Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Waiting to Read Wednesday (#27)



The Old(er) 
I have an embarrassing number of unread books sitting on the shelves in my personal library. Carole of Carole's Random Life in Books has given me the perfect excuse to spotlight and discuss those neglected books in her Books from the Backlog feature. After all, even those older books need a bit of love! Not to mention it is reminding me what great books I have waiting for me under my own roof still to read!



Like Clockwork (#1) by Margie Orford (2006, Witness Impulse)
When a beautiful young woman is found murdered on Cape Town's Seapoint promenade, journalist and part-time police profiler Dr. Clare Hart is drawn into the web of a brutal serial killer. As more bodies are discovered, Clare is forced to re-visit memories of the brutal rape of her twin sister and the gang ties that bind Cape Town's crime rings. Is her investigation into human trafficking linked to the murders or is the killer just playing a sick game with her? [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this one: I had actually forgotten I had this one on my TBR shelf, but found it when I was looking through it. I tend to shy away from serial killer mysteries these days, although the human trafficking aspect is sure to still interest me. 



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


Miraculum by Steph Post
Release Date: January 22, 2019 by Polis Books

The year is 1922. The carnival is Pontilliar’s Spectactular Star Light Miraculum, set up on the Texas-Louisiana border. One blazing summer night, a mysterious stranger steps out onto the midway, lights a cigarette and forever changes the world around him. Tattooed snake charmer Ruby has traveled with her father’s carnival for most of her life and, jaded though she is, can’t help but be drawn to the tall man in the immaculate black suit who has joined the carnival as a geek, a man who bites the heads off live chickens. Mercurial and charismatic, Daniel charms everyone he encounters but his manipulation of Ruby becomes complicated when it no longer becomes clear who is holding all the cards. For all of Daniel’s secrets, Ruby has a few of her own. When one tragedy after another strikes the carnival, and it becomes clear that Daniel is somehow at the center of calamity, Ruby takes it upon herself to discover the mystery of the shadowy man pulling all the strings. Joined by Hayden, a roughneck-turned-mural-painter who has recently reentered her life, Ruby enters into a dangerous, eye-opening game with Daniel in which nothing and no one is as it seems and yet everything is at stake. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: The carnival aspect has me intrigued as do the comparisons I have seen being made to The Night Circus, Something Wicked This Way Comes and Water for Elephants.  Not that comparisons can be completely trusted . . . Still, I know I want to give this one a try!


The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loignman
Release Date: January 22, 2019 by St. Martin's Press

Two estranged sisters, raised in Brooklyn and each burdened with her own shocking secret, are reunited at the Springfield Armory in the early days of WWII. While one sister lives in relative ease on the bucolic Armory campus as an officer’s wife, the other arrives as a war widow and takes a position in the Armory factories as a “soldier of production.” Resentment festers between the two, and secrets are shattered when a mysterious figure from the past reemerges in their lives. [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: One of my favorite historical time periods to read about in fiction is around and about the World Wars. This particular novel about two sisters has caught my attention as a result. A big dark secret may have something to do with it too.



Do any of these books appeal to you? Have you read them?


© 2018, 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.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Bells, Spells, and Murder by Carol J. Perry

It was the first day of December in Salem, Massachusetts, my hometown. ~ Opening of Bells, Spells, and Murder by Carol J. Perry


Bells, Spells, and Murders (Witch City Murder, #7) by Carol J. Perry
Kensington, 2018
Crime Fiction (Cozy); 371 pgs
Source: Review copy provided by publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

Lee Barrett loves her job as the new field reporter for WICH-TV in Salem. While on assignment to interview the head of the city's Holiday Walk Committee, Lee finds him dead at his desk. Lee evidently is not new to murder investigations (after all, this is the 7th book in the series), but it does not make stumbling on a dead body any easier. Putting her investigative reporter skills to good use and piecing together her psychic visions, Lee sets out to find a murderer and uncover the cause of some unusual occurrences she has begun to observe.  Can she do it before too many more bodies pile up and before the big blizzard comes to town? 

Bells, Spells, and Murders is my first introduction to Lee Barrett, Aunt Ibby and their perceptive cat O'Ryan. I enjoy a good paranormal cozy mystery, and I am happy to say this was a good one. A reporter makes a good protagonist in the mystery genre. They have the perfect excuse for interfering in a police investigation--not only to get to the bottom of the crime for justice sake, but also to get their scoop. Lee Barrett is a likeable character: conscientious, good at her job, and clever. Her romantic relationship with a police detective gives her a bit of an edge, even if he is not as forthcoming with information as she might like. 

The paranormal element in the novel is definitely there, but is not overwhelming. Lee has visions that offer her clues, but the clues are often unclear. There is also an appearance or two by a witch who reads Tarot cards. And, of course, O'Ryan's helpful direction now and then. It is all subtle enough that I do not think either particularly lended to the solving of the crime, and so for those who may not care as much for the paranormal, you still might enjoy this cozy.

This made a great holiday read, given the holiday time setting, as Lee gets in some of her Christmas shopping, picks out her tree, and does stories on various holiday events around Salem. I enjoyed going along with Lee and her camera woman as they carried out their various assignments. I liked the mystery itself--the occasional twist and the resolution was satisfying, even if not a complete surprise. Bells, Spells, and Murders was an entertaining read, a perfect way to ring in the Christmas season! 


For more information about the author and her books, visit her website


© 2018, 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.

December's TBR List Poll Winner!

Thank you for helping me decide what book from my TBR collection I should read next:

My TBR List is a meme hosted by the awesome Michelle at Because Reading. It’s a fun way to choose a book from your TBR pile to read. The 1st Sunday of every month, I will list 3 books I am considering reading and take a poll as to which you think I should read. I will read the winner that month, and my review will follow (unfortunately, not likely in the same month, but eventually--that's all I can promise). 




It is a tie! Now that I have officially finished my two big year long reads, Tolstoy's War and Peace and Hugo's Les Misérables (both in the same week!), I am okay with this outcome. I can dedicate the rest of the year to lighter reads. So I say, bring it on!

It was a close race. The losing book, Wishing Cross Station by February Grace, got five votes while the other two each received six.

The winners are:


A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews
and

 
A Brazen Curiosity (Beatrice Hyde-Clare Mysteries, #1) by Lynn Messina
Thank you to all who took the time to vote! 


© 2018, 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, December 04, 2018

Waiting to Read Wednesday (#26)



The Old(er) 
I have an embarrassing number of unread books sitting on the shelves in my personal library. Carole of Carole's Random Life in Books has given me the perfect excuse to spotlight and discuss those neglected books in her Books from the Backlog feature. After all, even those older books need a bit of love! Not to mention it is reminding me what great books I have waiting for me under my own roof still to read!


Coraline by Neil Gaiman (2002, Harper Collins)
The day after they moved in, Coraline went exploring....

In Coraline's family's new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close.

The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.

Only it's different.

At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, books whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there's another mother, and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.

Other children are trapped there as well, lost souls behind the mirrors. Coraline is their only hope of rescue. She will have to fight with all her wits and all the tools she can find if she is to save the lost children, her ordinary life, and herself. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this one: I have long wanted to read this book, and it has been sitting on my shelf for years now. I have loved everything I have read by Gaiman so far and this sounds like such a fun creepy read. My daughter tried to watch the movie once and got scared so didn't finish it. She wants me to hurry up and read the book so she can try the movie again, this time with me. 

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



The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye
Release Date: January 8, 2019 by G.P. Putnam Sons
The new and exciting historical thriller by Lyndsay Faye, author of Edgar-nominated Jane Steele and Gods of Gotham, which follows Alice “Nobody” from Prohibition-era Harlem to Portland’s the Paragon Hotel.

The year is 1921, and “Nobody” Alice James is on a cross-country train, carrying a bullet wound and fleeing for her life following an illicit drug and liquor deal gone horribly wrong. Desperate to get as far away as possible from New York City and those who want her dead, she has her sights set on Oregon: a distant frontier that seems the end of the line.

She befriends Max, a black Pullman porter who reminds her achingly of Harlem, who leads Alice to the Paragon Hotel upon arrival in Portland. Her unlikely sanctuary turns out to be the only all-black hotel in the city, and its lodgers seem unduly terrified of a white woman on the premises. But as she meets the churlish Dr. Pendleton, the stately Mavereen, and the unforgettable club chanteuse Blossom Fontaine, she begins to understand the reason for their dread. The Ku Klux Klan has arrived in Portland in fearful numbers–burning crosses, inciting violence, electing officials, and brutalizing blacks. And only Alice, along with her new “family” of Paragon residents, are willing to search for a missing mulatto child who has mysteriously vanished into the Oregon woods.

Why was “Nobody” Alice James forced to escape Harlem? Why do the Paragon’s denizens live in fear–and what other sins are they hiding? Where did the orphaned child who went missing from the hotel, Davy Lee, come from in the first place? And, perhaps most important, why does Blossom DuBois seem to be at the very center of this tangled web? [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: After reading and falling in love with Jane Steele, I will read anything Lyndsay Faye writes. It helps that this book sounds really good too! A bit of history mixed in a thriller? I must read this one!


A Literal Mess by J.C. Kenney
Release Date: January 8, 2019 by Lyrical Underground
The first book in a new series featuring Allie Cobb brings the New York literary agent back to her Hoosier home town where a mysterious death keeps everyone on spoiler alert...

Allie Cobb left home for the literary circles of Manhattan to make her name out from under the shadow of her legendary father. Now his death brings her and her rescue cat Ursula back to the southern Indiana town of Rushing Creek, population: 3,216. But a tragic new chapter hits the presses when the body of her father’s hard-drinking, #1 bestselling client is found under the historic town bridge. The local police suspect foul play and their prime candidate for murder is the author’s daughter—Allie’s longtime friend.

Determined to clear her bestie, Allie goes into fact-checking amateur detective mode while trying to ignore the usual rumormongers. Those with means, motive, and opportunity include the vic’s ex-wife, his rejected girlfriend, the mayor, and a rival agent trying to mooch clients. With a rugged genealogist distracting her and the imminent Fall Festival about to send tourists descending on their once-peaceful hamlet, Allie needs to stay alive long enough to get a read on a killer ready to close the book on a new victim: Allie . . . [Goodreads Summary]

Why I want to read this: It's hard to resist a cozy featuring anyone in a profession related to books. And I definitely can't resist a cat named Ursula.



Do any of these books appeal to you? Have you read them?


© 2018, 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.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

The ringing of the phone jerked me from my sleep. ~ Opening of Magic Slays


Magic Slays (Kate Daniels, #5) by Ilona Andrews
Berkley Publishing, 2011 
Fantasy; 308 pgs
Source: Gift from my husband

It has been too long since I last read a Kate Daniels' novel. Way too long. I admit I felt a little lost at first, but soon found my footing again. Oh, how I love this series! Kate is trying to get her private detective agency off the ground, but without much success. It doesn't help that her mate is the Beast Lord, Curran, whose bad side no one wants to get on. When a call comes in from Atlanta's premier Master of the Dead, Kate's is wary. He needs her help catching a vampire who is on the loose. And then another client walks through her door--an unexpected client whose business Kate sorely needs. Kate takes the case despite the reservations of her friend and new-hire Andrea. Faced with a major threat to all those who possess magic, Kate is working against the clock to save the imperfect world they live in. It means bringing together groups of people who would rather see each other dead. Will she be able to pull it off?

The reader gets more of a glimpse into Kate's backstory, particularly of her mother and father's relationship. It sheds a lot of light into how Kate became the Kate we know today. We also see more of Julie in this fifth book in the series, and her story line is particularly heartbreaking. It's yet another example of the messed up world the characters in the series live in.

I am a big fan of Kate and Curran as a couple. The two have such good chemistry. And although Kate still sometimes doubts Curran's  true feelings for her (can we blame her with her past?), he does seem to really love her and is willing to support in her in (just about) anything. Kate is not a woman who needs to rely on a man for survival though, which is something I love about her character.

Magic Slays was a good reminder of why I fell in love with this series in the first place. It is intense, full of action, witty and a page turner. There were some definite sad moments, a few revelations, and occasional sighs of relief. Things really heat up for the characters, and it was good to see so many come together in this one. I will not be waiting so long to read the next in the series. Not after the ending in this one. 


For more information about the husband and wife writing team, Ilona Andrews, and their books, visit their website. You can also find them on Facebook.


© 2018, 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.