Saturday, October 07, 2023

Weekly Mews: September's Bookish Mewsings on The Hating Game and Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries / TBR Tarot Cards to the Rescue

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.  

This past week the heat advisories started up again after a few days of much welcome cooler weather. It's not unusual for this time of year to be warm. The surprise was the rain and lower temperatures. Summer is always reluctant to let fall have her way. I believe it's supposed to get cooler again soon--fingers crossed! 

We went with friends to see a local high school production of the musical Little Shop of Horrors last month. The teens put on a great show. We followed it up with a late dinner together, which was a nice way to close out the evening. 

Girl Scouts is in full swing. Mouse spent the day with her troop working on a journey badge all today, in fact. She's had activities almost every weekend. Next weekend there's a bird walk and trail clean up. Last weekend we visited the local no-kill animal shelter with her troop and got to socialize with the cats (my favorite part--I wanted to bring a couple of the kitties home so badly--if only I could!). I think most of the girls would have preferred to play with the puppies, but the puppies were at a Suicide Prevention Walk event in town, hoping to be adopted.

My mom's Masquer's Club put on a program for their community and the general public about the history of music in honor of International Day of Older Persons. The skit they started off with about seniors and computers was so funny. Don't underestimate someone's ability based on their age. My favorite part was my mom's presentation on Buddy Holly and his influence on music. She wore a pink poodle skirt, a Pink Lady's jacket, and, of course, saddle shoes. The entire program was informative and a lot of fun. The audience enjoyed singing along to all the featured songs.

A couple months or so ago my father-in-law was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer. He went through intensive radiation treatment in August for cancer found on his brain and began immunotherapy this past month. His condition took a turn for the worse, however, and he passed away a week ago Friday, surrounded by family. my father-in-law always seemed to have a smile for everyone and never hesitated to offer help when he saw someone in need. He led a full life and was well loved. It's been a difficult time to say the least, but we are holding onto the many memories we have of him.

I am currently going back and forth between a middle grade fantasy novel, Nightfall (Keeper of the Lost Cities #6) by Shannon Messenger, and a cozy mystery, Mrs. Morris and the Witch (Salem B&B #2) by Traci Milton. 

Nightfall is proving to be a bit slower of a read for me than the earlier books in the series, and, while I could blame it on its size, it may be because there's been less action in it so far. But even more likely it is because I have been focusing on other books. Last I checked in with Sophie yesterday, she was meeting with the ogre king, hoping to form an unlikely alliance and get the next clue to finding her human parents who were kidnapped by the Neverseen. 

I am only a couple chapters into Mrs. Morris and the Witch. It's the second in the series and a perfect read for this time of year. The characters and I just finished the ghost tour on Halloween night and have stumbled upon a dead body. I imagine things are about to heat up quite a bit now! 

What are you reading right now?

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 had my daughter pull one of my TBR Tarot cards at random to help me settle on a theme for this month. The instructions on the card read: 
Choose a book . . . 
which has a yellow cover
Evidently I have quite a few books with yellow covers! It wasn't too hard to narrow down my choices to three however. Okay, so maybe a little. These are the three that sound most appealing to me at the moment.  Now I need your help deciding which one of these I should read next!

Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn
A wise and witty new novel that echoes with timely questions about love, career, reconciling with the past, and finding your path while knowing your true worth.

Longtime personal assistant Georgie Mulcahy has made a career out of putting others before herself. When an unexpected upheaval sends her away from her hectic job in L.A. and back to her hometown, Georgie must confront an uncomfortable truth: her own wants and needs have always been a disconcertingly blank page.

But then Georgie comes across a forgotten artifact—a “friendfic” diary she wrote as a teenager, filled with possibilities she once imagined. To an overwhelmed Georgie, the diary’s simple, small-scale ideas are a lifeline—a guidebook for getting started on a new path.

Georgie’s plans hit a snag when she comes face to face with an unexpected roommate—Levi Fanning, onetime town troublemaker and current town hermit. But this quiet, grouchy man is more than just his reputation, and he offers to help Georgie with her quest. As the two make their way through her wishlist, Georgie begins to realize that what she truly wants might not be in the pages of her diary after all, but right by her side—if only they can both find a way to let go of the pasts that hold them back.

Honest and deeply emotional,
Georgie, All Along is a smart, tender must-read for everyone who’s ever wondered about the life that got away . . . [Goodreads Summary]

The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #1) by Laurie R. King

In 1915, Sherlock Holmes is retired and quietly engaged in the study of honeybees in Sussex when a young woman literally stumbles onto him on the Sussex Downs. Fifteen years old, gawky, egotistical, and recently orphaned, the young Mary Russell displays an intellect to impress even Sherlock Holmes.

Under his reluctant tutelage, this very modern, twentieth-century woman proves a deft protégée and a fitting partner for the Victorian detective. They are soon called to Wales to help Scotland Yard find the kidnapped daughter of an American senator, a case of international significance with clues that dip deep into Holmes's past.

Full of brilliant deduction, disguises, and danger, The Beekeeper's Apprentice , the first book of the Mary Russell–Sherlock Holmes mysteries.
[Goodreads Summary]

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang
Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars: same year at Yale, same debut year in publishing. But Athena's a cross-genre literary darling, and June didn't even get a paperback release. Nobody wants stories about basic white girls, June thinks.

So when June witnesses Athena's death in a freak accident, she acts on impulse: she steals Athena's just-finished masterpiece, an experimental novel about the unsung contributions of Chinese laborers to the British and French war efforts during World War I.

So what if June edits Athena's novel and sends it to her agent as her own work? So what if she lets her new publisher rebrand her as Juniper Song--complete with an ambiguously ethnic author photo? Doesn't this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller? That's what June claims, and the New York Times bestseller list seems to agree.

But June can't get away from Athena's shadow, and emerging evidence threatens to bring June's (stolen) success down around her. As June races to protect her secret, she discovers exactly how far she will go to keep what she thinks she deserves.

With its totally immersive first-person voice,
Yellowface takes on questions of diversity, racism, and cultural appropriation not only in the publishing industry but the persistent erasure of Asian-American voices and history by Western white society. R. F. Kuang's novel is timely, razor-sharp, and eminently readable. [Goodreads Summary]

Thank you for voting!

I am very pleased with all the books I read in September. I finished Lodestar, the fifth book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series by Shannon Messenger, toward the beginning of the month. My daughter refuses to give me spoilers when I ask, but I keep trying. And then there were the two books I read as part of my fiction/nonfiction pairing goal. I will be posting my thoughts on Erin Kimmerle's We Carry Their Bones: The Search for Justice at the Dozier School for Boys and Colson Whitehead's The Nickel Boys in the near future. Reading the two books back to back made for a richer reading experience. I need to do that more often!

The Hating Game
by Sally Thorne, narrated by Katie Schorr
(HarperAudio, 2016)
I have a theory. ~ Opening of The Hating Game
I actually finished an audiobook in under a month! Barely, admittedly, but I managed it. More time driving last month made that possible. Anyway, you want to know what I thought of the book. Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman work together at the publishing firm of Bexley & Gamin as assistants to the head executives. Lucy and Joshua hate each other (or so they think) and go out of their way to get a rise out of each other. HR is very familiar with their rivalry given the number of complaints they've received. And now they are both up for the same promotion . . .

The Hating Game is an enemy to lovers romance at its core with a few other well known romance tropes mixed in as well. I found the novel to be a bit too predictable, and, as much as I liked Lucy, she could be really oblivious about Joshua sometimes. I guess that's kind of how it goes in real life sometimes though. We get so caught up in our own stuff, we can't always see what's right in front of us.  Joshua definitely grew on me the more I got to know him--just as he did for Lucy. The two have a lot of chemistry and compliment each other well, which is definite must in a romance like this.

Even though I did not love this novel, I did enjoy it and thought it was funny and charming. The ending was very satisfying. Not wrapped up perfectly with a bow, but just enough to leave me satisfied and smiling, knowing Joshua and Lucy will have a good life together. Katie Schorr proved to be an excellent narrator for the audio version of the book. 

I made the mistake of watching the movie version of the book right after finishing it. Remind me next time to put a few days, if not months, between the book and movie. I can easily enjoy a movie based on a book on its own merit generally, even while making comparisons, but I find it harder to do when I still have the book so fresh in my mind. Because then I notice everything.

I have no complaints about the cast. Lucy Hale made a good Lucy Hutton. And while Austin Stowell was not who I pictured as Joshua, he did not disappoint. I liked the Danny version (played by Damon Daunno) in the movie more than the character in the book. The filmmakers held onto many of the more significant elements from the book but often with changes in timing or details.  I did not mind some of the changes, but others I wasn't so happy with. The movie version had added a conflict which did not occur in the book--most likely to make it more climactic for the screen, which impacted the ending. I didn't like it (my poor husband heard all about it).  All in all, I liked the book much better and was sorely disappointed in the film. Would I have felt the same way had I not just finished the book? Unfortunately, we will never know. 

Challenges Met: Backlist, Mount TBR

Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries (#1) by Heather Fawcett (Del Rey, 2023; Fantasy, 320 pgs) 
Source: from the publisher via NetGalley; all opinions are my own.
Shadow is not at all happy with me. ~ Opening of Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries 
Thank you to everyone who voted in September's TBR Poll. Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries was the hand's down winner and it was a winner for me too.
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 the start of a heartwarming and enchanting new fantasy series. [Goodreads Summary]
I am not sure what I expected going into this novel, but the novel turned out to be so much more that whatever I imagined. I couldn't help but think of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (and not just because of the footnotes). The two books couldn't be more different and yet they reminded me of each other. Perhaps it was in the way Mr. Norrell was the mentor to Jonathan Strange just as Wendell Bambleby is sort of a mentor (and rival) to Emily Wilde. Or the depth of study that went into their fields (for one magic and the other faeries). Whatever it was, I loved every minute of Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries and cannot wait to read more.

Emily Wilde isn't the warmest person. As described in the summary above, she's quite curmudgeonly. But very intelligent and resourceful--at least when it comes to getting out of tight spots. Having traveled to a small village called Hrafnsvik in Arctic Norway for the winter, she hopes to study the local faeries and finish her book. She keeps to herself mostly and at first refuses to lean on the locals for help of any kind, much to their consternation. She is more comfortable in working with the Folk, or faeries, studying their ways and learning as much as she can about them. The last thing she wants is for her rival and colleague Wendell Bambleby to show up, but show up he does. His charm and easygoing nature immediately endear him to the townsfolk and their hosts. His lack of focus and laziness only serve to annoy Emily more. She finds she needs his help more than she wants to admit, especially the more she uncovers about the Hidden Ones, the mysterious faeries who live in the forest outside of the village. I enjoyed the banter between Wendell and Emily quite a bit. I cannot forget to mention Shadow! Emily's dog is perhaps one of my most favorite characters. 

The world building is amazing. The folklore about faeries is extremely detailed and well researched, and the author weaves it seamlessly into her story. I enjoyed getting to know the town folk. The setting itself was a character of it's own, a small Norwegian village in the early 1900's and its surrounding forest and land. Most of the novel is written from Emily's perspective in epistolary style, taken from her journal, and this format worked very well. It was easy to forget I was reading a journal entry. I am glad I finally got the chance to read this book. Heather Fawcett's novel had so many qualities I love wrapped up in one. It was a charming historical fantasy with a touch of the dark, a hint of romance, and quite a bit of mystery and intrigue.

Challenges Met: Historical Fiction Reading Challenge/COYER

Have you read these books? If so, what did you think?

New to my shelves:

Monsters We Defy by Leslye Penelope
Scarlet (#1)  by Genevieve Cogman

Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook, Ko Hyung-Ju, and Ryan Estrada
Lavender House (#1) by Lev A.C. Rosen

The Bookstore Sisters by Alice Hoffman
Finding Me by Viola Davis
Shanghai Immortal (#1) by A.Y. Chao
Ghost 19 by Simone St. James
The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab
The Thursday Murder Club (#1) by Richard Osman

New to Mouse's shelves

Creatures of the In Between by Cindy Lin
The Jules Verne Prophecy by Larry Schwarz and Iva-Marie Palmer

Mr. Villain's Day Off, Volume 1 by Yuu Morikawa
Ghost Book by Remy Lai

Finch House by Ciera Burch
Hooky, Volume 3 by Míriam Bonastre Tur
The Lost Library by Rebecca Stead and Wendy Mass

What new books made it onto your shelf recently? 

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.


  1. It has cooled off here. It is 39 right now. Yikes!

    I am so sorry to hear about your husband's father. All my prayers and best wishes to you.

    I am so glad Encylopedia of Faeries was good. I can't wait to read it!

    1. Greg - Brrr! I hope you are finding ways to stay warm. Thank you for your condolences and for stopping by.

  2. I'm so sorry for your family's loss.
    I love the cover for Encyclopaedia of Faeries, and the book sounds great as well.

    1. Maree - I really like the cover of Fawcett's book too. It was very good! Thank you for the condolences and for visiting.

  3. So sorry for your loss.

    I know there was at least one Keeper book that took forever to get going, but was eventually worth it. I definitely feel like they could be trimmed some. But I still enjoy the books.

    1. Mark - I wonder if this is the book you felt took forever to get going. It is getting better, just as you said it would. :-) My daughter is excited about the upcoming graphic novel release of the series. She signed up to attend a virtual book tour with the author next month.

      Thank you for the condolences and for stopping by.

  4. That is nice about your moms club that they put on a show like that. Awww about the no-kill animal shelter, I'd be wanting to bring home some of the animals too if I went.
    I am sorry for your loss, sending prayers your way. I hope you have a nice week ahead. It's cooled down here this weekend to where I pulled out my fuzzy robe to wear in the mornings.

    1. Naida - It was a fun program. The Masquer's Club puts on regular programs. They are always informative and entertaining.

      I always want to adopt all the animals when I go to the shelter. I don't think my daughter would have minded us bringing home another cat, but I'm sure Gracie and Nina would have not been happy at all.

      Thank you for your kind words and thoughts. Thank you to for visiting.

  5. I'm sorry to hear about your family's loss. I'm glad he had such a great life and that he helped others so much.

    I haven't read much fantasy but I thought Encyclopaedia of Faeries was a great read. Glad you did, too. And I'm very interested in The Thursday Murder Club, especially when I have seen it compared to No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.

    1. Deb - I keep hearing such good things about The Thursday Murder Club series, and am looking forward to giving it a try. I enjoy Smith's series, so hearing they are similar bodes well for me. :-)

      Thank you for your condolences and for stopping by.

  6. I'm very sorry to hear of the death of your father-in-law. Cancer is such a cruel illness... I also thoroughly enjoyed the Encyclopaedia of Faeries and hope the coming week isn't too hard on your family.

    1. Sarah - Thank you. Yes, cancer is very cruel. I am glad my husband was able to be with his dad in the end, as hard as that was. We are hanging in there. Taking it day by day.

      Emily Wild's Encyclopaedia of Faeries was as good as everyone told me it would be. :-)

      Thank you again for your kind thoughts and for visiting.

  7. Ah the fall routines of Girl Scout activities, Indian summer with cooler nights, and high school productions. The cats would be a no for me with my severe allergy to them. I'm sorry for your loss Wendy. I'm going to read the Emily Wilde book in the next month or so.

    Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

    1. Anne - It's a busy time, that's for sure!

      Fortunately my cat allergy is mild--and thank goodness for allergy medicine! I know it doesn't work as well for everyone though.

      I hope you enjoy Fawcett's book when you read it.

      Thank you for your condolences and for stopping by.

  8. Such a busy week! Lots of great books too. The Little Shop of Horrors production sounds like fun too. Have a great week!

  9. I hope you get some cooler weather soon. I am not a fan of the really warm weather. And I am sorry to hear of the death of your husband's father.
    Those girl scout activities sound like they were fun. As well as that program your mom was part of on the day of the older person.
    Too bad the movie of the Hating Game wasn't as good after you just finished the book.

    I hope you'll have a great week!

    1. Lola - Cooler weather is on its way, thankfully. My daughter really enjoys her time with her Girl Scout Troop and I am glad my mom is so involved in her community. They do a lot of fun things.

      I wanted to like the movie more, but it just didn't live up to the book for me.

      Thank you for your condolences and for visiting.

  10. So sorry for your loss! Loved ones always leave such a hole in your heart when they die. My dad passed away from cancer 5 years ago and I still miss him. Hope this month is a good one for you and your family.

  11. I am so sorry to hear about Anjin's dad and hope you are all doing alright.

    I've heard good things about Viola Davis' memoir and all 3 of your possible books are so good; I had a difficult time deciding which one to vote for so however the vote goes, you'll read a good one.

    1. Helen - Thank you. It's been a difficult time, but we are hanging in there.

      I don't read a lot in the way of celebrity memoirs, but a few have caught my interest and this is the most recent one. Thank you for stopping by!

  12. Sorry to hear about your father-in-law. Sounds like he was a true blessing. I love all of Mouse's spooky looking books. Hope you get lots of reading done this week too. Can't wait to see what yellow book wins.

    1. Barb - Mouse is very into scary books right now. I find them very tempting to read too. :-) Thank you for your condolences.

  13. I'm so sorry to hear about your father in law. My condolences.

  14. I'm so sorry to hear about your father-in-law.
    All of your books for the month look good so I can't wait to see what you end up reading. I love the tarot cards! I bought a set after you shared yours and love using them!

    1. Katherine - I am enjoying the Tarot cards. They've proven very helpful when I'm too indecisive.

      Thank you for your condolences and for visiting.

  15. My condolences for your father-in-law. It’s good that you are remembering the positive things from his life.
    best, mae at

  16. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family on the loss of your father in law. I see several books here that I’ve read and enjoyed and hope that you will too. Have a great week.

  17. So sorry about the tough time around the loss of your father-in-law. What a lovely tribute that you wrote for him!

  18. I'm sorry for your loss! It's never easy to say goodbye.

    Sounds like the girl scouts have a lot of good projects going!

    I was not happy with the film version of The Hating Game either. The cast was good, but the adaptation left a lot to be desired.

    1. Rachel - My daughter's part of a great troop and I love that they are so active.

      I am glad I am not the only one who didn't care for the the film version.

      Thank you for your condolences and for visiting.


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