Saturday, January 01, 2022

Weekly Mews: Happy New Year! (First Book of the Year / December Wrap Up / Help Me Choose 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 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 New Year! What better way to start off the year than with Sheila's (of Book Journey) First Book of the Year! It has become a New Year's tradition for many of us readers, and I enjoy seeing what books others have chosen to start off the year with. For me, that means the first book I start fresh in the new year (not the carryovers from the year before). My husband and daughter were forced volunteered to share their first books of 2022 too!


My First Book pick of the year is The Witch Haven by Sasha Peyton Smith:
My daughter gave me The Witch Haven for Christmas, knowing I love stories about witches. It seems like the perfect book to start off the new year.

Mouse's First Book choice is The Minor Third (The Magic Misfits #3) by Neil Patrick Harris:
I thought it would be interesting and I like the series.

Anjin chose The Witchwood Crown (The Last King of Osten Ard #1) by Tad Williams:
It's been sitting on my to-be-read pile for too long.
Which book are you starting the year with? 


Continuing over from 2021, I am reading both Dressed For Freedom: The Fashionable Politics of American Feminism by Einav Rabinovitch-Fox and White Witch, Black Curse (The Hollows #7) by Kim Harrison. I am determined to finish (or at least catch up in) the Hollows series in 2022--I am really enjoying it.


What are you reading right now? 


Up Next

It is that time again when you help me choose the next book I will read! After pouring over my personal bookshelves, I came away with a a big stack of options, but narrowed it down to the three choices before you. Each of these books are on my unofficial Must Read in 2022 list and so my hope is to read all of them at some point this year. One will just have the honor of going first! 

The Map of Salt and Stars
by Zeyn Joukhader (2018)
It is the summer of 2011, and Nour has just lost her father to cancer. Her mother, a cartographer who creates unusual, hand-painted maps, decides to move Nour and her sisters from New York City back to Syria to be closer to their family. But the country Nour’s mother once knew is changing, and it isn’t long before protests and shelling threaten their quiet Homs neighborhood. When a shell destroys Nour’s house and almost takes her life, she and her family are forced to choose: stay and risk more violence or flee as refugees across seven countries of the Middle East and North Africa in search of safety. As their journey becomes more and more challenging, Nour’s idea of home becomes a dream she struggles to remember and a hope she cannot live without.

More than eight hundred years earlier, Rawiya, sixteen and a widow’s daughter, knows she must do something to help her impoverished mother. Restless and longing to see the world, she leaves home to seek her fortune. Disguising herself as a boy named Rami, she becomes an apprentice to al-Idrisi, who has been commissioned by King Roger II of Sicily to create a map of the world. In his employ, Rawiya embarks on an epic journey across the Middle East and the north of Africa where she encounters ferocious mythical beasts, epic battles, and real historical figures.

A deep immersion into the richly varied cultures of the Middle East and North Africa,
The Map of Salt and Stars follows the journeys of Nour and Rawiya as they travel along identical paths across the region eight hundred years apart, braving the unknown beside their companions as they are pulled by the promise of reaching home at last. [Goodreads Summary]

Circe by Madeline Miller (2018)
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child - not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power - the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love. 
[Goodreads Summary]

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré (2020)
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]

Thank you for voting! What will you be reading 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 let you vote for my next read during that month. My review will follow (unfortunately, not likely in the same month, but eventually--that's all I can promise). 


What I Have Been Watching


My family recently saw Disney's, Encanto, on Disney+ which we loved. Even my husband was in tears at the end. We also re-watched Moana, a family favorite. Television wise, my husband and I watched Hawkeye, another great Marvel series, the second season of Witcher, and the final season of Lucifer this past month. On my own, I started watching the first season of Outlander. I have never read the books and have no interest in doing so, but at least thought I would check out the television series. It is definitely a series I am glad I chose to watch over reading. 


Have you watched anything interesting lately?


New to the Shelves 


Anne Bogel's My Reading Life: A Book Journal fit nicely in my stocking this year. 


Books I found under the Christmas tree this year: 
The Witch Haven by Sasha Peyton Smith
The Book of Magic (Practical Magic #2) by Alice Hoffman
The Made Women's Ball by Victoria Mas


Not to be left out, Mouse found a few books under the tree too:
The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #1), Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #2), and Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #3) by Jessica Townsend, illustrated by Jim Madsen
Persona 4, Volume 10 by Atlus & Shuji Sogabe

Have you read any of these books? What books did you add to your TBR this past month? 


December Monthly Wrap Up

Here is what I finished reading in December:
  • Down a Dark River ((Inspector Corravan #1) by Karen Odden
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Walking in a Witchy Wonderland (Stay a Spell #3.5) by Juliette Cross
  • Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson
While I may not have fit in much reading time in December, I certainly read some great books. The stories in Walking in a Witchy Wonderland were a fun way to wrap up the holiday season with a bit of magic and romance. I had a hard time putting down Down a Dark River, a historical mystery with an unforgettable cast of characters. The timing felt right to finally pull Brown Girl Dreaming off my TBR shelf to read--such a beautiful and touching history of the author's childhood written in verse. I had not planned on reading Shout last month. It was a desperate attempt to meet the last requirements for two of my reading challenges (poetry and nonfiction). The nonfiction book I was (and still am) reading was slow going and I knew I would not finish before the end of the year. From the very first page, I knew Shout was going to end up being one of my top five reads and that held true in the end.


© 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.

99 comments:

  1. I love that your whole family joined in with Sheila’s meme :)

    Wishing you a great reading week

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    1. Shelleyrae - I appreciate that they were willing to humor me. :-) I hope you have a great reading week too!

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  2. I took a break from writing reviews in December (I only wrote three), and it was nice. But now I have a bunch I need to catch up with. I voted for Circe because it's one I hope to read myself someday😁

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    1. Tammy - I hope you are able to get caught up with your review writing. I'm so behind. I don't want to think about it, but I know I have to. LOL Thank you for voting! I loved The Song of Achilles and I only had read that because I didn't have a copy of Circe at the time, so I am looking forward to reading it this year.

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  3. Happy New Year! Love that the whole family is involved in First Book. Loved The Outlander books and series. We finished Joe Pickett a Spectrum original series. Pretty good.

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    1. Nise' - I am glad you enjoyed Joe Pickett. I haven't read the books or seen the series (I don't subscribe to Spectrum), but it does sound good! Maybe it will make its way to Netflix someday. Happy New Year to you too!

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  4. It's so much fun that you were able to talk your family into participating in First Book this year.

    I voted for Girl with the Louding Voice, but, if you can, I suggest a read/listen combination. Someone suggested that to me, and I thought it was amazing.

    Happy New Year!

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    1. Deb - It wasn't too hard to twist their arms, fortunately. :-) Thank you for voting! I have heard such great things about The Girl with the Louding Voice. Sadly, I won't be able to listen to it, but I do look forward to reading it this year. Happy New Year to you too!

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  5. I chose the Girl with the Louding Voice for your poll and if it is the winner, I HIGHLY recommend doing the audio book (and I am not an audio book fan). The narrator is stellar!

    But, The Map of Salt and Stars looks fantastic and I am going to add it to my TBR list.

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    1. Helen - Thank you for voting! I keep hearing the audio version of The Girl with the Louding Voice is amazing, alas, that is not an option for me. I am looking forward to reading The Map of Salt and Stars. I hope you get a chance to read it too!

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  6. Happy New Year! Dressed for Freedom sounds fascinating!

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    1. Eustacia - Dressed for Freedom is an interesting read. Happy New Year to you too!

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  7. Happy New Year!!! I love the look of all your books!

    I voted Circe since I've seen so many good reviews for that :)

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    1. Greg - Happy New Year to you too. :-) Thank you for voting! I have heard good things about Circe too and look forward to reading it.

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  8. I've got Song of Achilles by Madelene Miller sitting looking at me, for r re-read. I'm finishing up a French novel about an 85 year old woman, and will start a thriller set in a Paris apartment! Happy new year of reading!

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    1. Harvee - I loved The Song of Achilles. I hope it holds up well in the re-reading! I imagine it will. :-) I hope you are enjoying your reading!

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  9. Love the cat climbing EVERYTHING! lol Well, I have to finish the current book I'm reading today before I start a new book for the year, I think that will be Kiss and Tell by Maya Hughes. I enjoyed The Witch Haven, so I hope you will as well!
    Lisa Loves Literature

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    1. Lisa - She will climb everything. LOL Kiss and Tell sounds like it will be good. I'm a sucker for a good series. I hope you enjoy it! I am glad you enjoyed The Witch Haven! Have a Happy New Year!

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  10. I love that your whole family participated in The First Book of the year! I am currently reading The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman which is a carry over from 2021. So my first book of 2022 will be Reserved for Murder by Victoria Gilbert.

    My son and his girlfriend really like The Witcher, so much so that she has started reading the books.

    Happy New Year!

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    1. Gretchen - My husband has read The Witcher books and I drive him crazy with questions as we watch. He's a good sport about it though. :-) You can't go wrong with Victoria Gilbert. I hope you enjoy Reserved for Murder! Have a Happy New Year too!

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  11. Circe is one of my favorite books ever so of course I had to vote for that one!

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    1. Stephanie - Thank you for voting. I have a feeling I'm going to love Circe when I read it. :-)

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  12. I started both a new ebook and audiobook today. The ebook is Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost for the REad-along; the audio is Something to Hide by Elizabeth George. My December and 2021 reading stats are in my Sunday post tomorrow. Happy New Year!

    Anne - Books of My Heart

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    1. Anne - Sounds like you got off to a great start! I started my first book yesterday and am enjoying it so far. I hope you are enjoying your first books of the year!

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  13. I voted for Circe because it was so good! Happy New Year to you and your family!

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    1. Marg - Thank you for voting! I hope you have a Happy New Year too!

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  14. I like both CIRCE and THE GIRL WITH THE LOUDING VOICE. But I listened to the audiobook for both of them and would recommend that format. My yearly wrap on through my Sunday Salon posts

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    1. Anne - I am looking forward to reading both. I have them both in trade paperback so will be reading them that way. I've heard the audio versions are good though. :-)

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  15. I voted for The Girl With the Louding Voice. I did really enjoy Circe, I listened to the audio book. You and your family have so much good reading ahead! Happy New Year!

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    1. Victoria - Thank you for voting! I hope I get to all three books this year but I am looking forward to seeing which one I will read first. I am glad to hear you enjoyed Circe. I hope you have a Happy New Year too!

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  16. Happy New Year! 'The Witch Haven' sounds amazing, and I do love that you and your family are all in on Magic books together! I voted for 'Circe', I absolutely adored that book and I hope you enjoy it too. I'm saving the second Witcher season for once my deadlines are passed, as a treat xD I hope you have a lovely upcoming week :)
    Juli @ A Universe in Words

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    1. Juli - Same to you! I am enjoying The Witch Haven so far. It's a fun book to start the year. You know, I hadn't noticed we all picked books featuring magic. That's quite a coincidence. LOL I hope you enjoy the second season of Witcher when you get to it. I think it will make a great reward after meeting your deadlines. Have a great week too!

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  17. I haven't read any of your books that you want us to vote for, but I still want to read all of them!!! I just went with Circe, because I actually have a copy of it.

    Your Christmas cats seem as if they loved being the star of the show. Of course they are! Glad you had a good Christmas.

    Happy New Year and may you be blessed with lots of great reads in the upcoming year.

    Elza Reads

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    1. Mareli & Elza - Thank you for voting! That cats really enjoyed Christmas. :-) I hope you have a Happy New Year and many great books as well!

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  18. I hope you all enjoy your first books! I'm still reading last year's books, so I haven't decided on my first yet.

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    1. AJ - Thank you! I am still reading a couple from last year too. :-)

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  19. Enjoy all of your books, and I love the photo of you and family with books to love! Your pick looks like a good one. Thanks for sharing, and for visiting my blog.

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    1. Laurel-Rain - Thank you! We are all enjoying our first books. :-)

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  20. I love cats and books too! I'm your new follower. May you follow me back?
    Regards and Happy 2022!

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    1. Rocio - Thank you for following! I added you to Inoreader, which is how I follow blogs. :-) Have a Happy New Year too.

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  21. Happy New Year, Wendy! 🎉 I had very busy December, so did less reading, but lots of new films watched and enjoyed being able to see family and friends. I hope you enjoy your first book of the year and I voted for Circe for your next read. 🙂

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    1. Jessica - Happy New Year to you too! It does sound like you had a busy December! I am glad you were able to visit with family and friends. Thank you for voting and visiting!

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  22. We loved Encanto and Hawkeye. Happy new year!

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    1. Jennifer - They both were good, weren't they? I hope you have a Happy New Year too!

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  23. The Fashionable Politics of American Feminism & The Girl With The Louding Voice sound good

    I have Encanto and Moana on my list to watch

    I loved Brown Girl Dreaming and the other books I've ready by Jacqueline Woodson

    So neat that your husband and daughter volunteered to share their first books of 2022 too :)

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    1. Vicki - Dressed in Freedom has been an interesting read, although it's been slow going. I am looking forward to reading Girl with the Louding Voice.

      I hope you do get a chance to watch Encanto and Moana at some point. Both are really good!

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  24. I like the book journal, super cool. Happy New Year! https://cindysbookcorner.blogspot.com/2022/01/stacking-shelves-4sunday-post-1.html

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    1. Cindy - I am not the best at keeping paper journals, but maybe I will do better with this one. :-) I hope you have a Happy New Year too!

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  25. Happy New Year! I'm starting off 2022 with a nonfiction book about reading called My Live With Bob. I hope it's good. And I had to vote for The Girl With the Louding Voice because I read that book last year and loved it. :)

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    1. Lark - I hope you enjoy your first book this year! Thank you for voting and I hope you have a Happy New Year too!

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  26. I love your first reads photo. For my first read I am listening to The French Gift by Kirsty Manning and reading Love at First Spite by Anna E. Collins. I didn't get any books for Christmas, but that's because I buy what I want. Wishing you all the best in 2022 and Happy New Year, Wendy.

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    1. Carla - Thank you! The French Gift and Love at First Spite both sound good. I hope you are enjoying them! I hope you have a Happy New Year as well!

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  27. Happy New Year!! I want to read The Book of Magic soon!

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    1. Wendy - I am really looking forward to The Book of Magic. Alice Hoffman is one of my favorite authors. Have a Happy New Year too.

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  28. seems the kitty had a good christmas :-) wishing you the best in 2022
    sherry @ fundinmental

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    1. Sherry - They did enjoy themselves. :-) I hope you have a great 2022 too!

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  29. I haven't read a Kim Harrison book in a while and I have liked her books in the past. I hope this year is a good one for all of us.

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    1. Mary - I hope it will be a good year for all of us too! Stay safe.

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  30. Love the family pic and the kitty pics! I never read Outlander either. I wanted to but the size of each book scares me. LOL I have watched the series though and really enjoy it.

    I hope you have a great week and Happy New Year to you and your family!

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    1. Yvonne - Thank you! They are really big books, aren't they? I hope you have a great week too!

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  31. Your kitties are so cute! I didn't know NPH wrote a book. My first read is The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Tiffany Brooks (Audio) and Shutter by Courtney Alameda (Physical)
    I watched Encanto today too! It was so good, though I'm not surprised. I'll be writing a review on it here soon. I'm super behind in posts!
    I've added way too many books to my goodreads TBR in the last month, preparing for the new year of new books. I haven't added any to my actual shelves though.

    Ash @ Essentially Ash

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    1. Ash -Thank you! I love my kitties. 😊 The Magic Misfit series by NPH is a cute middle grade series. My daughter is enjoying it. Maybe you and your son would too!

      I hope you are enjoying your first books. I like Amanda Quick. Wasn't Encanto so good?! I have a feeling we will be rewatching that one a lot.

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  32. A bit late but happy new year to you and your family. The very best for 2022.

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    1. Mystica - Happy New Year to you too! Hopefully this year will be better for all of us.

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  33. Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoy your first reads of the year - I haven't read any of them, I think I completely missed that Neil Patrick Harris wrote a fiction series! I love him and would be possibly interested.

    I chose The Girl with the Louding Voice for your TBR pick - but man do they all sound good! Have a great week :)

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    1. Berls - Happy New Year to you too! I've read the first Magic Misfits book and my daughter's on the third one. She really likes it. I hope you will too! I'm a fan of his too. 😊

      Thank you for voting!

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  34. Nice-looking first books! I hope 2022 is filled with great books for you. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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  35. Happy New Year to you!

    I love a good witchy book as well, but I haven't heard of Witch Haven. I may have to check it out! - Melinda @ A Web of Stories

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    1. Melinda - Thank you and same to you! Witch Haven isn't quite what I expected, but I'm enjoying it so far.

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  36. The Witch Haven looks good! Hope you have a great 2022!

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    1. Jamie - It is good so far. I hope you have a Happy New Year too!

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  37. Happy New Year! The Witch Haven sounds great - I shall look that up and will probably add it to my TBR for the year. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it. My first book ended up being a DNF - I do hope that isn't how my reading year is set to continue!

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    1. Louise - Happy New Year to you too! I'm sorry you first book ended in a DNF. Hopefully the next one will be much better.

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  38. Happy New Year. Great looking books. Nice to find Anne Bogel's reading journal in your Christmas goodies.

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    1. Kathryn - Thank you! Being the one who stuffs all the stockings in our house has its advantages. Haha!

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  39. Hi Wendy, Happy New Year! I like the look of The Map of Salt and Stars for your next read. I've also heard very good things about Circe. I have an unfair prejudice against the third option because I'm tired of novels with the "Girl With the XX" formula ;)

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    1. Andrew - Happy anew Year to you and thank you for voting! I really looking forward to reading The Map of Salt and Tears. I imagine it will be an emotional book.

      I understand your bias again books with "girl" in the title. It's very overdone nowadays.

      Thank you for visiting!

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  40. Happy New Year! I love the family pic with your first reads of the year! I voted for Circe by Madeline Miller because I've had that on my TBR since it came out. Happy reading this week, enjoy your books from Santa those are all pretty covers :) The kitty pics are cute. Otis is the same, he likes to climb up on things to be perched at the highest level.
    And isn't The Witcher so good? I love that series. We just finished the new season.

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    1. Naida -Thank you and Happy New Year to you too. :-) Animals can be such daredevils. LOL I really like Witcher too.

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  41. Good job on convincing (forcing) your family to show off their books too. :-)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. Nicole - Fortunately it wasn't too hard to twist their arms. LOL

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  42. I like your photo with all of your Books of the Year. My favorite witch novel is Anne Rice's novel The Witching Hour ... Have you read that one?? Enjoy your reads. & Happy 2022!

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    1. Susan - Thank you! We are all enjoying our first books so far. I read The Witch Hour years ago. It is my favorite of Anne Rice's books. I hope you have a Happy New Year too!

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  43. Happy New Year, Wendy! I love the family photos with your new reads. So fun!

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  44. Happy New Year, Wendy! Love it that your family join in the First Book of the Year event. I can't decide between Circe and The Girl With the Louding Voice because are great IMO. Happy reading and hope you've a great week!

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    1. Melody - Thank you and same to you! I am glad you loved both Circe and The Girl With the Louding Voice. I am sure I will too!

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  45. Cute cat pics! I haven't read any of you potential picks, but I've heard so many good things about Circe. Happy 2022!

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  46. Happy New Year! I have a copy of The Witch Haven I'm hoping to get to this year, as well. Hopefully we both enjoy it! Happy Reading in January!

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    1. Dedra - I hope you enjoy Witch Haven when you read it! Have a good week!

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  47. Wonderful books and how is Mouse so big! In my head she's still 5 years old. Our December was a bit crazy with the addition of the puppy. He's an absolute seetie but if I ever get a puppy again (and to be honest I almost certainly will) it won't be in December!

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    1. Katherine - They grow up before we notice! Puppies are so much fun, aren't they? And a lot of work! LOL

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  48. I love that your husband and daughter joined in on the first book of the year fun! I am obsessed with The Outlander show. It is so good. I love the books too. I still need to watch the most recent season though. I also need to watch the new season of The Witcher. I loved the first one so I should enjoy the second season as well.

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    1. Carole - I am glad I got them to participate. I'm pretty sure my daughter decided on a different book to start the year, but that's okay. :-) I hope you enjoy the second season of The Witcher. It's really good.

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  49. We just watched Encanto too and loved it. The music is fantastic! My first read of 2022 was Across the Desert by Dusti Bowling and it was excellent.

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