Sunday, March 12, 2023

Weekly Mews: A Quick Check In & My Bookish Mewsings

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.






This past week got away from me as they often seem to do this time of year. Health issues, work and school, birthday celebrations, and last minute supply shopping for science camp. Mouse is heading off to the mountains for a few days with her class at school. I was half expecting a letter from the school saying camp was cancelled because of the snow and rain, but it is still on. Hopefully the expected inclement weather will skip her side of the mountain. Regardless, I hope she has a good time.


I finished three books this week. The first being A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn (Berkley, 2017; 352 pgs), the second in the Veronica Speedwell historical mystery series. I adored the first book, although it took me awhile to pick up and read the second. Like the first, it was humorous in all the right moments and kept me entertained from page one. Veronica Speedwell is a lepidopterist (butterfly hunter) who was raised by aunts and is more foreword thinking than most in 1887. She's smart and resourceful and the kind of woman who speaks her mind quite readily. She works closely with Stoker, a former naval surgeon, currently a natural historian, who comes from an aristocratic family he wishes he could ignore. In the first book of the series, A Curious Beginning, the two discovered that they make a good team--including solving murders. Although reluctantly, Veronica agrees when asked to look into the brutal murder of an artist for which her lover, a well respected man of society, is set to be hanged. A Perilous Undertaking is a fitting title for this historical mystery--there are death threats, a Bohemian artist's colony, a rather racy grotto, action scenes, and even a visit or two to the palace.

I was not as drawn to the mystery in A Perilous Undertaking as I had been with the one in the first book, although it was interesting. I felt it was overshadowed by Stoker's personal conflict with his family--or perhaps it was because I was more interested in seeing where that storyline went. Regardless, I enjoyed getting to know Stoker a little better--a character I already liked--and it is evident he and Veronica have more in common family baggage wise than they first realized. I really liked how Lady Wellingtonia Beauclerk's character was tied into the novel--not to mention quite liking the character herself. Somehow I suspect this is not the last I have seen of her in the series. Overall, a strong second book in the series. I look forward to reading more.


Until coming across Nancy Warren's The Vampire Knitting Club (#1) (Ambleside Publishing, 2018; 256 pgs), I had not heard of a cozy mystery featuring vampires and was immediately intrigued. Lucy Swift has been looking forward to visiting her grandmother in Oxford for some time. She's especially in need of support after a recent break-up. Only, when she arrives, her grandmother's knitting shop, Cardinal Woolsey, is all locked up and her grandmother is no where to be found. She soon discovers that her grandmother had died. Or had she? It turns out her grandmother is now a vampire--and there are other vampires living not too far away from the shop too. Lucy's life changes even more when she discovers she has certain magical abilities of her own.

There is a lot of set up in this novel and it took awhile for the mystery part to get off the ground. Someone had tried to kill Lucy's grandmother and she must find out who before she ends up being the one killed. While the motive was quite obvious from the start, the who was less clear as there are a few suspects that could have wanted Lucy and her grandmother dead. Mystery, mixed with a bit of humor, a hint at possible romance to come, a knitting club made up of vampires, and an adorable feline familiar, this cozy paranormal mystery was just plain fun to read. I can see myself reading more. 


I also finished How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with The History Slavery Across America by Clint Smith (Little, Brown & Company, 2021; 336 pgs), which is one of those books I wish I could put in everyone's hands to read. Clint Smith's style of writing is inviting, well researched, informative, insightful, and reflective. I was not surprised to find out he is a poet as his descriptions often invoked a strong sense of the moment as he described the places he visited and his experiences in each one.

Books like this are so important, especially at a time when there are factions of people who want to erase, whitewash or minimize parts of history that make them uncomfortable. In How the Word Passed, Clint Smith takes readers on a journey to various monuments and landmarks across the United States (like the Monticello and Whitney Plantations, Angola Prison, Blandford Cemetery, Galveston Island, and New York City), as well as Gorée Island in Africa, sharing the history and role slavery has played in the United States and how it has impacted generations of people; the repercussions still being felt today. I like that the author included interviews throughout the book with people he met along the way, whether experts or just your regular tourist. He also shared records of testimonies by enslaved people.  This is a book that should make everyone feel uncomfortable, that human beings can treat other human beings this way. If anything this book stresses how important it is that we do not ignore our history, that we need to study it and reflect on it if we want to move forward and effect change. Especially the parts that make us uncomfortable.



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). 


Thank you to everyone who voted in my March TBR List Poll this past week! From the comments, I half expected Episode Thirteen by Craig DiLouie to win, but it actually came in last with only eight (8) votes. Louise Erdrich's The Sentence got nine (9) votes; and winning with twelve (12) votes is Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune. I look forward to starting it soon! 


Thank you for voting!


I hope you have a great week! Let me know what you have been reading!

© 2023, 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.

16 comments:

  1. “How the Word is Passed” is indeed an essential book about some American attitudes and what they mean. I also enjoyed it — reviewed it here:
    https://maefood.blogspot.com/2023/01/how-word-is-passed.html

    Have a good week!!

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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  2. I'm curious about Under the Whispering Door because so many people loved the author's book, The House in the Cerulean Sea. I'm eager to hear what you think.

    I agree with you completely about How the Word is Passed. I would love to give that book to many people and then have a conversation about it.

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  3. I love the sound of the Deanna Raybourne book - I've seen her name and this series mentioned on various blogs and haven't ever got hold of one of her books. I'll see if they are available in audio format as I love listening to tales of derring-do:). I hope Mouse enjoys her trip to the mountains and that the weather is kind - it makes such a difference. Have a great week, Wendy:)

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  4. I think the idea of a paranormal cozy is so awesome!

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  5. Thanks for sharing How the Word is Passed. These are important books. I have been watching 1923 and it has some parts dealing with the the Native American schools - oh the inhumane treatment suffered.. how could a human being do that to another? It's because they didn;t see them as humans.

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  6. I'm glad you are enjoying your books. I hope she has a good time at camp. Please take a moment to care for yourself too.

    Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

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  7. Added How the Word Is Passed to my reading list. Sound like a very important book.

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  8. I need to catch up on the Veronica Speedwell mysteries. I'm so far behind in that series! And I hope Mouse has a ton of fun at her science camp. :D

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  9. I absolutely agree with you on wanting to put How The Word is Passed into as many hands as possible!

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  10. I hope mouse has a good time at her class trip and the weather cooperates. I love the Veronica Speedwell series too

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  11. How the Word is Passed is one that I really want to read (add it to a long list!)

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  12. Thanks for the tip on the Clint Smith book. I like history and don't think it should be whitewashed or ignored, even the uncomfortable parts. That DeSantis guy is crazy to censor what students should learn. Enjoy your week.

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  13. I hope Mouse has fun on her school trip and isn't too cold! How The Word Is Passed is on my TBR. I love history and am looking forward to it.

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  14. I hope Mouse has an amazing time on her school trip! I like the Veronica Speedwell series but do think it took a few books to really get going. This most recent one was probably my favorite. I'm a little disappointed that Episode 13 didn't win! But I can't wait to see your thoughts on The Sentence. Hope you're having a great week!

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  15. Whilst it was the cover of A Perilous Undertaking that caught my eye, it was the title The Vampire Knitting Club that, conjuring up all kinds of images in my mind, caught my imagination. Your March poll featured what sounds like three good reads, however, like the majority of voters, my choice would also have been Under the Whispering Door if only for its cover.

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