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's hard to believe it is already June. May brought the end of the school year for us. The promotion ceremony was very nice. Mouse earned a President's Award for Educational Excellence. Her dad and I are so proud of her and all the hard work she's put in. We were sorry my mom could not be there, but she is still in Washington with my Great Aunt and her partner. There is good news on that front though. My Great Aunt is doing well and expected to get out of rehab this coming week.
We went to a minor league baseball game last weekend. It was supposed to be a late Mother's Day present for my mom, but since she's out of town, we took one of Mouse's friends instead. The girls weren't really interested in the game, but they had a good time hanging out together. The home team won--yay! We followed up after the game with a trip to Barnes and Noble (because of course we did!) and dinner at Red Robin. It made for a nice day.
It has turned into a lovely day today. Not too warm and not too cool. Mouse and her Girl Scout troop spent the afternoon at the nearby Air Reserve Base passing out donated Girl Scout cookies to the local troops. One of the service people offered to take them on a tour and they got to see a Reaper drone up close. The girls enjoyed being able to offer a small token of thanks to the troops who serve the country.
In between all this, it's been work as usual.
What have you been up to lately?
I just started reading Ashley Weaver's Playing It Safe, the third book in the Electra McDonnell series. I enjoyed the first two books in this historical mystery/espionage series and have high hopes for this one too.
When I finished the first book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series by Shannon Messenger (see my thoughts below in Mouse's Corner), my daughter set copies of the next two books on my desk so I could start them right away. I'm just so excited she's finally letting me read her favorite series! I am well into the second book in the series, Exile.
It has been awhile since I last picked up a nonfiction book and decided to start Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour. I haven't read a lot of parenting books, but this one came highly recommended by several different sources.
What are you reading at the moment?
I recently came across Sue's Big Book Summer Challenge and am going to take part in it this year. The challenge is to read one or two or however many books a person wants that are over 400 pages long. I have a few books I am considering for this, but haven't quite settled on them yet. The challenge lasts from May 25th to September 4th. Check out Sue's blog, Book By Book, for the details and to sign up!
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 am in the mood for historical fiction, and, when looking over my shelves, these three popped out above the rest. Which of these three books do you think I should read next? Have you read any of them? If so, what did you think?
In post–World War I England, a young woman inherits a mysterious library and must untangle its powerful secrets…
With the stroke of a pen, twenty-three-year-old Ivy Radcliffe becomes Lady Hayworth, owner of a sprawling estate on the Yorkshire moors. Ivy has never heard of Blackwood Abbey, or of the ancient bloodline from which she’s descended. With nothing to keep her in London since losing her brother in the Great War, she warily makes her way to her new home.
The abbey is foreboding, the servants reserved and suspicious. But there is a treasure waiting behind locked doors: a magnificent library. Despite cryptic warnings from the staff, Ivy feels irresistibly drawn to its dusty shelves, where familiar works mingle with strange, esoteric texts. And she senses something else in the library too, a presence that seems to have a will of its own.
Rumors swirl in the village about the abbey’s previous owners, about ghosts and curses, and an enigmatic manuscript at the center of it all. And as events grow more sinister, it will be up to Ivy to uncover the library’s mysteries in order to reclaim her own story—before it vanishes forever.
Lush, atmospheric and transporting, The Last Heir to Blackwood Library is a skillful reflection on memory and female agency, and a love letter to books from a writer at the height of her power. [Goodreads Summary]
I am a Weyward, and wild inside.2019: Under cover of darkness, Kate flees London for ramshackle Weyward Cottage, inherited from a great aunt she barely remembers. With its tumbling ivy and overgrown garden, the cottage is worlds away from the abusive partner who tormented Kate. But she begins to suspect that her great aunt had a secret. One that lurks in the bones of the cottage, hidden ever since the witch-hunts of the 17th century.1619: Altha is awaiting trial for the murder of a local farmer who was stampeded to death by his herd. As a girl, Altha’s mother taught her their magic, a kind not rooted in spell casting but in a deep knowledge of the natural world. But unusual women have always been deemed dangerous, and as the evidence for witchcraft is set out against Altha, she knows it will take all of her powers to maintain her freedom.1942: As World War II rages, Violet is trapped in her family's grand, crumbling estate. Straitjacketed by societal convention, she longs for the robust education her brother receives––and for her mother, long deceased, who was rumored to have gone mad before her death. The only traces Violet has of her are a locket bearing the initial W and the word weyward scratched into the baseboard of her bedroom.Weaving together the stories of three extraordinary women across five centuries, Emilia Hart's Weyward is an enthralling novel of female resilience and the transformative power of the natural world. [Goodreads Summary]
A spellbinding tale about two daring women who hunt for truth and justice in the perilous art of conjuring the dead.1873. At an abandoned château on the outskirts of Paris, a dark séance is about to take place, led by acclaimed spiritualist Vaudeline D’Allaire. Known worldwide for her talent in conjuring the spirits of murder victims to ascertain the identities of the people who killed them, she is highly sought after by widows and investigators alike.Lenna Wickes has come to Paris to find answers about her sister’s death, but to do so, she must embrace the unknown and overcome her own logic-driven bias against the occult. When Vaudeline is beckoned to England to solve a high-profile murder, Lenna accompanies her as an understudy. But as the women team up with the powerful men of London’s exclusive Séance Society to solve the mystery, they begin to suspect that they are not merely out to solve a crime, but perhaps entangled in one themselves… [Goodreads Summary]
Thank you for voting! What will you be reading next?
Killers of a Certain Age was a bit different than other books by Deanna Raybourn, but I was no less excited to read it. Who wouldn't with a description like the one above?! Billie, Mary Alice, Natalie, and Helen were the first all female assassin team, known as the Sphinxes, working for an organization that originally got its start going after Nazis and later other people deemed to be a threat to social justice. Now their employer has invited them on an all expense paid cruise to celebrate their retirement, but nothing is ever quite what it seems, is it? The four women are lounging on the deck of the ship one minute and on the run the next, in this clever thriller. Just why did the organization turn on them and how can they save themselves?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. [Goodreads Summary]
The author takes the reader back and forth between the past and present, sharing how each of the women became the skilled assassins they are and their current predicament. They aren't sure who they can trust, if anyone, other than each other. They draw on all their experience and prove that the old school ways can be just as effective today as they were back then.
Witty and tension filled, Killers of a Certain Age was an enjoyable read. Perhaps with more aches and body creaks than they once had, the four heroines in the novel are nothing to be trifled with. While the mystery behind the who and why did not come as a complete surprise, I enjoyed it just the same. The backstories of the characters were interesting, and one of the strengths of the novel was the relationships between the women.
Thank you to everyone who voted for this book in my May TBR List Poll!
Challenges Met: Mount TBR / COYER
Put the kettle on, there’s a mystery brewing…
Tea-shop owner. Matchmaker. Detective? [Goodreads Summary]
Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers was such a fun read! It was heartwarming, laugh out loud funny and charming wrapped in a well thought out mystery. Vera Wong's tea shop has seen better days. She is a 60 year old widow with an adult son who is too busy to take much time out for her. And only one regular customer. One morning, she comes downstairs from her living quarters into the shop and discovers a dead body. In anticipation of the police, she makes tea and prepares for their arrival. Vera is sure the man was murdered but the police aren't so certain. Vera comes to the conclusion that she can do a better job in finding the killer than the police.
Vera befriends her suspects as only Vera can, over tea and a little mothering, which they all seem to be in need of. The mystery is told from the point of view of several different characters, including Vera, a format that works very well for this novel. All of the characters (except the victim) are relatable, none of whom I wanted to be guilty but whom all had motives. Vera is really the heart of the novel, which, of course, will come as no surprise. I forgive author Jesse Q. Sutanto for putting off the next Aunties book to write this one. It's my favorite of hers yet.
Challenges Met: Cruisin' with the Cozies / COYER
Have you read either of these books? If so, what did you think?
I can see why my daughter enjoyed this book so much. Sophie doesn't really fit in among the humans and stands out even amongst the elves. She is insecure and smart. That makes her a very relatable character. Although, she does feel a bit more at home in the elven world ultimately--developing strong friendships and attending a school that focuses on helping her better understand and hone her special abilities. There are life endangering moments, not so well kept secrets as well as some that are tightly kept, interesting creatures, and the typical tween drama (bullying, crushes, and angst).
Keeper of the Lost Cities was cute and kept me entertained. There is something to be said about elves with varying abilities--what I might call magic, but they think of more as science. There are gnomes and goblins too. Shannon Messenger put a lot of thought into her world--and it was fun to step into the world she's created. I admit I did laugh when I first came across a dinosaur, and the novel suffers from all the significant characters being exceptionally good-looking, which always makes me cringe. While I might not be as enamored with this book as my daughter is, I did like it and am interested in seeing where this series will take me next.
Challenges Met: Mount TBR / Backlist / Big Books Summer
Have you read this middle grade novel and series?
When I asked Mouse if there was anything special she wanted to do to celebrate the end of the school year, she immediately said she wanted to go to Barnes and Noble. I wasn't going to complain! We made another trip to the bookstore last weekend after the baseball game. These are our combined finds from the trips:
Deenie by Judy Blume
Curse of the Night Witch (Emblem Island #1) by Alex Aster
The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson
Serafina and the Black Cloak (#1) by Robert Beatty
Sasaki and Miyano, Vol. 1 by Shou Harusono
Toilet-bound Hanako-kun, Vol. 0 by AidaIro
The Savior's Book Café Story in Another World, Vol. 2 by Kyouka Izumi, Oumiya, and Reiko Sakurada
King of Scars (#1) by Leigh Bardugo
Rule of Wolves (King of Scars #2) by Leigh Bardugo
Legends & Lattes (#1) by Travis Baldree
Atalanta by Jennifer Saint
Juniper & Thorn by Ava Reid
What new books made it onto your shelf recently?
I finally caught up and finished Dead to Me. I love Christina Applegate in general and she does such a good job in the series. I think my favorite character though is Judy, played by Linda Cardellini. It's a fairly dark comedy, and very well done.
I took the plunge and watched the post-apocalyptic series Sweet Tooth. My daughter said the main character Gus reminds her of a couple of the anime characters she and I love for his innocence and seeing the good in others. I have not read the original comic book series and so am not able to compare the two. I like the show, although cannot say I love it.
My family and I watched the finale of Ted Lasso. The third and final season has gotten some criticism, but I enjoyed it overall. It's such an uplifting show and seeing the characters grow and their relationships evolve over the course of the series was among the best parts of it. A person does not have to be a soccer or sports fan to appreciate the show.
We are diving back into the X-Files, slowly making our way through season one after having stalled for a little while there--too interested in other things.
Have you watched any of these shows? What have you watched recently?
I hope you have a great week! Let me know what you have been up to!
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