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.
It has been over a month since I last blogged, much less set eyes on my blog. I had not intended to be away so long but here we are. I have not been in the best of places mentally and my knee has been giving me more trouble again. It probably didn't help that I decided to move the couch from one room to the other all by myself. Enough of the depressing stuff . . .
Last we visited, my daughter was headed to science camp with her sixth grade class. It did in fact rain, but she had a great time and was still able to go horseback riding, canoeing, rock climbing, hike, and learn archery.
A few days after Mouse got home, we celebrated a late birthday with a couple of her good friends and then were off for a Spring Break trip to Universal Studios Hollywood. Our first day there was rainy and cold but we had a blast at the park, taking the studio tour and riding some of the rides. While most of the day the rain was light, it began pouring in the late afternoon, and so we took that as a our cue to leave to check into the hotel. The second day of our trip, we had a more laid back day, visiting the shops at Universal Studio Walk and had lunch at the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen (Steampunk chocolate heaven!). In the evening we enjoyed the Lion King musical at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. It was just as good the as the first time I saw it! The sun was out the following day for our second day at Universal Studios. We were able to explore Super Nintendo World a little bit more and went on a few rides that we skipped the first day of our visit. After that, we headed home to finish out our spring break at home. It'd been a while since we had a chance to get away, so it was nice to be able to do so--even if we didn't travel too far.
Dessert at the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen
The beginning of April, we visited the observatory in Rancho Mirage with Mouse's Girl Scout troop. We tracked the space station as it travelled across Utah and New Mexico before it disappeared from our sight. We saw stars and the moon up close, as well as Venus. Towards the end of April, we went on another troop fieldtrip, visiting the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert for their Glow in the Park event that they hold in the spring. They go all out with the lights and lanterns. It really is lovely.
Giraffes after Dark
Dragon after Dark
Mouse had her spring band concert a couple weeks ago. Her school along with another local elementary school and the middle school jazz band performed together. My mom, husband and I were lucky to find seats--so many families and friends had to stand on the sidelines of the auditorium because there were so many people there.
We are on the final countdown now for the end of the school year. State testing is out of the way and these last two and a half weeks will be less academic and more fun stuff from the looks of the school schedule. Mouse is feeling a little sad to see the school year come to an end. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that she's leaving the elementary school she's attended since kindergarten--the comfort of the familiar and heading into the unknown.
My work has been as busy as ever. We continue to be short staffed and with everyone having to make up for it; is it any wonder people have been calling off a lot?
We have plans tonight to go see the movie Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. with my mom this evening. I have heard mixed reviews, but it's one we've been wanting to see since we first heard about it.
What have you been up to?
It seems to be feast or famine when it comes to my reading as of late. I suffered a brief reading slump during the second half of March and the first half of April, with only a scattering of reading in between--mainly Manga and the occasional short story. The second half of April through now has me deep into Leigh Bardugo's Grishaverse, however. I missed seeing Leigh Bardugo at the Los Angeles Festival of Books because we were meeting Victoria Schwab and Peng Shepherd at the same time as Bardugo's signing, unfortunately. But I wouldn't have wanted to miss the authors we did see!
Shadow in Bone (#1) by Leigh Bardugo
Siege and Storm (Shadow and Bone Trilogy #2) by Leigh Bardugo
Ruin and Rising (Shadow and Bone Trilogy #3) by Leigh Bardugo
Six of Crows (#1) by Leigh Bardugo
Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo
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).
I could use your help deciding which book to read next! I have been reading a lot of fantasy lately and think it's time to switch things up a bit. Which of these three books do you think I should read next? Have you read any of them? If so, what did you think?
A devilish thriller with a killer concept: The McMasters Conservatory for the Applied Arts, a luxurious, clandestine college dedicated to the fine art of murder where earnest students study how best to “delete” their most deserving victim.
Who hasn’t wondered for a split second what the world would be like if a person who is the object of your affliction ceased to exist? But then you’ve probably never heard of The McMasters Conservatory, dedicated to the consummate execution of the homicidal arts. To gain admission, a student must have an ethical reason for erasing someone who deeply deserves a fate no worse (nor better) than death. The campus of this “Poison Ivy League” college—its location unknown to even those who study there—is where you might find yourself the practice target of a classmate…and where one’s mandatory graduation thesis is getting away with the perfect murder of someone whose death will make the world a much better place to live.
Prepare for an education you’ll never forget. A delightful mix of witty wordplay, breathtaking twists and genuine intrigue, Murder Your Employer will gain you admission into a wholly original world, cocooned within the most entertaining book about well-intentioned would-be murderers you’ll ever read. [Goodreads Summary]
Turns out that reading nothing but true crime isn’t exactly conducive to modern dating—and one woman is going to have to learn how to give love a chance when she’s used to suspecting the worst.
PhD candidate Phoebe Walsh has always been obsessed with true crime. She’s even analyzing the genre in her dissertation—if she can manage to finish writing it. It’s hard to find the time while she spends the summer in Florida, cleaning out her childhood home, dealing with her obnoxiously good-natured younger brother, and grappling with the complicated feelings of mourning a father she hadn’t had a relationship with for years.
It doesn’t help that she’s low-key convinced that her new neighbor, Sam Dennings, is a serial killer (he may dress business casual by day, but at night he’s clearly up to something). It’s not long before Phoebe realizes that Sam might be something much scarier—a genuinely nice guy who can pierce her armor to reach her vulnerable heart. [Goodreads Summary]
Older women often feel invisible, but sometimes that's their secret weapon.
They've spent their lives as the deadliest assassins in a clandestine international organization, but now that they're sixty years old, four women friends can't just retire - it's kill or be killed in this action-packed thriller.
Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie have worked for the Museum, an elite network of assassins, for forty years. Now their talents are considered old-school and no one appreciates what they have to offer in an age that relies more on technology than people skills.
When the foursome is sent on an all-expenses paid vacation to mark their retirement, they are targeted by one of their own. Only the Board, the top-level members of the Museum, can order the termination of field agents, and the women realize they've been marked for death.
Now to get out alive they have to turn against their own organization, relying on experience and each other to get the job done, knowing that working together is the secret to their survival. They're about to teach the Board what it really means to be a woman--and a killer--of a certain age. [Goodreads Summary]
Thank you for voting!
When my daughter bought the first volume of Magus of the Library, I knew I would not be able to resist reading it myself. This past month I read the first four volumes and hope to get to the next two this month. It is a sweet story about an orphan boy from the slums, raised by his sister, who sneaks into the town library to read. He loves books. The librarian there isn't too keen on people from the slums and chases him out. A boy with pointy ears who has never fit in, Theo, dreams of different life--one where he is more a hero than a bullied outcast. Fate steps in and he meets a traveling Kafna, one of the librarians from the great library of Aftzaak, and it changes his life forever. He travels to Aftzaak to take the test to become a Kafna himself. Theo is a kind boy who sees the best in everyone and every situation. He never hesitates to step in when help is needed.
Mitsu Izumi has created an intricate world full of colorful characters, tenuous alliances, and a hovering threat that may dismantle a fragile peace. The great library dedicates itself to protecting books and knowledge, but also serves a unifying purpose for the people. It is hard not to see real world parallels as often can be seen in fantasy novels. I enjoy the descriptions and artwork of care and mending of books and the magical beasts and spirits.
Magus of the Library, Volumes 1-4 by Mitsu Izumi,
translated by Stephen Kohler, lettering by Evan Hayden
I am enjoying getting to know the characters better through these short stories. I admit I did not care for the first story "Be Spelled," about how Ceri became enslaved by Al. However, I have enjoyed the other stories I have read so far--seeing Jenks, the pixie, take on his own case with the help of his gargoyle friend Bis in "Ley Line Drifter" and reading the story about Ivy, a living vampire, early in her career in "Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil." One of my favorite stories was when Rachel first summons Pierce in "Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel." Although, now that I have said that, I may have liked "Dirty Magic" a story about Mia, the banshee, even more. It certainly was a sad one. And how I miss Kisten's character! He and Rachel make a good team in "The Bridges of Eden Park." I look forward to reading the remaining stories as the mood strikes.
Mouse has been making her way through her birthday books and is currently reading The Haunted Bookstore: Gateway to a Parallel Universe (Light Novel), Vol. 1 by Shinobumaru, illustrated by Munashichi. It is about a girl who lives in an otherworldly bookstore and rescues a mortal boy who is an exorcist. His very presence is a threat to her world and she can only hope to convince him the spirits are not his enemies after all. Mouse is enjoying it--ghosts and books are a winning combination.
Mouse also recently read Victoria Schwab's This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1), which she liked quite a bit. It had been a birthday gift from a friend. She still prefers A Darker Shade of Magic to it, but is eager to read more in the series. We got the chance to meet Victoria Schwab at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books this past month, much to Mouse's (and mine) excitement and Mouse even got her book signed!
New to my shelves:
This Easter Bunny likes to make sure everyone's basket has a book or two in it. This year, my basket included:
Lady Killer, Vol. 1 by Joëlle Jones and Jamie S. Rich
Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper
The sun was shining over the Los Angeles Times Book Festival this year and my family and I enjoyed browsing the various booths, enjoying a little entertainment, and seeing which author's turned out. Of course, we couldn't walk away empty handed!
OBIT (Poems) by Victoria Chang
Kiss Her Once for Me by Alison Cochrun
A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver
Elemental (Shadows of Otherside #1) by Whitney Hill
A Fire Among Clouds (Codex Black #1) by Camilo Moncada Lozano, colorist: Angel DeSantiago
Nightmare in Savannah by Lela Gwenn, illustrated by Rowan MacColl
The Case of the Girl from Deja Vu (The Nightmare Brigade #1) by Frank Thillez, illustrated by Yomgui Dumont
Peasprout Chen, Future Legend of Skate and Sword (#1) by Henry Lien
So This is Ever After by F.T. Lukens
Our local independent bookstore's lease was not renewed, and, for awhile there, I was not sure if they would find a new home. The good news is they have, and it's closer to where I live! Today was their last day at their current location before their big move. They hope to be opened the middle of June in their new place. Strictly to help them out so they don't have to move so many books (okay, so maybe that's not the real reason), Mouse and I picked up a few books today:
The Atlas Six (#1) by Olivie Blake
Jameela Green Ruins Everything by Zarqa Nawaz
Once There Was by Kiyashi Monsef
Gallant by V.E. Schwabb
Welcome to Demon School! Iruma Kun, Vol. 1 by Osamu Nishi
Mapmakers and the Enchanted Mountain (Mapmakers #2) by Cameron Chittock and Amanda Castillo
What new books made it onto your shelf recently?
My family and I have been enjoying the second season of Schmigadoon! otherwise known as Schmicago. And my husband and I are loving the new season of Ted Lasso. I have also seen a few episodes of Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story and am hooked. All three of these shows take me to a happy place when I am watching them.
We are all caught up with The Mandalorian, a favorite show of ours. That season finale was sure intense and very well done! My family and I decided to rewatch the first season of Shadow and Bone before venturing into the second, which we just started.
This past month I watched The Winchesters, a prequel spinoff series to Supernatural. The show has a great cast of characters and I really enjoyed the 1970's setting.
We ventured out to the movie theater last month to see the Super Mario Brothers movie. I admit I liked it more than I thought I would. Our family enjoys playing the Nintendo Mario Kart game together and it was fun to see some familiar sights.
What have you watched recently?
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