Monday, January 31, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top Ten Books Read with Character Names In the Titles

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely Jana at The Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is the Books with Character Names In the Titles (Submitted by BookLoversBlog and Lucy @ Bookworm Blogger). I wanted to feature books I have read, and evidently I have a lot of books with character names in the title. Looking over my five paw reviews of books with memorable characters, I was able to narrow it down to these ten books:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

LaRose by Louise Erdrich

Emma by Jane Austen

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

What are some of your favorite books that have a character's name in the title? 

© 2022, 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 29, 2022

Weekly Mews: Cookie Time & Six Degrees of Separation (From No One is Talking About This to Becoming)

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 linking up to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Team Tynga's Reviews and Marlene of Reading Reality a meme in which participants share what new books came their way recently. 
Can you believe it is the last weekend of January? It seemed to both drag and fly by at varying points of the month. The wind went away the beginning of the week and came back full force toward the end of the week, although all is calm out there this morning. The temperatures are starting to get warmer. I am very ready for spring.

As I write this, I am shaking off the last of the sleepy dust and Mouse is getting ready for a full day of dance. Anjin is tucked in bed getting some last minute zzz's before his day starts.  Mouse had a virtual Girl Scout meeting this past week followed by a parent meeting to talk about the kick off of cookie season--which means soon my house will be full of boxes of cookies to sell. 

I realize it is not February yet, but I am jumping in a weekend early to take part in February's Six Degrees of Separation since next weekend I will be posting my January wrap up and February TBR poll where you help me decide what I will read next. 

February's starting point is No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood, a novel I know very little about (I think it focuses on the impact of social media on a woman's life and how that frames loss and grief suffered in her offline life), and so I am focusing on the title itself. 

It's actually a good jumping off point for a variety of topics, but the book that first came to my mind was Me & Emma by Elizabeth Flock. I don't really want to go into too much about this book only to say it deals with the issues of child abuse. One of those dirty family secrets hardly anyone wants to talk about or, in some cases, acknowledge. 

I go from there to Laura Lippman's mystery novel, Hush Hush, which I chose solely because of the title and not the subject matter. Because, going back to Me & Emma, the victims are often told to keep quiet about what is happening and not talk about. 

Secrets long kept have a way of coming out--and often need to. Which brings to mind Shout by Laurie Anderson Halse, a memoir in verse I read the end of last year. A survivor of sexual assault, the author learned to speak up for herself and wanted to share her story so others will know they are not alone and give them hope. 

I am currently reading The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré about a young Nigerian woman, girl really, who faces what many would see as insurmountable obstacles, including child marriage and cruelty and abuse, and yet she continues to work toward making her dreams come true. 

Adunni in The Girl with a Louding Voice longs for an education and to become a teacher, which brings me to the next book in the chain, Tara Westover's Educated. Tara mostly had to educate herself, raised by survivalist parents who feared the government and were preparing for the end of the world. She would eventually go onto college and earn her doctorate. 

Going back to choosing a book more so because of its title, Michelle Obama's Becoming popped up in my mind. Although, some of the themes from this one do carry over from one book to the other. Learning, growing, becoming. Whether facing trauma, hardships, grief, or discrimination, the fictional and real life girls/women in these books come into their own, each through their own journeys, becoming who they are today.

And there you have it: from No One is Talking About This to BecomingWhere would your chain go?

**Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate of Books Are My Favourite and Best in the host chooses a book and participants take it from there: creating a chain of books, each connected to the one before. Seeing where we end up is half the fun!**

This Week In Reading Mews

New to the Shelves:

My husband surprised me with a couple of manga books from my wish list this week:

I Want to Eat Your Pancreas by Yoru Sumino, illustrated by Izumi Kirihara
Spy x Family, Vol. 1 by by Tatsuya Endo, translated by Casey Loe

Tell me what you have been up to! What are you reading, listening to and watching? What new books did you add to your bookshelf? How was your week?

© 2022, 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 27, 2022

Where Is Your Bookmark: My Current Read & Just in Time for Cinderella

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.

This morning, Papa call me inside the parlor. [opening of The Girl with the Louding Voice]

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.

Don't cry, Adunni, I warn myself, don't you never, ever cry for any nonsense foolish man like Morufu. [pg 56 of The Girl with the Louding Voice]

At the moment I am reading The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré. The opening does not give much away but I was immediately curious about what her father wanted to tell her--suspecting it would set the stage for events to come. By page 56, my heart hurt for Adunni. I had already felt a range of emotions from anger to frustration to sadness by then. All of which I imagine Adunni felt too. 

The unforgettable, inspiring story of a teenage girl growing up in a rural Nigerian village who longs to get an education so that she can find her “louding voice” and speak up for herself, The Girl with the Louding Voice is a simultaneously heartbreaking and triumphant tale about the power of fighting for your dreams.

Despite the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in her path, Adunni never loses sight of her goal of escaping the life of poverty she was born into so that she can build the future she chooses for herself - and help other girls like her do the same.

Her spirited determination to find joy and hope in even the most difficult circumstances imaginable will “break your heart and then put it back together again” (Jenna Bush Hager on The Today Show) even as Adunni shows us how one courageous young girl can inspire us all to reach for our dreams...and maybe even change the world. [Goodreads Summary]

Does this sound like something you would like to read? What are you reading right now?

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.

This weekend is auditions for the Cinderella ballet my daughter's studio will be performing this summer. What better way to kick off the weekend than with Cinderella re-tellings?! Here are five I have read in the past ten years--all of which I enjoyed: 

The screw through Cinder's ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle. ~ Opening of Cinder

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer ~ A science fiction retelling with a twist - humans, androids, a prince and a cyborg mechanic, a deadly plague and the threat of a hostile takeover. 

Aisling's mother died at midsummer. ~ Opening of Ash
Ash (#1) by Malinda Lo ~ A young women grieving the loss of her father and wishing to escape her cruel stepmother is tempted by the promises of a dark and dangerous fairy, all the while falling for the King's Huntress.

I have a magic mirror in my basement and I'm going to use it. ~ Opening of If the Shoe Fits
If the Shoe Fits (Whatever After #2) by Sarah Mlynowski ~ A magic mirror transports two siblings into the Cinderella fairytale where they must set the story right before being able to return home. This Cinderella must prove she is no damsel in distress before her fairy godmother will help her. 

Once upon a time, humans lived in peace across the land of Varis. ~ Opening of The Black Lily 

The Black Lily (Tales of the Black Lily) by Juliette Cross ~ In this dark romantic tale, our heroine sets out to assassinate the prince the night of the ball. It is humans against vampires--can they find common ground? 

Here is my dirty little secret: as a journalist I have spent nearly two decades writing about girls, thinking about girls, talking about how girls should be raised. ~ Opening of Cinderella Ate My Daughter
Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the New Girlie Girl Culture by Peggy Orenstein ~ A look at how parents can maneuver in a culture of perpetuated gender stereotypes and the media. [Okay. So this one really doesn't count as a Cinderella retelling, but it has Cinderella in the title. That has to count for something, right? Yeah, I didn't think so either. Unfortunately, I couldn't think of another Cinderella re-telling I have read (I do have a list of ones I want to read though!).]

Have you read any of these? What Cinderella retellings would you recommend? 

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

© 2022 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.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Bookish Mewsings: Witches Get Stitches / The Ex Hex / Vanessa Yu's Magical Paris Tea Shop

"Okay, Violet's Turn!" ~ Opening of Witches Get Stitches

Witches Get Stitches
(Stay a Spell #3) by Juliette Cross
(2021; 390 pgs)

Witches Get Stitches is the third book in the Stay a Spell series featuring the Savoie sisters, all of whom are gifted with magic. This is a fun paranormal romance series, each book featuring a different couple.  I have wondered what the backstory between Violet and Nico is for awhile now. Why is she so rude to him all the time? Well, it was time to find out!

The attraction between Nico and Violet was instant, even if it took their brains longer to be willing to give it a chance. Particularly for Violet. Nico, a werewolf, has a plan though and a lot of patience. He is determined to help Violet realize they belong together. Violet’s dream to have her own tattoo business is finally becoming a reality, and that is in part due to Nico who owns the property where the shop will be. Violet has been working on a charmed tattoo that will help give werewolves control over their beastly side. If she can just manage it, the impact on the supernatural community, particular werewolves would be profound. Her skills are put to the test when Nico’s past catches up to him and his former pack comes into town—and not exactly for a friendly visit.

I enjoyed getting to know Nico and Violet’s backstory as well as see them finally end up together where they belong. I really like Nico who clearly respects Violet and wants her to be happy. Violet can be stubborn and feisty but she also has a softer side. There were appearances by other repeat characters from past books—and a deeper glimpse into the grim reapers' abilities (whose abilities I can’t wait to learn more about!). There’s plenty of steam as expected and suspenseful moments too along with a few unexpected twists. I enjoyed Witches Get Stitches and look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Never mix vodka and witchcraft. ~ Opening of The Ex Hex

The Ex Hex
by Erin Sterling
(Avon, 2021; 308 pgs)

I did not realize Erin Sterling was author Rachel Hawkins when I picked up this book to read. Not that it would have made a difference. It just means I read a book by her before (The Wife Upstairs), which I really liked by the way.

The Ex Hex was such a fun book to read. I loved every minute of it. It’s the story of witch named Vivienne, who, when she was young and broken hearted cursed her love—not really believing it actually took. Alas, nine years later, she is about to find out how wrong she was. When Rhys Penhallow, descendent of the town’s ancestors returns to Graves Glen, Georgia years after having his heart broken by Vivi, he hopes to be in and out. The last thing he wants to do is linger. All he has to do is re-charge the ley lines and then he can leave. Things never work out as planned in a novel like this, and all sorts of things start to go wrong. Wind-up toys are on the attack and other “accident” seem to keep happening when Rhys is around. It is up to Vivi and Rhys to figure out how to break this curse that is very real.

I thought the misunderstanding that lead to the breakup between a young Vivi and Rhys was rather silly, but age and immaturity does count for something, I guess. Despite that minor quibble, I thoroughly enjoyed The Ex Hex. It was such a rollercoaster of a reading experience. Just the right of magic, action and chemistry between the two main characters. Oh, and how I loved that ending! Major points for Rhys! I hope this will not be the last I see of Graves Glen.

I predicted the future on my third birthday. Vanessa Yu's Magical Paris Tea Shop

Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop
by Roselle Lim (2021; 305 pgs)

Vanessa Yu can see people’s fortunes—or, as she believes, their misfortunes. It is not a gift she wanted and she sees it more as a curse and hindrance. On top of that, her love life is nonexistent and her family will not stop meddling in her affairs. They even hired a matchmaker from Shanghai who told Vanessa’s aunts that she was hopeless and would never find a match. When her eccentric aunt with similar clairvoyant abilities asks her to come to Paris to help her with her new tea shop, Vanessa is hesitant, but her aunt promises to teach her how to use and control her abilities. As Vanessa and her aunt grow closer, she lets go of some of her resistance and opens up to the help her aunt help her. She discovers her aunt had once been in love but that the relationship ended badly. It soon becomes clear to Vanessa that her aunt’s lost love is in Paris as well and she sets out to find a way to bring them together. Because if they can be reunited, perhaps she will be able to hold onto love as well and fates can be changed.

This was such a charming story and I loved getting to know Vanessa and her Aunt Evelyn. There are lots of descriptions of food too! Vanessa does meet someone who is quite charming and wins her heart as he shows her the sights in Paris. He struggles with his own issues though, as Vanessa will soon discover. I actually liked that bit of reality thrown in with this otherwise sweet tale. I loved Vanessa and her aunts and getting to see Paris through her eyes. I also like the way things wrapped up in the end.

Have you read any of these novels? If so, what did you think?

© 2022, 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.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2021

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely Jana at The Artsy Reader Girl.

The Top Ten Tuesday topic this week is the New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2021. There were quite a few actually, but I did my best to narrow the list to just ten thirteen. I had heard of many of these authors before 2021, but last year was the first year I took a chance on any of their books. I will definitely be reading more by them!

Becky Chambers

Kate Quinn

Elizabeth Acevedo

Elle Cosimano

Mia P. Manansala

Ashley Weaver

Sonali Dev

C.J. Cooke

Namina Forna

Karen Odden

Auralee Wallace

Rachel Harrison

Erin Sterling/Rachel Hawkins

What new to you authors did you discover in 2021 that you cannot wait to read again? 

© 2022, 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.