Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Reading

So,  during my two week holiday from my real job I have been

a.) writing up a storm on A Lesson in Love and Murder 

b.) hanging out with my splendid family and my adorable 7 month old niece and aunts and cousins and doing family Christmas stuff in my little hometown of Orillia

c.) working through Endeavour with my parents


Only fun books ( although that's a bit of a lie because I have been doing a lot of research on the history of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police for Lesson in Love and Murder 

A few highlights:

I finally finished Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare and I love Jem but I am #TeamWill but mostly I love Henry and Charlotte

I read  A Week to be Wicked and When A Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare.  (note:mature subject in these ones, so be ye aware)
Tessa Dare's books are consistent in making me laugh (lobsters in When A Scot Ties the Knot) but there was some magic about Week to be Wicked. To be honest, I cannot remember the last time I stayed up til 3:30 in the morning finishing a book.  The magic of holidays.  

[from When A Scot Ties the Knot: Sometimes a woman doesn't quite fit in with her expected role. We do what we can to make our own way, carve out a space for ourselves."

And I laughed through every page.  This is an arresting book that will validate anyone who has felt out of place.  There are almost picaresque elements to Colin's ability to charm his way across the country: amidst gaming halls and brothels and highway robbers in order to transport Minerva across the border to Scotland and a Geology Society in Edinburgh.

A few quotes:

"When Minerva lost herself in a book, her late father had once remarked, a man needed hounds and a search party to pull her back out."

"Did I say disgusting? I meant enchanting. I've always wanted to go to bed with a primeval sea snail."

"Her eyes always caught that wild, desperate spark just before she did something extraordinary."

"Men never hesitated to declare their presence. They were permitted to live aloud, in reverberating thuds and clunks, while ladies were always schooled to abide in hushed whispers."

"You didn't destroy my dreams. You broke me out of my shell. There was bound to be a bit of a mess."

I also read a fun book called Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey because I love re-tellings of this fairytale. Also, there were some very hilarious lines in this book:


"Eat your soup and stop feeling sorry for yourself."
"I wasn't just being gallant. I already knew you were brave."

Another enchanting read was The Witches of Cambridge by Menna van Praag. I read and loved and raved about The Dress Shop of Dreams around the same time last year so I was delighted when Random House sent me an ARC of this new tale.   If you love Alice Hoffman and Sarah Addison Allen then this is the author for you.

A thread of magical realism is subtly weaved into women's fic with a splash of romance, familial relationships, bittersweet introspection on love and loss and a perfectly gothic setting of Cambridge and its university: home to several witches!

Luscious recipes with herbs to infuse delectable spells,  The Witches of Cambridge is a retrospective on art,food, love, romance and loss.  Love in its many facets of light and dark.

"It's as if his heart doesn't reside in his chest but sits,waiting and open wide, just beneath his eyes. And you believe that if you look long enough you'll fall right in."

There is such simple wisdom and universal truth in what Van Praag serves here and she does so with such a sly wink that you are lost in her languid prose, awed at how easy she makes it seem whereas really she is a master wordsmith.

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