The Memory Collectors by Kim Neville and am hooked. I wasn't sure at first, but the more I read, the more invested in the characters and story I become. The opening line is from the prologue offering a glimpse into Evelyn's past. It's funny how the mention of a mask up front makes me immediately think of the pandemic, but, of course, that is not why Evelyn is wearing a mask here. I really like the opening, the picture it paints in my mind. I have not yet reached the second excerpt in the novel (I am only about 25% in at the writing of this post), but now I am dying to get there to find out more. 

Perfect for fans of The Scent Keeper and The Keeper of Lost Things, an atmospheric and enchanting debut novel about two women haunted by buried secrets but bound by a shared gift and the power the past holds over our lives.

Ev has a mysterious ability, one that she feels is more a curse than a gift. She can feel the emotions people leave behind on objects and believes that most of them need to be handled extremely carefully, and—if at all possible—destroyed. The harmless ones she sells at Vancouver’s Chinatown Night Market to scrape together a living, but even that fills her with trepidation. Meanwhile, in another part of town, Harriet hoards thousands of these treasures and is starting to make her neighbors sick as the overabundance of heightened emotions start seeping through her apartment walls.

When the two women meet, Harriet knows that Ev is the only person who can help her make something truly spectacular of her collection. A museum of memory that not only feels warm and inviting but can heal the emotional wounds many people unknowingly carry around. They only know of one other person like them, and they fear the dark effects these objects had on him. Together, they help each other to develop and control their gift, so that what happened to him never happens again. But unbeknownst to them, the same darkness is wrapping itself around another, dragging them down a path that already destroyed Ev’s family once, and threatens to annihilate what little she has left.

The Memory Collectors casts the everyday in a new light, speaking volumes to the hold that our past has over us—contained, at times, in seemingly innocuous objects—and uncovering a truth that both women have tried hard to bury with their pasts: not all magpies collect shiny things—sometimes they gather darkness. [Goodreads Summary]

Have you read The Memory Collectors? Does it sound like something you would like to read? 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 this week I finished reading Clea Simon's The Ninth Life, the first in a mystery series featuring a cat and his human, a street girl named Care, who go up against some very dangerous people as they investigate the murder of Care's mentor, a private detective. The novel is narrated by Blackie, the cat, who is trying to remember his own past. Less cozy and more noir, this mystery was entertaining and had several tense moments.


Have you read The Ninth Life? What were you 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 am not a fan of the time change and yet here we go again (at least for some parts of the world). On Sunday at 2 a.m., I will be springing forward an hour in time (as opposed to falling back). I do enjoy the longer days, I admit. It will not feel like bedtime as soon as I get off work, which is a plus. The upcoming time change got me thinking about time, which inevitably led to time travel and time slip fiction. I thought I would share five such novels with you today, all with the word "time" in the titles. I have only read one of these (The Time Traveler's Wife) and the rest are on my TBR shelf waiting to be read. (Covers are linked to Goodreads.)


A Witch in Time by Constance Sayers


The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger


A Stitch in Time (Thorne Manor #1) by Kelley Armstrong


This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone


Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald


Have you read any of these? Do you have a favorite time travel book you would recommend?


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

What percentage (roughly) of the books you read do you write blog post reviews for? (submitted by Elizabeth Complex Chaos)

It varies. I think last year it was about 50% give or take because I did not review most of the middle grade and children's books my daughter and I read together. Before I began blogging, I kept a reading journal where I jotted down my thoughts about the books I read. When I started my blog in 2006, my blog became sort of an extension of that. I write and post about every book I read just about, the exceptions being the rare health or work related book I read or the majority of the children's books I have read with my daughter over the years. I reviewed some, but not nearly all. If you count just the books I read for myself for leisure, however, it would be close to 100%, if not exactly that. 

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, March 09, 2021

Waiting to Read Wednesday: Anywhere for You / The Last Bookshop in London / Phantoms & Felonies / If Today Be Sweet


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.


Anywhere for You
by Abbie Greaves
Release Date: April 6, 2021 by William Morrow
A poignant and thrilling love story about one woman’s decade-long search to reconnect with the love of her life who disappeared without a trace.

The straphangers of Ealing Broadway station are familiar with Mary O’Connor, the woman who appears every day to watch the droves of busy commuters. But Mary never asks anything from anyone. She only holds out a sign bearing a heartrending message: Come Home Jim.

While others pass her by without a thought, Alice, a junior reporter at the Ealing Bugle, asks Mary to tell her story. Many years ago, Mary met the charming and romantic Jim Whitnell. She was certain she’d found her other half, until one day he vanished without any explanation. But Mary believes that Jim isn’t a cad, that he truly loved her and will return—especially because she’s recently received grainy phone calls from him saying he misses her.

Touched but also suspicious, Alice quietly begins her own investigation into Jim’s disappearance, unraveling a decade-long story filled with desire, heartbreak, and hope. With Greaves’s signature warmth and charm,
Anywhere for You is a romantic and immensely moving novel about the enduring power of love and finding happiness in unexpected places. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: I cannot help but wonder what Mary's story is and why she is unable to let go of Jim after all these years. Is he on the other end of the phone? Will she ever see him again? 


The Last Bookshop in London
by Madeline Martin
Release Date: April 6, 2021 by Hanover Square Press
Inspired by the true World War II history of the few bookshops to survive the Blitz, The Last Bookshop in London is a timeless story of wartime loss, love and the enduring power of literature.

August 1939: London is dismal under the weight of impending war with Germany as Hitler’s forces continue to sweep across Europe. Into this uncertain maelstrom steps Grace Bennett, young and ready for a fresh start in the bustling city streets she’s always dreamed of—and miles away from her troubled past in the countryside.

With aspirations of working at a department store, Grace never imagined she’d wind up employed at Primrose Hill, an offbeat bookshop nestled in the heart of the city—after all, she’s never been much of a reader. Overwhelmed with organizing the cluttered store, she doesn’t have time to read the books she sells. But when one is gifted to her, what starts as an obligation becomes a passion that draws her into the incredible world of literature.

As the Blitz rains down bombs on the city night after night, a devastating attack leaves the libraries and shops of London’s literary center in ruins. Miraculously, Grace’s bookshop survives the firestorm. Through blackouts and air raids, Grace continues running the shop, discovering a newfound comfort in the power of words and storytelling that unites her community in ways she never imagined—a force that triumphs over even the darkest nights of war-torn London.
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: Books bring comfort even in the darkest of times. I enjoy historical fiction and you can probably guess why this one in particular appealed to me. I look forward to reading this one. 


Phantoms & Felonies
(A Haunted Mansion Mystery #2) by Lucy Ness
Release Date: April 6, 2021 by Berkley
Avery Morgan has been hired to breathe new life into the Portage Path Women's Club, but first she'll have to deal with a dead body and a meddling ghost.

When a local theater troupe puts on a new play at the club, manager Avery Morgan is excited. This is just the sort of event that's destined to bring in potential new members. Okay, millionaire banker Bob Hanover has more bucks than talent and has used his position to grab the lead role, but that seems like a small price to pay...until Bob is found dead backstage.

Bob rubbed many people the wrong way, but would anyone want him dead? The short answer to that is: Who wouldn't want him dead? His long-suffering wife had to put up with years of womanizing. The show's playwright has been tricked out of his one great idea by Bob, who claimed it as his own work. And Bob bankrupted one of the town's small businessmen. The choices are many and the time to find the killer is running short.

Avery is working overtime to keep the club open and find the killer. Fortunately, she has help with the latter task. Clemmie Bow was once a singer in the speakeasy in the club's basement. Now she's a ghost who's also a top-notch detective. Together Clemmie and Avery will find the killer—even if it kills one of them.
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: A ghostly cozy mystery? How can I not want to read this? 


Do any of these books 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!

If Today Be Sweet
by Thrity Umrigar
(Harper Perennial, 2007)
Tehmina Sethna's beloved husband has died this past year and she is visiting her son, Sorab, in his suburban Ohio home. Now Tehmina is being asked to choose between her old, familiar life in India and a new one in Ohio with her son, his American wife, and their child. She must decide whether to leave the comforting landscape of her native India for the strange rituals of life in a new country.

This is a journey Tehmina, a middle-aged Parsi woman, must travel alone.

The Parsis were let into India almost a millennium ago because of their promise to "sweeten" and enrich the lives of the people in their adopted country. This is an ancient promise that Tehmina takes seriously. And so, while faced with the larger choice of whether to stay in America or not, Tehmina is also confronted with another, more urgent choice: whether to live in America as a stranger or as a citizen. Citizenship implies connection, participation, and involvement. Soon destiny beckons in the form of two young, troubled children next door. It is the plight of these two boys that forces Tehmina to choose. She will either straddle two worlds forever and live in a no-man's land or jump into the fullness of her new life in America.

If Today Be Sweet is a novel that celebrates family and community. It is an honest but affectionate look at contemporary America—the sterility of its suburban life, the tinsel of its celebrity culture, but also the generosity of its people and their thirst for connection and communication. Eloquently written, evocative, and unforgettable, If Today Be Sweet is a poignant look at issues of immigration, identity, family life, and hope. It is a novel that shows how cultures can collide and become better for it. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: I have loved everything I have read by Thrity Umrigar. She is such an amazing author. I added this to my TBR shelf in 2008 and still very much want to read it. 


Have you read If Today Be Sweet? 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, March 07, 2021

Bookish Mewsings: The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins


It is the absolute shittiest day for a walk. ~ Opening of The Wife Upstairs


The Wife Upstairs 
by Rachel Hawkins
St. Martin's Press, 2021
Crime Fiction/Thriller; 304 pgs
Source: NetGalley

This novel was every bit the enjoyable read as everyone told me it would be. It was the winner of my February 2021 poll, and it did not disappoint. Touted as a modern Jane Eyre re-telling with a twist, The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins certainly has several parallels to the original Charlotte Bronte novel, but it is also a very different novel that stands well on its own--so you don't have to be a fan or to have read the Classic to appreciate and enjoy The Wife Upstairs

Jane Bell grew up in foster care and is trying to escape her past. She has a plan and she is determined to do what it takes to get what she wants. She has found her way into the Thornfield Estates in Alabama, a wealthy gated community, where she walks dogs for the bored housewives who have better things to do--like shop and plan charity events. No one notices the little things that disappear when Jane is around--an earring here or there, perhaps a watch or a bracelet. And no one ever questions whether Jane is who she says she is. 

Jane finds exactly what she is looking for when she runs into the recently widowed Eddie Rochester--or rather, he almost runs into her with his car. Eddie is everything Jane wants. Rich, single, and available. The two hit it off immediately and one thing leads to another. Jane's plan is working perfectly. But she is haunted by the memory of Bea, Eddie's wife, who seemed almost too good to be true, a rags to riches story, well-liked and well-loved. And then there are the questions surrounding her disappearance and death. She and her friend had died in a boating accident. It was an accident, right? 

I know I am not supposed to like any of the characters--they all are rather pretentious and self-centered, but I could not help but like Jane. Perhaps it was sympathy for all she'd been through as a child, but I also liked her grit and perseverance. There was a naivety about her, just the same. Especially when you stand her up next to the charming and polish of other characters in the novel. I also kind of liked Eddie, ever so charming and yet not quite hiding a strong approach-with-caution vibe underneath it all.  

I did not want want to put this novel down; it was such a fun read. It doesn't take itself too seriously either, which I think is part of its charm. Even when I suspected the direction the novel would go, whether I was right or wrong, I enjoyed finding out every step of the way. And I loved the ending. I was not sure how everything would turn out, but it felt right for the story Hawkins was telling us. 

Challenges Met:  Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge & Winter COYER


© 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, March 06, 2021

Weekly Mews: Wrapping Up February & Looking Forward to March (Please Vote in my TBR Poll! Help Me Decide What to Read Next.)

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.

As part of my monthly wrap up, I am linking up to Nicole of Feed Your Addiction's Monthly Wrap-Up Post and 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. 


Happy March everyone! This week was a typical week in my life for the most part. My husband and I had work. Mouse had school and dance/musical theater. The cats slept a lot. The Girl Scout Cookie sale is winding down. Just one week left. The winds have not been too bad this week, which was nice, and the weather perfect for open window days. It did rain for several hours one day. I love a good rainy day. 

What I Am Reading: I read and loved The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna earlier this week. Mouse and I recently finished the 6th of the Dork Diaries books, Tales from a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker by Rachel Renée Russell. My daughter insisted we immediately start on the 7th in the series, Tales of a Not-So-Glam TV Star, and so we did. 

I am close to finishing M. Ravenel's upcoming release The Arrangement, a mystery set in 1975 New York. It is the first in a new series featuring P.I. Tootsie Carter. I am enjoying it quite a bit so far. 

What I Am Watching: My family and I watched the final episode of WandaVision last night. We thought the show was wrapped up very well, although we hated to see it end.  I can't wait to watch it again and catch what I might have missed.  We also recently watched the 2017 Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle movie, which was fun. I remember seeing the Robin Williams 1995 version years ago. We also watched the movie Flora and Ulyssess, which Mouse loved. 


New to the Shelves February Books:

Mouse's new books: 


Tales from a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker (Dork Diaries #6) by Rachel Renée Russell
Tales from a Not-So-Glam TV Star (Dork Diaries #7) by Rachel Renée Russell 
Tales from a Not-So-Happily Ever After! (Dork Diaries #8) by Rachel Renée Russell


Sheets by Brenna Thummler

E-Book deals I couldn't pass up (and it helped I had a gift card needing spending): 


Tails, You Lose (Witch City Mystery #2) by Carol J. Perry
Look Both Ways (Witch City Mystery #3) by Carol J. Perry
Murder Go Around (Witch City Mystery #4) by Carol J. Perry
There's a New Witch in Town (Holiday Hills Witch #1) by Carolyn Ridder Aspenson
Witch this Way (Holiday Hills Witch #2) by Carolyn Ridder Aspenson
Daring (Pax Arcana #2) by Elliott James
Fearless (Pax Arcana #3) by Elliott James
In Shining Armor (Pax Arcana #4) by Elliott James
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Brainwaite
Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America by Melissa V. Harris-Perry
A Cat's Guide to Bonding with Dragons (Dragoncat #1) by Chris Behrsin
The Ninja Daughter (Lily Wong #1) by Tori Eldridge
Vows, Vendettas and a Little Black Dress (Sophie Katz Murder Mystery #5) by Kyra Davis


The Winter COYER Challenge hosted by Michelle and Berls of Because Reading Is Better Than Real Life lasted through January & February and I committed to reading five (4) books. I ended up reading seven (7). 

1. One by One by Ruth Ware
2. Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder (#1) by T.A. Willberg
3. Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano
4. A Glimmer of Death (#1) by Valerie Wilson Wesley
5. The Russian Cage (Gunnie Rose #3) by Charlaine Harris
The Wedding Date (The Wedding Date #1) by Jasmine Guillory
7. The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins (review pending) 

March 1st kicked off the beginning of the Spring COYER Challenge, which I am also taking part in because why stop now? I am looking forward to seeing where I go on my reading adventures this season. The rules are similar to the Winter COYER rules only now, not only do e-books and audiobooks count, but also physical books. Books still have to be free or nearly free, however with the added bonus that now library and borrowed books qualify. Spring COYER lasts from March through June. More months, more reading! My goal is to read eight (8) books for Spring COYER. Care to join me? 


Here is what I finished reading in February:
January was a fluke given how much I read. February was much more in line with my usual average. It was still a great reading month. I have yet to meet a book I have not enjoyed this year. If I had to pick a favorite read of the month, I would say Michelle Obama's Becoming. It was just as good as everyone told me it would be. I hope to post my review later this month.

Blogging wise, I managed to keep up the pace I started in January. I will be taking a much needed break toward the end of March. 

This Past February In Reading Mews:

Tell me what you have been up to! What are you reading, listening to and watching? How was your February? 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 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. My review will follow (unfortunately, not likely in the same month, but eventually--that's all I can promise). 



This month my choices have a historical focus with women at the heart of each story. It is Women's History Month after all. I am really excited about all three titles and cannot wait to see which one I will be reading this month. Thank you for voting! 


The Paper Daughters of Chinatown by Heather B. Moore
Based on true events, The Paper Daughters of Chinatown in a powerful story about a largely unknown chapter in history and the women who emerged as heroes.

In the late nineteenth century, San Francisco is a booming city with a dark side, one in which a powerful underground organization—the criminal tong—buys and sells young Chinese women into prostitution and slavery. These “paper daughters,” so called because fake documents gain them entry to America but leave them without legal identity, generally have no recourse. But the Occidental Mission Home for Girls is one bright spot of hope and help.

Told in alternating chapters, this rich narrative follows the stories of young Donaldina Cameron who works in the mission home, and Mei Lien, a “paper daughter” who thinks she is coming to America for an arranged marriage but instead is sold into a life of shame and despair.

Donaldina, a real-life pioneering advocate for social justice, bravely stands up to corrupt officials and violent gangs, helping to win freedom for thousands of Chinese women. Mei Lien endures heartbreak and betrayal in her search for hope, belonging, and love. Their stories merge in this gripping account of the courage and determination that helped shape a new course of women’s history in America. [Goodreads Summary]

Women in White Coats: How the First Women Doctors Changed the World of Medicine by Olivia Campbell
For fans of Hidden Figures and Radium Girls comes the remarkable story of three Victorian women who broke down barriers in the medical field to become the first women doctors, revolutionizing the way women receive health care.

In the early 1800s, women were dying in large numbers from treatable diseases because they avoided receiving medical care. Examinations performed by male doctors were often demeaning and even painful. In addition, women faced stigma from illness—a diagnosis could greatly limit their ability to find husbands, jobs or be received in polite society.

Motivated by personal loss and frustration over inadequate medical care, Elizabeth Blackwell, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Sophia Jex-Blake fought for a woman’s place in the male-dominated medical field. For the first time ever, Women in White Coats tells the complete history of these three pioneering women who, despite countless obstacles, earned medical degrees and paved the way for other women to do the same. Though very different in personality and circumstance, together these women built women-run hospitals and teaching colleges—creating for the first time medical care for women by women.

With gripping storytelling based on extensive research and access to archival documents, Women in White Coats tells the courageous history these women made by becoming doctors, detailing the boundaries they broke of gender and science to reshape how we receive medical care today.  [Goodreads Summary]

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
In this addictive and spectacularly imagined debut, a female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them—setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course.

Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman.

Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.

One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose—selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.

In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

With crackling suspense, unforgettable characters and searing insight, The Lost Apothecary is a subversive and intoxicating exploration of women rebelling against a man’s world, the destructive force of revenge and the remarkable ways that women can save each other despite the barrier of time.

Thank you for voting! 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.