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 Stacking the Shelves hosted by Marlene of Reading Reality a meme in which participants share what new books came their way recently.
January was one of those months that was achingly slow for some but flew by for me. I cannot believe it is already February. Since I last shared my weekly mews, my life has been mostly about work (it has been terribly busy and there were some difficult days--come-home-and-hug-my-daughter tight type days).
My mom, Mouse, husband, and I visited The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art and Culture and took in the beautiful artwork there. We also went to see a local kids' theater group put on their elite performance of Disney's Descendants, which was very well done. Mouse had taken their junior class this past summer/fall and performed in a less formal version of the musical last October. She enjoyed seeing some of the older kids who helped in her class perform on stage. Mouse also got to attend a pirate dinner theater with her Girl Scout troop. It was part of their council's annual cookie season rally. Her troop was one of a few in our district to win the #Blingyourride contest. The girls went all out decorating the outside of the truck they used to pick up all the Girl Scout cookies last weekend, kicking off the official start of the cookie season.
February will be a busy month for us. Work, of course. My in-laws are in town this weekend for a late holiday gift exchange since they weren't able to make it for Christmas in December. And next weekend cookie booths open--so you can guess where we'll be just about every weekend after that. At least until cookie season ends.
Earlier this week, I finished reading Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dreyer. It is officially on my list of books to reference back to. I am close to finishing Clara Coulson's Speaker of the Lost, an urban fantasy novel about two FBI agents working on a special supernatural task force to solve a murder.
Next up, I will be reading Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun (#3) by Elle Cosimano, I loved the first two books and keep hearing great things about the third in the series. After that, well, I could use your help!
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).
Help me choose my next TBR List read! Initially I was thinking romance, but I am more in the mood for a cozy historical mystery. All of these qualify in most of my reading challenges this year. Which of these three books do you think I should read next? Have you read any of them?
A stranger who appears on Kat's doorstep turns out to be one Charlotte Bristow, legal wife of Joe Bristow, the man Kat once believed herself married to—who she thought died at sea twelve years ago. Kat is jolted by Charlotte’s claims that not only was Joe murdered, but he had amassed a small fortune before he died. Charlotte makes the cook an offer she cannot refuse—if Kat can discover the identity of Joe's murderer, Charlotte will give her a share of the fortune Joe left behind.
With the help of Daniel McAdam, her attractive and charismatic confidante, Kat plunges into her own past to investigate. When it becomes apparent that the case of Joe’s death goes far deeper than simple, opportunistic theft, Kat and Daniel's relationship is put to the test, and Kat herself comes under scrutiny as her connection to Joe is uncovered. She must race to catch the real killer before she loses her job and possibly her life. [Goodreads Summary]
Swimming into the lifeless body of her husband’s mistress tends to ruin a woman’s day, but becoming a murder suspect can ruin her whole life.
It’s 1974 and Ellison Russell’s life revolves around her daughter and her art. She’s long since stopped caring about her cheating husband, Henry, and the women with whom he entertains himself. That is, until she becomes a suspect in Madeline Harper’s death. The murder forces Ellison to confront her husband’s proclivities and his crimes—kinky sex, petty cruelties and blackmail.
As the body count approaches par on the seventh hole, Ellison knows she has to catch a killer. But with an interfering mother, an adoring father, a teenage daughter, and a cadre of well-meaning friends demanding her attention, can Ellison find the killer before he finds her. [Goodreads Summary]
London, 1887. At the Curiosity Club, a ladies-only establishment for daring and intrepid women, Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell meets the mysterious Lady Sundridge, who begs her to take on an impossible task--saving society art patron Miles Ramsforth from execution. Ramsforth, accused of the brutal murder of his mistress, Artemisia, will face the hangman's noose in a week's time if the real killer is not found.
But Lady Sundridge is not all that she seems, and unmasking her true identity is only the first of many secrets Veronica must uncover. Together with her natural-historian colleague, Stoker, Veronica races against time to find the true murderer. From a Bohemian artists' colony to a royal palace to a subterranean grotto with a decadent history, the investigation proves to be a very perilous undertaking indeed.... [Goodreads Summary]
Thank you for voting!
February brings to rain,
thaws the frozen lake again.
~ excerpt from "The Months" by Sara Coleridge
I have fallen a little behind in my nightly poetry reading and need to play catch up. I did, however, recently read a poetry collection I thought I would share about today.
There is one poem about self-care which I especially liked. Self-care comes in all forms, including waiting to start tomorrow. I think my favorite section though was "two americas". There is one section where Renaada Williams writes:
Black be pure. Black be joy. Black be scared. Black be laughter. Black be struggle. Black be happiness. Black be journey. Black be lonely. Black be gold. Black is painful. Black is beautiful.
She goes on like this, naming different characteristics, ending with "Black be resilient" repeated over and over again, capturing the beauty and empowerment in her words. It is especially meaningful given the two Americas she is writing about in this section as she calls out racism. As a white person, my experiences may not be the same, but I could feel her passion and the truth in her words.
I highlighted quite a bit in this collection--too much to share here--but here are some of my favorite excerpts:
blood splatteredpainted on every branch of our family treethunderstormsthicker thansaws to set me free [excerpt from "two americas", find her. keep her.]
i ama gifta tokenthey welcomed me my laughtermy entertainment my painmy movementbut ask meto leave my roots at the door. [excerpt from "two americas", find her. keep her.]
I got better at hiding the scarsa hopeless dove without her wings don't believeanything or anyonemaking you feel unworthy even if it's yourself! [excerpt from "records of self-discovery", find her. keep her.]
Heart-wrenching, thought-provoking and inspirational are all words I would use to describe this collection.
I'm venturing into Mouse's Corner with all this Mouse talk, aren't I? Back to Guts. Guts is the third book in the author's Smile series (the second being Sisters). The series is actually a graphic memoir, based on the author's real life. In this particular installment, Raina is struggling with school issues, worries about food and friendships, and oncoming puberty. Things many of us can relate to. I could see my daughter in the pages of the book, which makes sense given they are of a similar age (I think Raina is slightly younger in this memoir).
Guts also touches on mental health concerns, anxiety in particular. Something just about everyone deals with at some point in their life to one degree or another. Raina has suffered with anxiety most of her life. This book was a good opportunity for me to talk with my daughter about our personal struggles with anxiety, and how well we could relate to Raina. I appreciated the way the author normalized getting help for anxiety, including seeing a therapist. Something that I wish more books for children would do. Little Raina is such a sweetheart and I wanted to give her a hug more than once. I have great admiration for the author and am grateful she is sharing her story with young readers (and us older ones too).
Mouse recently read Ravenfall by Kalyn Josephson, the first in a series, about a 13 year old girl with the the power of foreseeing death. It is not the most useful of skills. Or so she thinks up until she meets a boy who is in town looking for his missing brother and the monster that killed their parents. All I can get out of Mouse so far about the book is that "it was very good." I could hear her complaining to her grandmother as they walked up the path to our front door the other afternoon about how she has to wait until October for the second book to come up. I know what that's like all too well . . .
Mouse is now reading The Keeper by Guadalupe García McCall. It is the story of two siblings, James and Ava, who recently moved with their family from Texas to Oregon. They are both learning to adjust to their new home when James begins finding mysterious letters signed by someone calling themselves The Keeper. The grown-ups think this is just another of the kids' pranks, but Ava and James know otherwise. They believe it's tied to stories of other children who had gone missing in the past and decide to investigate for themselves, afraid they might be the next victims.
My favorite local independent bookstore is having to move after their lease was not extended. They were given a month's notice, which was then extended to two months after public outcry. That is still not a lot of time to find a new location and pack up and move--not to mention the expense of it all. The property management company says it wants to move in a new direction, but there has been speculation that it has something to do with the store's focus on LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC authors and literature, and their hosting drag queen story hours. Whatever the reason, it is sad news for the community. The owner and her staff are confident that they will find a new and better home, and, in the meantime, will continue their many book clubs, author events, and maintain their online store.
I imagine my family and I will be visiting there again this month and next to show our support. On our last visit, this is what we added to our shelves:
New to My Shelves
The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff
This Is Not a Personal Statement by Tracy Badua
New to Mouse's Shelves
Out of My Heart (Out of My Mind #2) by Sharon M. Draper
Magus of the Library, Vol. 1 by Mitsu Izumi, translated by Stephen Kohler
Ouran High School Host Club, Vol. 2 by Bisco Hatori
Cursed Princess Club, Vol. 1 by LambCat
My daughter expressed an interest in watching The X-Files the other day and so my husband popped in the first DVD. We have watched the first two episodes so far. My husband remembers the show like yesterday. Me, not so much. I think I remember later episodes more so.
We also recently saw the first episode of Poker Face, which is about a woman who has an uncanny ability to know when people are lying. She uses her skills to solve crimes while on the run from people who want her dead.
As a family, we have started rewatching our old Harry Potter DVDs at my daughter's request and are up to the fourth film. This is one of those instances where one struggles with liking the art but not the artist. We do not agree or support the author of the books in her beliefs, but we have long loved the magic of the Harry Potter series.
What have you watched recently?
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