Saturday, March 02, 2024

Weekly Mewsings: My February Wrap Up and Kicking Off March (Please Vote in my TBR Poll!)

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.  

Are you ready for March? It is here already! I feel a bit out of sorts--so much to do! But first some highlights since my last Sunday post a couple weeks ago. There was the usual work and then some. I got good news at a doctor's visit. There were Girl Scout cookie booths galore. But the best part was going to see The Wiz performed live at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre with my family. It was such a fun show and we had a great time.

Now it's March, which is always a full month for us. A certain someone in our house will officially become a teenager, and there will be lots of celebrating all month long. Cookie Season is coming to an end (thank  goodness--am I allowed to say that?). Mouse didn't meet her personal goal this year, but she is okay with that. Her troop's joint booth sales were good, so it balances out. This month we also have band performances, Girl Scout meetings, doctor's appointments, another couple musical outings, work, school, and spring break (for Mouse, at least). I feel out of breath already. 

I am afraid I have not had time to sit down and polish my final February bookish thoughts for you on my recent reads. They are coming though! Just not this weekend. February was a good reading month for me overall. My plan was to read Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson after finishing Women of the Post, but I was so taken with the women of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, that I jumped right into Charity Adams Earley's memoir, One Woman's Army. An unexpected fiction/nonfiction pairing! Another goal completed. Then when my daughter recommended I read Misfit Mansion after she finished it, I could not say no. It sounded just like the kind of graphic novel I would like--and I did!

Books Read in February
Emily Wilde's Map of the Otherlands was my favorite February read. I love everything about the world building and characters Heather Fawcett has created in the series. The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel was my least favorite. It was more a case of the book not being the best fit for me, but there were things I liked about it, and I think others might too. 

What was your favorite book read in February? Did you have a good reading month?

I will soon be starting Gone with the Witch, the fifth in the Witch Way Librarian Mysteries series by Angela M. Sanders. It's one of my favorite cozy mystery series and I am looking forward to reading the latest installment! 

I am continuing to read Shannon Reed's  Why We Read: On Bookworms, Libraries, and Just One More Page Before Lights Out, which I am slowly making my way through, reading an essay here and there. I have been highlighting passages that I find particularly relatable. Shannon Reed is both a teacher and a reader, and offers her perspective on both experiences as it relates to reading.

I enjoy Ilona Andrews' books and am re-visiting Clean Sweep, the first in the Innkeeper Series, this time in graphic audio format. This is my first graphic audio book--the occasional background music and sound effects took a little getting used to (I found myself looking around to see where that beeping or crash came from), but it certainly adds to the entertainment factor. 

I decided it was time to start a Big Book (one of my reading goals for the year), especially if I want to make my way through it by the end of the year. I hadn't even been thinking about reading David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, but as I looked over my bookshelves, eyeing Barbara Kingsolver's Demon Copperhead, I remembered Kingsolver's novel is inspired by the Dickens' classic. I found myself on Goodreads, reading some of my friends' reviews of David Copperfield. Thanks to Deb, Margaret, and Linda, I decided to give it a try. My plan is to take it slow. Like with many classics I have liked over the years, including other works by Dickens, they aren't the sort of books I find myself able to get through quickly. 

What are you reading right now?

My TBR List is hosted by Michelle at Because Reading. The 1st Saturday of every month, I will list 3 books from my TBR pile 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! These are more recent additions to my TBR which caught my attention as I was looking over my books. I love the covers on all of these (I admit The Book of Doors cover is from the UK version--I like it better than the American one). Mostly, I just really like the sound of them. 

The Book of Doors by Gareth Brown
If you could open a door to anywhere, where would you go?

In New York City, bookseller Cassie Andrews is living an unassuming life when she is given a gift by a favorite customer. It's a book - an unusual book, full of strange writing and mysterious drawings. And at the very front there is a handwritten message to Cassie, telling her that this is the Book of Doors, and that any door is every door.

What Cassie is about to discover is that the Book of Doors is a special book that bestows an extraordinary powers on whoever possesses it, and soon she and her best friend Izzy are exploring all that the Book of Doors can do, swept away from their quiet lives by the possibilities of travelling to anywhere they want.

But the Book of Doors is not the only magical book in the world. There are other books that can do wondrous and dreadful things when wielded by dangerous and ruthless individuals - individuals who crave what Cassie now possesses.

Suddenly Cassie and Izzy are confronted by violence and danger, and the only person who can help them is, it seems, Drummond Fox. He is a man fleeing his own demons - a man with his own secret library of magical books that he has hidden away in the shadows for safekeeping. Because there is a nameless evil out there that is hunting them all . . .

Because some doors should never be opened.
[Goodreads Summary]

The Summer Book Club by Susan Mallery
The rules of summer book club are simple:
• No sad books
• No pressure
• Yessssss, wine!

Besties Laurel and Paris are excited to welcome Cassie to the group. This year, the book club is all about fill-your-heart reads, an escape from the chaos of the everyday—running a business, raising a family, juggling a hundred to-dos. Even the dog is demanding (but the bestest boy).

Since Laurel’s divorce, she feels like the Worst Mom Ever. Her skepticism of men may have scarred her vulnerable daughters. Cassie has an unfortunate habit of falling for ridiculous man-boys who dump her once she fixes them. Paris knows good men exist. She’s still reeling after chasing off the only one brave enough—and foolish enough—to marry her.

Inspired by the heroines who risk everything for fulfillment, Laurel, Paris and Cassie begin to take chances—big chances—in life, in love. Facing an unwritten chapter can be terrifying. But it can be exhilarating, too, if only they can find the courage to change. [Goodreads Summary]

The Heiress by Rachel Hawkins
When Ruby McTavish Callahan Woodward Miller Kenmore dies, she’s not only North Carolina’s richest woman, she’s also its most notorious. The victim of a famous kidnapping as a child and a widow four times over, Ruby ruled the tiny town of Tavistock from Ashby House, her family’s estate high in the Blue Ridge mountains. In the aftermath of her death, that estate—along with a nine-figure fortune and the complicated legacy of being a McTavish—pass to her adopted son, Camden.

But to everyone’s surprise, Cam wants little to do with the house or the money—and even less to do with the surviving McTavishes. Instead, he rejects his inheritance, settling into a normal life as an English teacher in Colorado and marrying Jules, a woman just as eager to escape her own messy past.

Ten years later, Camden is a McTavish in name only, but a summons in the wake of his uncle’s death brings him and Jules back into the family fold at Ashby House. Its views are just as stunning as ever, its rooms just as elegant, but coming home reminds Cam why he was so quick to leave in the first place.

Jules, however, has other ideas, and the more she learns about Cam’s estranged family—and the twisted secrets they keep—the more determined she is for her husband to claim everything Ruby once intended for him to have.

But Ruby’s plans were always more complicated than they appeared. As Ashby House tightens its grip on Jules and Camden, questions about the infamous heiress come to light. Was there any truth to the persistent rumors following her disappearance as a girl? What really happened to those four husbands, who all died under mysterious circumstances? And why did she adopt Cam in the first place? Soon, Jules and Cam realize that an inheritance can entail far more than what’s written in a will—and that the bonds of family stretch far beyond the grave. [Goodreads Summary]

Thank you for voting!

New to my shelves:

The Fox Wife by Yangsze Choo 
Maame by Jessica George 
Bride by Ali Hazelwood
Foolproof by Sander van der Linden

Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes
I Done Clicked My Heels Three Times: Poetry by Taylor Byas
The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez

One Woman's Army: A Black Officer Remembers the WAC by Charity Adams Earley
The Space Between Worlds (#1) by Micaiah Johnson
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

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

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

© 2024, 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.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Waiting to Read Wednesday: Happily Never After / A Great Country / How to Solve Your Own Murder / The Great Zoo of China

The New
Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by the marvelous Tressa at Wishful Endings to spotlight upcoming release we are excited about that we have yet to read.

Happily Never After
by Lynn Painter
Release Date: March 12, 2024 by Berkley
Their name? The objectors.

Their job? To break off weddings as hired.

Their dilemma? They might just be in love with each other.

When Sophie Steinbeck finds out just before her nuptials that her fiancĂ© has cheated yet again, she desperately wants to call it off. But because her future father-in-law is her dad’s cutthroat boss, she doesn’t want to be the one to do it. Her savior comes in the form of a professional objector, whose purpose is to show up at weddings and proclaim the words no couple (usually) wants to hear at their ceremony: “I object!”

During anti-wedding festivities that night, Sophie learns more about Max the Objector’s job. It makes perfect sense to her: he saves people from wasting their lives, from hurting each other. He’s a modern-day hero. And Sophie wants in.

The two love cynics start working together, going from wedding to wedding, and Sophie’s having more fun than she’s had in ages. She looks forward to every nerve-racking ceremony saving the lovesick souls of the betrothed masses. As Sophie and Max spend more time together, however, they realize that their physical chemistry is off the charts, leading them to dabble in a little hookup session or two—but it’s totally fine, because they definitely do not have feelings for each other. Love doesn’t exist, after all.

And then everything changes. A groom-to-be hires Sophie to object, but his fiancĂ©e is the woman who broke Max’s heart. As Max wrestles with whether he can be a party to his ex’s getting hurt, Sophie grapples with the sudden realization that she may have fallen hard for her partner in crime. [Goodreads Summary]
Are wedding objectors for hire a real thing? I don't know, but I imagine this will be a fun rom-com!

A Great Country by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Release Date: March 26, 2024 by Mariner Books
From the New York Times bestselling author, a novel in the tradition of Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere, exploring the ties and fractures of a close-knit Indian-American family in the aftermath of a violent encounter with the police.

Pacific Hills, California: Gated communities, ocean views, well-tended lawns, serene pools, and now the new home of the Shah family. For the Shah parents, who came to America twenty years earlier with little more than an education and their new marriage, this move represents the culmination of years of hard work and dreaming. For their children, born and raised in America, success is not so simple.

For the most part, these differences among the five members of the Shah family are minor irritants, arguments between parents and children, older and younger siblings. But one Saturday night, the twelve-year-old son is arrested. The fallout from that event will shake each family member's perception of themselves as individuals, as community members, as Americans, and will lead each to consider: how do we define success? At what cost comes ambition? And what is our role and responsibility in the cultural mosaic of modern America?

For readers of
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett and Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, A Great Country explores themes of immigration, generational conflict, social class and privilege as it reconsiders the myth of the model minority and questions the price of the American dream. [Goodreads Summary]
This book encompasses many themes I am drawn too--generational conflict and immigration themes among them. I imagine this will be an emotional read for me, and a book I look forward to immersing myself in. 

How to Solve Your Own Murder (Castle Knoll Files #1) by Kristen Perrin
Release Date: March 26, 2024 by Dutton  
For fans of Knives Out and The Thursday Murder Club, an enormously fun mystery about a woman who spends her entire life trying to prevent her foretold murder only to be proven right sixty years later, when she is found dead in her sprawling country estate... Now it's up to her great-niece to catch the killer.

It’s 1965 and teenage Frances Adams is at an English country fair with her two best friends. But Frances’s night takes a hairpin turn when a fortune-teller makes a bone-chilling prediction: One day, Frances will be murdered. Frances spends a lifetime trying to solve a crime that hasn’t happened yet, compiling dirt on every person who crosses her path in an effort to prevent her own demise. For decades, no one takes Frances seriously, until nearly sixty years later, when Frances is found murdered, like she always said she would be.

In the present day, Annie Adams has been summoned to a meeting at the sprawling country estate of her wealthy and reclusive great-aunt Frances. But by the time Annie arrives in the quaint English village of Castle Knoll, Frances is already dead. Annie is determined to catch the killer, but thanks to Frances’s lifelong habit of digging up secrets and lies, it seems every endearing and eccentric villager might just have a motive for her murder. Can Annie safely unravel the dark mystery at the heart of Castle Knoll, or will dredging up the past throw her into the path of a killer?

As Annie gets closer to the truth, and closer to the danger, she starts to fear she might inherit her aunt’s fate instead of her fortune.
[Goodreads Summary]
The title alone was enough to catch my attention, but the synopsis is what is luring me in. It sounds like Frances made a lot of enemies in her attempt to find her future-murderer. I look forward to finding out where this mystery takes me. 

Do any of these books interest you? What upcoming releases are you looking forward to reading?

The Old(er) 
Carole of Carole's Random Life in Books has given me the perfect excuse to spotlight those unread books on my TBR in her Books from the Backlog feature, reminding me what great books I have waiting for me under my own roof still to read!

In January of 2016, I started participating in Michelle's(of Because Reading) TBR List Poll. At the beginning of each month, I list three books from my TBR shelves for you to vote on and I read whichever book wins. Although Michelle no longer runs the feature, I still put up a monthly poll. I need all the help I can get in choosing what book to read next sometimes! Regardless of which book wins, they are all books I want to read. It's just a matter of which ones I get to sooner. Some months I read all three! Most of the time though, I only get to the winner and the remaining two end up back on my TBR to wait their turn. Today I am featuring a book from that very first poll I posted on my blog--that didn't win. Today I am featuring the 2nd place winner The Great Zoo of China. This one has Jurassic Park written all over it.  But set in China. It sounds like it could be exciting. And scary. Perhaps this will be the year I finally read it!

The Great Zoo of China
by Matthew Reilly (Gallery Books, 2014)
It is a secret the Chinese government has been keeping for forty years.

They have found a species of animal no one believed even existed. It will amaze the world.

Now the Chinese are ready to unveil their astonishing discovery within the greatest zoo ever constructed.

A small group of VIPs and journalists has been brought to the zoo deep within China to see its fabulous creatures for the first time.

Among them is Dr Cassandra Jane ‘CJ’ Cameron, a writer for National Geographic and an expert on reptiles.

The visitors are assured by their Chinese hosts that they will be struck with wonder at these beasts, that they are perfectly safe, and that nothing can go wrong.

Of course it can’t…

Have you read The Great Zoo of China?  Does this book sound like something you would like to read? 

© 2024, 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.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Where Is Your Bookmark: A Peek Into Emily Wilde's Map of the Otherlands & Other Friday Fun

I am just about to begin reading Emily Wilde's Map of the Otherlands #2 by Heather Fawcett.  I am so excited! The first book in the series was one of my favorite reads last year. 

A weekly meme where readers share the first sentence of the book they are reading and say what they think. Hosted by the amazing Gillion Dumas of Rose City Reader.

The foot would not fit in my briefcase, so I wrapped it in cloth and wrestled it into an old knapsack I sometimes carry with me on expeditions. [opening of Emily Wilde's Map of the Otherlands]
Already off to a curious start! It isn't everyone who would carry a foot in their bag. 

A weekly meme in which readers share a random sentence or two from page 56 or 56% of the book they are reading. Our wonderful host Freda of Freda's Voice is on a break, and Anne of My Head is Full of Books  has stepped in to host! 

As if it wished to lure me on, the fog parted on the easy path, revealing the mountainous landscape beyond. Most travellers would have surged ahead immediately in order to orient themselves, but I did not trust the behaviour of the fog. I surmised that the path ahead was a faerie door, and what sort of place did it lead to? The mountains I saw through the break in the fog were familiar, and yet something was off about them. [excerpt from 56% of Emily Wilde's Map of the Otherlands]
I have a bad feeling about the situation Emily finds herself in here. Where faeries are concerned, one never knows what will happen next. I have not reached this point in the book, but I look forward to finding out more. 

Emily Wilde's Map of the Otherlands
(#2) by Heather Fawcett
When mysterious faeries from other realms appear at her university, curmudgeonly professor Emily Wilde must uncover their secrets before it’s too late in this heartwarming, enchanting second installment of the Emily Wilde series.

Emily Wilde is a genius scholar of faerie folklore—she just wrote the world’s first comprehensive of encylopaedia of faeries. She’s learned many of the secrets of the Hidden Folk on her adventures . . . and also from her fellow scholar and former rival, Wendell Bambleby.

Because Bambleby is more than infuriatingly charming. He’s an exiled faerie king on the run from his murderous mother, and in search of a door back to his realm. So despite Emily’s feelings for Bambleby, she’s not ready to accept his proposal of marriage. Loving one of the Fair Folk comes with secrets and danger.

And she also has a new project to focus a map of the realms of faerie. While she is preparing her research, Bambleby lands her in trouble yet again, when assassins sent by Bambleby’s mother invade Cambridge. Now Bambleby and Emily are on another adventure, this time to the picturesque Austrian Alps, where Emily believes they may find the door to Bambley’s realm, and the key to freeing him from his family’s dark plans.

But with new relationships for the prickly Emily to navigate and dangerous Folk lurking in every forest and hollow, Emily must unravel the mysterious workings of faerie doors, and of her own heart. [Goodreads Summary]
Does this sound like something you would enjoy? If you have read it, what did you think?

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post where bloggers discuss a wide range of topics from books and blogging to life in general. It is hosted by Linda Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell and Jen from That’s What I’m Talking About. Join in by answering this week's question in the comments or on your own blog.
What is your favorite type of candy?

I have a shameless sweet tooth. I am your stereotypical woman who loves chocolate. My top favorites today (because it changes from time to time) are See's Scotchmallows (dark chocolate covering marshmallows and caramel), Riesens (chocolate-caramel candy covered in dark chocolate), and Dove's dark chocolate squares. Yum!

Do you have a favorite type of candy? 

Every Friday Coffee Addicted Writer from Coffee Addicted Writer poses a question which participants respond on their own blogs within the week (Friday through Thursday). They then share their links at the main site and visit other participants blogs.

How do you organize your bookshelves? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Review)

I like order and, with so many books around the house, I need organized shelves if I want to find a book with relative ease. The shelves in my personal library are divided mostly by genre: fantasy, mystery/suspense/thrillers, fiction (historical, contemporary, romance, literary), poetry, and nonfiction. I also have a bookcase (and giant basket) devoted to Mouse's books in that room (not divided by genre). Within those sections, the books are alphabetized by authors' last names. I keep all the mass market paperbacks on a couple of bookcases in the spare bedroom, which are also alphabetized by authors' last names. In other parts of the house there are bookcases for my family's graphic novel and manga collection. I also have a TBR shelf by my bedside with a mix of books on it. We won't talk about the books in Mouse's room, spilling from the shelves onto the floor, in  no particular order. Although, I think she tries to keep the series together. 

My many e-books are not organized at all. I am afraid I haven't taken the time to figure out how to do that. I really should though just so I can more easily see what I have lost between its covers.

How do you organize your bookshelves?

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Be sure and tell me what you are reading!

© 2024 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.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Waiting to Read Wednesday: I Am Going Book Crazy

The New
Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by the marvelous Tressa at Wishful Endings to spotlight upcoming release we are excited about that we have yet to read.

I try to limit myself to posting at the most two or three upcoming releases I am anticipating, but these five are all high on my wish list and coming out very soon. I can't wait!   

Speculations in Sin
(Kat Holloway/A Below Stairs Mystery #7) by Jennifer Ashley

Release Date: March 5, 2024 by Berkley
To save an innocent man’s life, amateur sleuth and cook Kat Holloway must expose a financial scam that could ruin the most powerful aristocrats in Victorian-era London, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Secret of Bow Lane.

Kat Holloway is distressed to learn that Samuel Millburn, husband of the woman who looks after her daughter, has been accused of embezzling funds from the bank where he works as a clerk. The accusation is absurd, and Samuel’s wife fears that her husband will not only lose his post but be imprisoned. Kat vows to uncover the truth.

When she discovers the bank is involved in shockingly murky business dealings, Kat realizes she’s treading in dangerous waters. She turns to her confidante and handsome suitor, Daniel McAdam, for help. To exonerate Samuel, Kat and Daniel may have to expose the unseemly financial dealings of prominent aristocrats and government officials, and even those working to bring down the royal family. Kat will risk everything to protect the man who has sacrificed so much for her daughter, even if it means endangering herself and the friends she has come to love.
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: From the historical setting to the great cast of characters and always a great mystery, this is one of my favorite series. So of course I will be reading this one! 

The Poisons We Drink
by Bethany Baptiste

Release Date: March 5, 2024 by Sourcebooks Fire 
In a country divided between humans and witchers, Venus Stoneheart hustles as a brewer making illegal love potions to support her family.

Love potions is a dangerous business. Brewing has painful, debilitating side effects, and getting caught means death or a prison sentence. But what Venus is most afraid of is the dark, sentient magic within her.

Then an enemy's iron bullet kills her mother, Venus’s life implodes. Keeping her reckless little sister Janus safe is now her responsibility. When the powerful Grand Witcher, the ruthless head of her coven, offers Venus the chance to punish her mother's killer, she has to pay a steep price for revenge. The cost? Brew poisonous potions to enslave D.C.'s most influential politicians.

As Venus crawls deeper into the corrupt underbelly of her city, the line between magic and power blurs, and it's hard to tell who to trust…Herself included.
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: Potions, magic and revenge . . . How can I resist?!

Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice
(#4) by Elle Cosimano

Release Date: March 5, 2024 by Minotaur Books
Finlay Donovan and her nanny/partner-in-crime Vero are in sore need of a girls’ weekend away. They plan a trip to Atlantic City, but odds are―seeing as it’s actually a cover story to negotiate a deal with a dangerous loan shark, save Vero’s childhood crush Javi, and hunt down a stolen car―it won’t be all fun and games. When Finlay’s ex-husband Steven and her mother insist on tagging along too, Finlay and Vero suddenly have a few too many meddlesome passengers along for the ride.

Within hours of arriving in their seedy casino hotel, it becomes clear their rescue mission is going to be a bust. Javi’s kidnapper, Marco, refuses to negotiate, demanding payment in full in exchange for Javi’s life. But that’s not all―he insists on knowing the whereabouts of his missing nephew, Ike, who mysteriously disappeared. Unable to confess what really happened to Ike, Finlay and Vero are forced to come up with a new plan: sleuth out the location of Javi and the Aston Martin, then steal them both back.

But when they sneak into the loan shark’s suite to search for clues, they find more than they bargained for―Marco's already dead. They don’t have a clue who murdered him, only that they themselves have a very convincing motive. Then four members of the police department unexpectedly show up in town, also looking for Ike―and after Finlay's night with hot cop Nick at the police academy, he’s a little too eager to keep her close to his side.

If Finlay can juggle a jealous ex-husband, two precocious kids, her mother’s marital issues, a decomposing loan shark, and find Vero’s missing boyfriend, she might get out of Atlantic City in one piece. But will she fold under the pressure and come clean about the things she’s done, or be forced to double down?
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: I cannot resist Elle Cosimano's Finlay Donovan series. It may be a bit over the top sometimes, but it's pure fun and I have enjoyed every minute reading the previous books in the series. I look forward to diving into this one. 

Murder Road
by Simone St. James

Release Date: March 5, 2024 by Berkley
A young couple find themselves haunted by a string of gruesome murders committed along an old deserted road in this terrifying new novel.

July 1995. April and Eddie have taken a wrong turn. They’re looking for the small resort town where they plan to spend their honeymoon. When they spot what appears to a lone hitchhiker along the deserted road, they stop to help. But not long after the hitchiker gets into their car, they see the blood seeping from her jacket and a truck barreling down Atticus Line after them.

When the hitchhiker dies at the local hospital, April and Eddie find themselves in the crosshairs of the Coldlake Falls police. Unexplained murders have been happening along Atticus Line for years and the cops finally have two witnesses who easily become their only suspects. As April and Eddie start to dig into the history of the town and that horrible stretch of road to clear their names, they soon learn that there is something supernatural at work, something that could not only tear the town and its dark secrets apart, but take April and Eddie down with it all.
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: I want to read everything Simone St. James writes and her latest will be no exception. Atmospheric, dark, and suspenseful--I am sure I will love this one when I read it. 

Women of Good Fortune
by Sophie Wan

Release Date: March 5, 2024 by Graydon House
Set against a high-society Shanghai wedding, a heartfelt, funny, dazzling novel about a reluctant bride and her two best friends, each with their own motives and fed up with the way society treats women, who forge a plan to steal all the gift money on the big day.

Lulu has always been taught that money is the ticket to a good life. So, when Shanghai’s most eligible bachelor surprises her with a proposal, the only acceptable answer is yes, even if the voice inside her head is saying no. His family’s fortune would solve all her parents’ financial woes, but Lulu isn’t in love or ready for marriage.

The only people she can confide in are her two best friends: career-minded Rina, who is tired of being passed over for promotion as her biological clock ticks away; and Jane, a sharp-tongued, luxury-chasing housewife desperate to divorce her husband and trade up. Each of them desires something different: freedom, time, beauty. None of them can get it without money.

Lulu’s wedding is their golden opportunity. The social event of the season, it means more than enough cash gifts to transform the women’s lives. To steal the money on the big day, all they’ll need is a trustworthy crew and a brilliant plan. But as the plot grows increasingly complicated and relationships are caught in the cross fire, the women are forced to face that having it all might come at a steep price…
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: A heist on a wedding day! This sounds like it will be a fun read. 

Do these books interest you? What upcoming releases are you looking forward to reading?

The Old(er) 
Carole of Carole's Random Life in Books has given me the perfect excuse to spotlight those unread books on my TBR in her Books from the Backlog feature, reminding me what great books I have waiting for me under my own roof still to read!

Pulp by Robin Talley (Harlequin Teen, 2018)
In 1955, eighteen-year-old Janet Jones keeps the love she shares with her best friend Marie a secret. It’s not easy being gay in Washington, DC, in the age of McCarthyism, but when she discovers a series of books about women falling in love with other women, it awakens something in Janet. As she juggles a romance she must keep hidden and a newfound ambition to write and publish her own story, she risks exposing herself—and Marie—to a danger all too real.
Sixty-two years later, Abby Zimet can’t stop thinking about her senior project and its subject—classic 1950s lesbian pulp fiction. Between the pages of her favorite book, the stresses of Abby’s own life are lost to the fictional hopes, desires and tragedies of the characters she’s reading about. She feels especially connected to one author, a woman who wrote under the pseudonym “Marian Love,” and becomes determined to track her down and discover her true identity.

In this novel told in dual narratives, New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley weaves together the lives of two young women connected across generations through the power of words. A stunning story of bravery, love, how far we’ve come and how much farther we have to go. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: This is yet another lingering e-book hiding on my e-reader that I haven't yet gotten to. I enjoy dual time line historical novels and this one particularly appeals to me because it is tied to those old pulp fiction novels. I also like that Pulp delves into how important representation of diversity is in media. 

Have you read Pulp?  Does this book sound like something you would like to read? 

© 2024, 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.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Weekly Mews: My Bookish Mewsings on The Kaiju Preservation Society, The Roanoke Girls, & A Good Cry

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.


It was quite windy and chilly out today, blue skies with a few white clouds here and there. The snow capped mountains on the horizon are quite picturesque. We got a lot of rain earlier in the week. It was nonstop there for awhile. We attended an award ceremony for Mouse at her school Thursday evening and made sure she could hear us cheering for her when her name was called. There was quite a crowd, but we had good seats. Mouse has the beginnings of a cold this weekend, unfortunately. The rest of us are hoping our scratchy throats are just sympathy symptoms. 

This past week I finished reading The Kaiju Preservation Society, The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel and A Good Cry: What We Learn from Tears and Laughter by Nikki Giovanni. My thoughts on all three are farther down in this post. 

I currently am reading an essay collection called Why We Read: On Bookworms, Libraries, and Just One More Page Before Lights Out by Shannon Reed. I am finding it easily relatable and at times funny. It's got me reflecting on my own reasons why I read. 

One of my bookish goals this year is to read three books recommended by my daughter. Her first pick for me is the graphic novel, Misfit Mansion by Kay Davault, a story about misfit monsters, found family, and a dark secret . . . I have just begun reading it, but I am already loving it.

Thank you to everyone who voted in my February TBR List poll! This was a close one at times, but in the end a clear winner came out on top. Slay by Brittney Morris got three (3) votes, followed by Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson with six (6) votes. The winner of this month's poll is Women of the Post by Joshunda Sanders which won with eight (8) votes! I am looking forward to beginning Women of the Post soon. 

My TBR List was the idea of Michelle at Because Reading, and while Michelle has not been hosting this monthly event for some time now, it's one of my favorite traditions that I cannot bring myself to give up. It's just too much fun! The 1st Saturday of every month, I will list 3 books from my TBR pile 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). 
"Jamie Gray!" ~ opening of The Kaiju Preservation Society
The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi
Tor Books, 2022
Science Fiction; 264 pgs
Source: From my own TBR

In the author's note at the end of the book, John Scalzi explains that he wrote The Kaiju Preservation Society as an escape from the horror that was 2020. He likened it to a pop song, something that entertains and comforts us.

Jamie Gray loses his job right as the pandemic begins to sweep through New York City. Forced to take a job as a food delivery person, he is doing what he can to get by. A fortuitous encounter with a former acquaintance, Tom Stevens, leads to a job opportunity Jamie cannot pass up. All Jamie knows is that Tom works for an animal rights organization that everyone is very tight-lipped about. It isn't until Jamie arrives in Greenland that he discovers why. The Kaiju Preservation Society (KPS) is a top secret organization, located on an alternate Earth. While there are similarities to our Earth, there are many differences, including the existence of giant creatures who are both valued and feared. It is the mission of KPS to study these creatures and to keep them from breaking through the barrier between the dimensions. It would be quite disastrous if that happened.

This was such a fun book to read. There are a lot of pop culture references to movies and fantasy novels. The author's wit comes through on just about every page. There were characters I could root for, bad guys to root against, suspense that had me sitting up in my chair, and a setting that took me out of my own world for a little while. The kaiju are fascinating creatures with their very own ecosystems. There was a moment or two when the scientific explanations were a bit much for me, but I found it all interesting.  I think the author accomplished what he wanted and then some with The Kaiju Preservation Society. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to reading more by John Scalzi. 

The first time I saw Roanoke was in a dream. ~ opening of The Roanoke Girls

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel, narrated by Brittany Pressley
Random House Audio, 2017
Mystery/Suspense/Thriller; 288 pgs (10h 41 min)
Source: From my own TBR

This was my first novel narrated by Brittany Pressley and I think she did a great job. Her tone and reading style fit Lane's character so well. 

Lane Roanoke returns to Osage Flats, Kansas after eleven years after learning her cousin, Allegra, is missing. She had sworn she would never go back after that one terrible summer she had lived there but she feels she owes it to Allegra. 

Author Amy Engel takes the reader back and forth between the present and the past as Lane searches for her cousin and remembers that long ago summer in Kansas. She was fifteen when her mother died and she was sent to live with the very people her mother had cut off all contact with. Lane's cousin, Allegra, abandoned my her own mother, introduces Lane to small town life and the advantages to having money. Lane's return after all these years means facing a past she longs to forget, including an ex-boyfriend who never quite got over her. 

Early on we find out the darkest secret of the Roanoke family. When a teen-aged Lane comes to live at the Roanoke estate, she is immediately drawn to her grandfather, whose kindness and attention she craves. Her own childhood was a difficult one, having been raised by a mother who seemed to hate her. As the past comes to light, the reader can better understand why Lane's mother behaved the way she did--the trauma she endured, why she ran, and how that impacted the way she parented her daughter. The impact extended to Lane's own relationships, past and present. Her lack of trust. Her self-hate. Her inability to form attachments. No one in this novel is without their own trauma and wounds. The history of abuse and the way the family normalized it over the years is extremely disturbing. 

I liked that the author included snippets from past Roanoke girls of previous generations, all of whom had disappeared or died young. It gives the reader a more fuller picture of just how dysfunctional this family was and how deeply the manipulation and trauma went. In some ways, this novel felt like a character study in how familial sexual abuse can affect one generation after another. There was no romanticizing of the abuse in this novel. I focus a lot here on the family's dark secret, and the novel does too. But there's still the mystery of what happened to Allegra, and whether she's alive or dead.

Did I like this book? I have mixed feelings about it, but I know that has more to do with the subject matter than it does with the execution. I generally avoid books (with a few exceptions) that delve into incest or child sexual abuse and probably would not have picked this one up had I known what it was about. Still, it says something that I kept listening. I was invested enough in the characters and their fates to continue to the end. 

A Good Cry: What We Learn from Tears and Laughter by Nikki Giovanni
William Morrow; 2017
Nonfiction/Memoir/Poetry; 128 pgs
Source: From my own TBR  

I started to read this poetry collection a year or so ago, set it aside, and it got lost under other books. I discovered it again recently and decided the time was right. 

Nikki Giovanni is an award winning poet, one I had not had a chance to read before. I enjoyed reading her poetry for its simplicity and depth. She writes about every day tasks from childhood and present, growing up in a home with domestic violence, her love for her grandparents, about the Civil Rights Era, and Denmark Vesey and the outlawing of the drum, just for starters. She pays tribute to people who have touched her life, including Maya Angelou, one of my favorite poets and her dear friend. Just as the subtitle says, I found myself laughing and tearing up. 

I often struggle over what parts of poems to share. Sometimes there are favorite verses that pop of the page. With this collection it was entire poems that captured my heart. I cannot share them in their entirety, but here are some excerpts from a few of my favorites. 

Among my favorite poems in this collection is "Summer Storms":
There are those who say 
We should run
inside from the storm

But that would be 
like leaving Grandmother
at the kitchen table
alone and sad 
A tribute poem to Maya Angelou called "At Times Like These" also moved me. It begins:
At times like these
We measure our words
Because we are
Measuring a life
My heart ached for a young Nikki in her poem called "Surveillance" as she witnessed her father beat her mother:
I am a camera
I am the silent film

It was recorded because
I surveilled
Another favorite of mine is "We Marched", in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Sisterhood of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority:
    The Suffragettes did not want us
Offering only the back of the March
Our other did not understand us so we went
Our separate ways
    But The Time Had Come
Black Women would no longer Wait

    We Marched
I often dogear pages in my poetry books when I come across a poem I especially like, and A Good Cry has quite a few. I enjoyed this collection of poetry and am so glad I finally pulled it off my shelf to read. 

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

© 2024, 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.