Friday, February 20, 2015

so many books that I did read

Lately I have been writing a ton ( get ready for Jem and Merinda, guys!)  and featuring Love and Romance here on the blog.

in honour of a recently discovered new Holmes story c/o I Hear of Sherlock

I have also been at Breakpoint:
Review: McFarland, USA ( thanks to Disney and Graf-Martin for the screening)

and at Edgy Inspirational Romance:

But I have been reading:  

Snippets, kittens! lots of snippets!

Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg: The Wuthering Heights and the John Keats ones were my favourite. Holy cow!

When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James

Friends, this made me laugh super hard. It was also steamy and smart and complete with a crumbling castle and a House-like hero plagued by constant pain and grumbles. I especially enjoyed learning about medical history of the Regency period

The Massey Murder:
YOU GUYS ! I love this book. I can't even.... I CAN'T EVEN! I can't even


I am so obsessed with Edwardian period Toronto and this was a brilliantly researched exposition of a lost world. The class system, the raging far-away Great War, the shifting tides of Social convention and the power suddenly given women.

Not to mention the amazing court scenes when a British domestic is pitted against one of the titular families in Toronto's WASPY heritage

I can't even talk about how much I loved this. I just loved it. I LOVE IT! Charlotte Gray has long been one of Canada's most narrative and lyrical historians and her work is so excessively readable; but this! This hit all the right chords. It is a time period I cannot get enough of in the city of my heart.

The Mockingbird Next Door: mea culpa, Nelle, whether or not you approved this book I was darn entertained by it and loved seeping into the life of one of my favourite enigmatic authors.  It's like Maycomb county is trapped in a time capsule 

The Family Way and The City of Darkness and Light by Rhys Bowen:  I love Molly Murphy. I love Sid and Gus.  WTF! Why did she marry Daniel Sullivan and why can't he be better? Like, come on. 

Songs of Sorrow: This is a really fabulous look at the capture and history of culture. I enjoyed the passion behind the pain-staking research done in cultivating and preserving an inimitable part of human experience. Perfect for Black History month and of interest to historians of social, culture and musical lines, Songs of Sorrow is a glorious, in-depth look at a multi-layered and multi-faceted cultural history. (netgalley copy on behalf of Univ of Mississippi Press )

The Angel Court Affair  I love Anne Perry. I love Thomas Pitt. I am surprised that a series I have been reading for well over a decade continues to peal fresh and new.  There is something so alluring about the end of the Victorian era: a period of immense change chugging along and the sudden looming of a century that renders earth's inhabitants recognizably apprehensive.   Perry paints a broad canvas here as Pitt et al track a killer and there is something fluid about the exposition of the case.  I haven't read all of the Pitt books and rarely have trouble catching up ( received from Random House for review)

Who’s Picking me Up from the Airport? Refreshing, hilarious and completely candid. This is probably the most stomachable book on Christian singlehood I have ever read. Johnson has a sly straight-edge wit that just resonated and made me laugh hard. She balances a warmth and understanding for the plight (especially in evangelical circles) and counters it with a humorous dose of self-deprecation. Honestly the only tolerable Christian singles book I have ever read. She is a voice to share, cherish and snortle at! ( received from Zondervan)

The Last Heiress gorgeous cover art!!! really enjoyed the underlying tensions wrought of the civil war and the clash of american and british cultures and traditions. Ellis possesses a spry and winning sense of dialogue and her historical insertions were first rate. To add, I quite enjoyed the parallel examined in twins Abigail and Amanda: both from different worlds yet sharing the same face. This theme paired well with the book's high moral stakes. Fans of Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller will find a happy home here (received from Harvest House )

Love Arrives in Pieces: St. Amant's best so far! This is a heart-wrenchingly honest look at the pain of divorce and death. Two realistically flawed and hungry people find love in each other and restitution in their Saviour. Gripping, real and never without hope, St. Amant speaks to a troubling situation with candour and grace that will help her find a new set of readers. She is breaking the binds of CBA convention and speaking straight-forwardly about finding God's path beyond human expectation. More than a contemporary romance, Love Arrives in Pieces is a treatise on God's ability to help humans reconcile with each other, with Him and with themselves. A great "finally letting yourself off the hook" book this will reach plenty of hurting souls. (with thanks to Zondervan)

Scent of Triumph Took me awhile to get into this one, but I certainly enjoyed the unique slant on WWII fiction ( a setting that has become very popular of late). Not wholly likeable characters--- but believable ones---- and the journey from the European theatre, across the ocean, and to the States was a wonderfully wrought canvas.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the book for me was the art of scent-making. There is a chemistry married with a passion that shows obvious research.
A competent first read (for me) by a talented storyteller.  ( with thanks to St. Martin's)

The Executioner’s Daughter: What an interesting interesting fable-like patch of folklore this is. Woven with magic and set against the tumultuous life of London’s ominous tower, Moss and her blacksmith father ( not to mention Salter, the sly river rat) pepper an unforgettable children’s tale. Lush, sparse and so vivid, this reminded me why I love Children’s Literature as much as I do. (thanks to Egmont)

Victorian Fairy Tales ed. Michael Newton: I am so fascinated by fairytales and this scholarly annotated version from Oxford really gives you a sense of the rhetoric and symbol that best resonated with the Victorian populous. The dark, the grotesque, the grim and the hopeful—these radiant tales pit against the twists and turns of a topsy-turvy century. A wide range of authorial voices and expert notation allow you to steal into the past and the firelight’s glow of a century long gone by. Great place to find work by Thackeray, Ford Madox Ford and Oscar Wilde not generally explored in the Western Canon.

Dauntless by Dina Sleiman: Fresh, snappy voice, brilliant dialogue and interesting play with narrative that almost seems omniscient at times while recalling the ballads and tales of yesteryear with a Robin Hood flare.....these are only the technical aspects that sew up this competent novel. This will be a sure-fire crossover it with the general market due to its fast-pace and colourful characters. Loved the action, loved the banter between Merry and her band and enjoyed learning about Timothy. Perfect historical detail meets fun and adventure! I loved Allen and I loved the promise of a love triangle :)

Fans of Melanie Dickerson will eat this up. YA fiction with immediate crossover appeal.

(thanks, Bethany House)

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