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.
I am sitting here on the couch listening to the summer rain outside. This area went from a heat wave most of the week with temperatures well into the 100's to cooler rainy weather this weekend. Before that a tropical storm blew through, bringing record amounts of rain. My part of the state wasn't hit as hard as others, fortunately, but we were prepared just in case.
My reading has felt off these past few months, and I am hoping September will be different. I want to try to complete a few books I have been in the middle of for awhile now and hopefully squeeze in a few I really want to read but haven't been able to make time for.
What have you been up to?
I currently am reading Lodestar (Keeper of the Lost Cities #5) by Shannon Messenger, deciding it was time to jump back into my daughter's favorite series. It doesn't feel like it's been as long as it has since I last visited the elven world of Sophie and her friends. Lodestar is a nice change of pace when I need a break from Colson Whitehead's The Nickel Boys, which I am also reading at the moment. I hope to follow it up with Erin Kimmerle's The Bones We Carry: The Search for Justice at the Dozier School for Boys, which is a nonfiction account of events at the school at the center of Whitehead's novel.
I thought I would try another audiobook and started listening to The Hating Game by Sally Thorne last weekend because I was in the mood for romance. Hopefully it won't take me months to listen to like it took me with the last audiobook I read.
I haven't touched my nonfiction book (Untangled by Lisa Damour) and the two short story anthologies (Reader, I Married Him edited by Tracy Chevalier and Into the Woods by Kim Harrison) I am making my way through in over a month. I really must get back to them this month. I assure you it isn't the books; it's all me and my mercurial reading moods. I hardly read anything in July and I spent too much time trying to read a book in August that I should have given up on sooner.
What book are you reading at the moment?
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! Which of these three books do you think I should read next? They are all very different from one another, and I will be curious to see which one gets the most votes. All three sound good to me! Have you read any of them? If so, what did you think?
A curmudgeonly professor journeys to a small town in the far north to study faerie folklore and discovers dark fae magic, friendship, and love, in this heartwarming and enchanting fantasy.
Cambridge professor Emily Wilde is good at many things: She is the foremost expert on the study of faeries. She is a genius scholar and a meticulous researcher who is writing the world's first encyclopaedia of faerie lore. But Emily Wilde is not good at people. She could never make small talk at a party--or even get invited to one. And she prefers the company of her books, her dog, Shadow, and the Fair Folk to other people.
So when she arrives in the hardscrabble village of Hrafnsvik, Emily has no intention of befriending the gruff townsfolk. Nor does she care to spend time with another new arrival: her dashing and insufferably handsome academic rival Wendell Bambleby, who manages to charm the townsfolk, get in the middle of Emily's research, and utterly confound and frustrate her.
But as Emily gets closer and closer to uncovering the secrets of the Hidden Ones--the most elusive of all faeries--lurking in the shadowy forest outside the town, she also finds herself on the trail of another mystery: Who is Wendell Bambleby, and what does he really want? To find the answer, she'll have to unlock the greatest mystery of all--her own heart. [Goodreads Summary]
Nothing brings an estranged family together like a murder next door.
A lighthearted whodunnit about a grandmother-mother-daughter trio of amateur sleuths. Think: Gilmore Girls, but with murder.
“Mother-Daughter Murder Night is the perfect mix of family drama and murder mystery.” — Kellye Garrett, award-winning author of Like a Sister
High-powered businesswoman Lana Rubicon has a lot to be proud of: her keen intelligence, impeccable taste, and the L.A. real estate empire she’s built. But when she finds herself trapped 300 miles north of the city, convalescing in a sleepy coastal town with her adult daughter Beth and teenage granddaughter Jack, Lana is stuck counting otters instead of square footage—and hoping that boredom won’t kill her before the cancer does.
Then Jack—tiny in stature but fiercely independent—happens upon a dead body while kayaking. She quickly becomes a suspect in the homicide investigation, and the Rubicon women are thrown into chaos. Beth thinks Lana should focus on recovery, but Lana has a better idea. She’ll pull on her wig, find the true murderer, protect her family, and prove she still has power.
With Jack and Beth’s help, Lana uncovers a web of lies, family vendettas, and land disputes lurking beneath the surface of a community populated by folksy conservationists and wealthy ranchers. But as their amateur snooping advances into ever-more dangerous territory, the headstrong Rubicon women must learn to do the one thing they’ve always resisted: depend on each other. [Goodreads Summary]
In Traci Wilton's second cozy mystery featuring a new sleuth on the Salem scene, when widowed B&B owner Charlene Morris discovers the dead body of a local Wiccan on Halloween, she and her charming ghostly partner must help the local Salem, Massachusetts, coven to find the killer.
Halloween is the biggest holiday of the year in Salem, Massachusetts--but when B&B owner Charlene Morris finds the dead body of a witch, it spells trouble...
Charlene, recently widowed, has renovated her historic mansion just in time to greet guests arriving for the town's annual Halloween festivities. She's lucky to have a helpful staff to provide support--as well as a handsome ghost named Jack standing invisibly by her side.
Unfortunately, while the revelers head out on haunted tours, have their fortunes told, or grab a drink at Brews and Broomsticks, a killer walks among them. When Charlene discovers Morganna, a local Wiccan, dead in her shop, she starts getting cozy with the local coven, looking for clues to locate the crafty culprit. Salem may be famous for the false accusations of witchery in centuries past, but this time someone is genuinely guilty--of murder... [Goodreads Summary]
Thank you to everyone who voted in last month's TBR List Poll. I eagerly dove into the winning book, Jenny Colgan's Welcome to the School by the Sea, but alas, it wasn't meant to be. It's been ages since I decided to DNF a book, but I could not get past the fat shaming/fat phobia. If it had just been a case of mean girls picking on one child and then learning a lesson in the end, I might have been able to tolerate it, but the attitude carried over to other characters (the teachers) as well who should have known better. It was too frequent and too much for me and kept pulling me out of the story. It's disappointing because I have enjoyed Colgan's work in the past. The setting was lovely and the book had sounded so promising. In reading some of the reviews on Goodreads about the book, I know I am not alone in my issues with this one, but I also know some people really enjoyed it. Welcome to the School by the Sea just was not for me.
Kensington, 2023; 304 pgs
Source: NetGalley (all thoughts are my own)
The day was just exactly the sort Edwina Davenport most loved. ~ Opening of Murder at a London Finishing School
I bumped up Murder at a London Finishing School in my TBR, the second runner up in August's poll, and am so happy I did. Although this was the 7th book in the series, it was my first introduction to Edwina and Beryl. Set just after World War I, the enquiry agent team of the prim and proper British Edwina Davenport and the American adventuress Beryl Halliwell, are hired by the headmistress of their former alma mater to uncover who is behind the mysterious happenings at Miss Dupont's Finishing School. Neither women really want to return to their old stomping grounds of the school, but they do not feel like they can refuse.
Someone appears to be sabotaging the school--there have been strange sounds at night and items are being misplaced, if not outright stolen. And in the midst of all that a former classmate of Edwina and Beryl's is found dead on the school's property. A murder at the school would be ruinous to its reputation.
The school has already been suffering business-wise, from having had to shut down during the war and then with the changing climate after as interest in schools like Dupont's Finishing School diminish all over. Author Jessica Ellicott adeptly weaves the shifting culture of the times within her story. Not to mention she has created a cast of characters with interesting backgrounds and possible motives, and a mystery that kept me guessing right up to the end.
Coming into the series late can be risky, but this was a great way to get to know the characters and their backgrounds, getting to see where they met and glimpsing some of their childhood memories. Edwina and Beryl are very capable and intelligent women, each with their own strengths. They work well together and make a great team. This was an easygoing mystery with plenty of intrigue. I hope to read more of this series in the future.
Challenges Met: Cruisin' with the Cozies / Historical Fiction Reading Challenge / COYER
Del Rey, 2021; 389 pgs
Source: Own TBR
Keep far away from Orion Lake. ~ Opening of The Last Graduate
I really enjoyed the first in the trilogy, A Deadly Education, and had high hopes for The Last Graduate. I was not disappointed. It is hard to review a middle book of a trilogy, especially if one is trying to avoid spoilers, and so I will not offer much about the plot here. El has always been an outcast, especially given the nature of the magic she wields. But she is not without friends in her final year at the Scholomance. And she will need everyone of them if they are all to survive the deadly graduation ritual that is known to claim students lives. If you like fantasy novels with intricate world building, school settings, and plenty of monsters to fight, you will enjoy this series. I have really enjoyed seeing El's growth as a person over the course of the first two books, and even more so in this second installment. This one was hard to put down. I will offer you one spoiler: the ending is a huge cliffhanger. I came very close to starting the next book right away, but am holding off, torturing myself for some odd reason I can't explain. I probably won't wait much longer though. I have to know what happens!
Challenges Met: Mount TBR / Backlist Reading Challenge / COYER
Sourcebooks for Young Readers, 2015; 257 pgs
Source: Own TBR
Sometimes spying on low-level royals can be so boring. ~ Opening of Flunked
I picked this fairytale themed middle grade novel up at the height of my daughter's interest in fairytale retellings, thinking she might like it. She has not yet read it--but I do think she would enjoy it. I know I did.
Twelve year old Gilly would do anything for her family, and that includes stealing so her brothers and sisters have enough food. Her father's shoe business hasn't been doing so well since the fairy god mother started making glass slippers. Gilly is an excellent thief--at least until she gets caught and sent to the Fairy Tale Reform School run by Princess Ella's Wicked Stepmother. The teachers at the school are all former villains, now reformed. Remember the Big Bad Wolf, and the Evil Queen? Or the siren who tried to ruin the Little Mermaid's life? The promise of the school is to reform children who are on the path to villainy and turn them into heroes. But can villains really change?
It turns out reform school isn't at all what Gilly expected, and she quickly learns that not everything is quite what it may seem. Joined by her new friends, Jax and Kayla, among others, Gilly finds herself at the center of a wicked plan--and they the only ones who can put a stop to it.
Gilly is the kind of character I think my daughter would really like. She may be a thief, but it is hard not to understand why she does it. The Royals have everything and the commoners have hardly anything. Her family is poor and struggling. She loves her family and is very loyal to them. She is surrounded by friends with complex backgrounds of their own. There are funny moments as well as thoughtful ones, and plenty of action and suspense throughout the novel. Anyone who is familiar with the original fairytales may recognize some of the characters, and hopefully will enjoy this fresh take on them. I know I did. I especially was interested in the world building. Happily ever after for the ruling princesses and royal class clearly isn't a happily ever after for everyone else, and it is nice to see that side explored more. Not to mention, I enjoy a story in which unexpected heroes rise to the occasion. I am be curious to see where the author takes this series.
Challenges Met: Mount TBR / Backlist Reading Challenge / COYER
New to my shelves:
My favorite local independent bookstore finally opened it's doors at the new location in mid-August and you can bet I was there on the first day. The owner and her staff had not expected to be closed for months, but the transition took much longer than expected. In order to show support and help keep them in business (even as small as my contribution might be), I have been buying books from them online. I was able to pick up the first part of my order (and a couple other books) while there:
Rubicon by J.S. Dewes
The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride
Evergreen (Japantown Mystery #2) by Naomi Hirahara
Lunar Love by Lauren Kung Jussen
Freddie vs. the Family Curse by Tracy Badua (Mouse's)
We always follow up a doctor's visit at the hospital with a trip to Barnes and Noble. And this past week was no different. Mouse found several manga novels (not pictured) to add to her collection and a thriller (pictured below). I couldn't resist getting a book for myself.
In the Time of Our History by Susanne Pari
Secrets Never Die by Vincent Ralph
What new books made it onto your shelf recently?
I recently finished the first season of Imposters about three former marks who discover they were married to the same women, and so they band together to find her. Meanwhile, the con artist, played by Inbar Lavi, is working her latest con. Which goes terribly array. I am enjoying this twisty dark comedy with its mix of suspense. I am looking forward to seeing the second season.
My husband and I are in the middle of the seventh season of Bosch. I continue to be impressed with how well done the show is and how great the casting is. For those who are not familiar with the series, it is based loosely on a Michael Connelly mystery series set in Los Angeles. We plan to watch Bosch: Legacy next.
But before we do that, we will start the third season of Only Murders in the Building, which is such a funny series about three strangers who become friends over their interest in true crime and start their own podcast about murders in--you guessed it--their apartment building.
My family and I are all caught up with Crime Scene Kitchen, a fun baking competition, in which the contestants must guess what they are supposed to make by putting together clues they are given. It is fun to see how close everyone comes to what the actual dessert is supposed to be.
What have you watched recently?
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