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…

GET READY FOR ACTION ON A GIGANTIC SCALE. [Goodreads Summary]
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.

Thursday, February 08, 2024

Where Is Your Bookmark: A Peek into Why We Read & More Friday Fun

I am very nearly finished with John Scalzi's Kaiju Preservation Society (and would be done if work today and a commitment this evening had not gotten in the way). I am waiting to see which book wins my February TBR List poll tomorrow (there's still time to vote if you haven't yet) to see what I will pick up next. In the meantime, I thought I would share excerpt from a nonfiction book I have sitting on my desk that I am considering reading soon. I enjoy books about books and Shannon Reed's essay collection, Why We Read: On Bookworms, Libraries, and Just One More Page Before Lights Out sounds like it will be both entertaining and relatable. 


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.

 

I don't remember a time when I didn't know how to read. [opening of Why We Read]



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, but Anne of My Head is Full of Books has stepped in to host!

Everyone deserves the opportunity to read a familiar story, well told. The pleasure is not in discovering the plot but finding out what kind of characters the author has chosen to walk well-trodden paths, and how the expected beats (the finding of the body! the meet-cute! the realization that the the robot does not mean well!) will be incorporated in this particular version. [excerpt from 56% Why We Read]

This excerpt is from the author's essay "For Comfort" and is all about comfort reading.

Why We Read: On Bookworms, Libraries, and Just One More Page Before Lights Out by Shannon Reed

A hilarious and incisive exploration of the joys of reading from a teacher, bibliophile and Thurber Prize finalist.

We read to escape, to learn, to find love, to feel seen. We read to encounter new worlds, to discover new recipes, to find connection across difference, or simply to pass a rainy afternoon. No matter the reason, books have the power to keep us safe, to challenge us, and perhaps most importantly, to make us more fully human.

Shannon Reed, a longtime teacher, lifelong reader, and New Yorker contributor, gets it. With one simple goal in mind, she makes the case that we should read for pleasure above all else. In this whip-smart, laugh-out-loud-funny collection, Reed shares surprising stories from her life as a reader and the poignant ways in which books have impacted her students. From the varied novels she cherishes (Gone Girl, Their Eyes Were Watching God) to the ones she didn’t (Tess of the d’Urbervilles), Reed takes us on a rollicking tour through the comforting world of literature, celebrating the books we love, the readers who love them, and the surprising ways in which literature can transform us for the better. [Goodreads Summary]

What do you think? Does Why We Read: On Bookworms, Libraries, and Just One More Page Before Lights Out sound like something you would enjoy? 


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's the last book you re-read? Did you like as much as the first read?
One of my criteria for keeping books on my physical bookshelves is that I plan to re-read them someday. It's funny when you take into consideration that I am not much of a re-reader, and yet I have a lot of books on my shelves just in case I do turn into one. I hardly ever r-read books. A few years ago I had this idea that I can combine re-reading with trying to get more into reading audiobooks, but that's not going as well as I hoped. 

The last book I re-read was Fool Moon (Dresden Files #2) by Jim Butcher. And that was in 2022. The Dresden Files is one of my favorite series, but I fell woefully behind and decided to revisit the earlier books in the series via their audio versions, narrated by the great James Marsters, to refresh my memory. I really liked the print version of the book when I read it in 2006, and re-visiting the story via audiobook was a fun experience in its own right. 

Not including children's books, I have only re-read a handful of books. The prize for my most re-read book goes to Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, one of my all-time favorite books, which I have read multiple times. I last read it in 2015.

What was the last book you re-read? 


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.

Do you post Happy Publication Day posts for books you read? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Review)


The short answer is no, I do not. The closest I come is sometimes participating in the Can't-Wait Wednesday weekly feature hosted by the marvelous Tressa at Wishful Endings, in which I share upcoming releases I have added to my wish list and am eager to read.  

What about you? 

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


© 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 06, 2024

Waiting to Read Wednesday: Ill-Fated Fortune / The Turtle House / The Eternal Ones / Dating by the Book


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.

Ill-Fated Fortune
by Jennifer J. Chow
Release Date: February 20, 2024 by Minotaur Books
The first in the heart-warming and deliciously mysterious Magical Fortune Cookie series from Lefty Award-nominee Jennifer J. Chow.

Felicity Jin grew up literally hanging onto Mom’s apron strings in their magical bakery in the quaint town of Pixie, California. Her mother’s enchanted baked goods, including puffy pineapple buns and creamy egg tarts, bring instant joy to all who consume them. Felicity has always been hesitant in the kitchen herself after many failed attempts, but a takeout meal gone wrong inspires her to craft some handmade fortune cookies.

They become so popular that Felicity runs out of generic fortunes and starts making her own personalized predictions. When one customer’s ill-fated fortune results in his murder, Felicity’s suspiciously specific fortune has the police focusing on her as the main culprit. Now Felicity must find a way to turn her luck around and get cleared from suspicion. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: A new cozy series! One with a hint of magic, which makes it even more hard to resist. I read and enjoyed another of the author's books, Mimi Lee Gets A Clue a few years ago. I cannot wait to give this new series a try. 


The Turtle House by Amanda Churchill
Release Date: February 20, 2024 by Harper
Moving between late 1990s small-town Texas to pre-World War II Japan and occupied Tokyo, an emotionally engaging literary debut about a grandmother and granddaughter who connect over a beloved lost place and the secrets they both carry.

It’s spring 1999, and 25-year-old Lia Cope and her prickly 73-year-old grandmother, Mineko, are sharing a bedroom in Curtain, Texas, the ranching town where Lia grew up and Mineko began her life as a Japanese war bride. Both women are at a turning Mineko, long widowed, moved in with her son and daughter-in-law after a suspicious fire destroyed the Cope family ranch house, while Lia, an architect with a promising career in Austin, has unexpectedly returned under circumstances she refuses to explain.

Though Lia never felt especially close to her grandmother, the two grow close sharing late-night conversations. Mineko tells stories of her early life in Japan, of the war that changed everything, and of her two great a man named Akio Sato and an abandoned Japanese country estate they called the Turtle House, where their relationship took root. As Mineko reveals more of her early life—tales of innocent swimming lessons that blossom into something more, a friendship nurtured across oceans, totems saved and hidden, the heartbreak of love lost too soon—Lia comes to understand the depth of her grandmother’s pain and sacrifice and sees her Texas family in a new light. She also recognizes that it’s she who needs to come clean—about the budding career she abandoned and the mysterious man who keeps calling.

When Mineko’s adult children decide, against her wishes, to move her into an assisted living community, she and Lia devise a plan to bring a beloved lost place to life, one that they hope will offer the safety and sense of belonging they both need, no matter the cost.

A story of intergenerational friendship, family, coming of age, identity, and love,
The Turtle House illuminates the hidden lives we lead, the secrets we hold close, and what it truly means to find home again when it feels lost forever. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: While it is the historical aspect of this novel that appeals to me the most, I am curious about what Lia is hiding. I am also drawn to the relationship between this grandmother and grand-daughter and seeing it evolve. I have a feeling I will really come to care for both Mineko and Lia. 


The Eternal Ones (Deathless #3) by Namina Forna
Release Date: February 13, 2024 by Delacorte Press
The dazzling finale to the groundbreaking, New York Times bestselling Gilded Ones series. One girl holds the power to defeat the gods—but can she become one?

Mere weeks after confronting the Gilded Ones—the false beings she once believed to be her family—Deka is on the hunt. In order to kill the gods, whose ravenous competition for power is bleeding Otera dry, she must uncover the source of her divinity. But with her mortal body on the verge of ruin, Deka is running out of time—to save herself and an empire that’s tearing itself apart at its seams.

When Deka’s search leads her and her friends to the edge of the world as they know it, they discover an astonishing new realm, one which holds the key to Deka’s past. Yet it also illuminates a devastating decision she must soon make…

Choose to be reborn as a god, losing everyone she loves in the process. Or bring about the end of the world.
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: I loved every minute of  the first book in this West-African inspired fantasy trilogy. And yet I have not yet read the second. Why have I not read the second?! I am looking forward to reading the third and final book (after I read the second, of course). 

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!

Dating by the Book by Mary Ann Marlowe (Kensington, 2019)
Is love just something you find in books?

Six months ago, writer and bookstore owner Maddie Hanson was left at the altar. Since then, she’s had zero interest in romance—despite the fact that she runs a book club full of sexy eligible bachelors. But when her latest novel is panned by an anonymous blogger who goes by the name Silver Fox—and who accuses her of knowing nothing about passion—she decides to prove her nemesis wrong by seeking a romance hero in real life . . .

There’s the smoldering rock musician, the bookish college professor, and her competitive childhood friend who may want to steal her bookstore more than her heart. Even Silver Fox is getting in on the action, sending Maddie alarmingly—and intoxicatingly—flirtatious emails. And that’s not all. Her ex wants her back.

Now Maddie is about to discover that like any good story, life has twists and turns, and love can happen when you least expect it—with the person you least expect . . . [Goodreads Summary]
Why this landed on my TBR shelf: I think the reason I added this to my TBR shelf is kind of obvious from the description: a bookstore setting and a fun premise. There's even a book blogger! The downside to e-readers is not being able to see all the books I accumulate on it, which is why this one hasn't made its way to the top of my TBR. 

Have you read Dating by the Book?  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.