Why I’ve Fallen for Sydney Chambers

I’m totally head over heels for Grantchester.  The fact that the BBC Sydney looks like this doesn’t hurt.  

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Usually I’m a book before film girl, but I don’t mind having this face already in my head when I’m reading Sydney’s adventures. I really enjoyed Sydney Chambers and the Shadow of Death and the follow-up Sydney Chambers and the Perils of Night did not disappoint.  Here’s the scoop of Sydney’s adventures in book two:

The loveable full time priest and part time detective Canon Sidney Chambers continues his sleuthing adventures in late 1950’s Cambridge. Accompanied by his faithful Labrador Dickens, and working in tandem with the increasingly exasperated Inspector Geordie Keating, Sidney is called on to investigate the unexpected fall of a Cambridge don from the roof of King’s College Chapel; a case of arson at a glamor photographer’s studio; and the poisoning of Zafar Ali, Grantchester’s finest spin bowler, in the middle of a crucial game of cricket. As he pursues his quietly probing inquiries, Sidney also has to decide on the vexed question of marriage. Can he choose between the rich, glamorous socialite Amanda Kendall and Hildegard Staunton, a beguiling German widow three years his junior? To help him make up his mind Sidney takes a trip abroad, only to find himself trapped in a complex web of international espionage just as the Berlin Wall is going up. Here are six interlocking adventures that combine mystery with morality, and criminality with charm.

Who would have expected Cambridge could be the scene of such murderous intrigue?  Again the book reads as it was almost made to be a BBC show but it works well while reading.  The mysteries are just long enough and just deep enough for an evening’s reading – but if you want to think deep thoughts you are left with the issues of post-WWII England including racism, homophobia, and the fight against communism.  But there’s still romance, and romantic betrayal, friendship and of course Dickens – the loyal black lab.  I am looking forward to more Sydney both on my tv screen and in book 3!  I’m very curious to see where the second season of the show goes based on the changes they made from the book.  

Thank you Bloomsbury USA for this copy in exchange for an honest opinion!

Do you save books for rainy day reading?

Do you save books for a “rainy day”?  Trish at Love, Laughter and A Touch of Insanity did a post about delaying pleasure reading that left me thinking.  Some books I want to read because they’re just happy – so why do I wait to read them when I know they’re going to put me into my blissful reading state where nothing else matters?  

Right now the two books I’ve started and stalled on are Jessica Valenti’s Sex Object – a memoir about sexism and Nicole Dennis-Benn’s Here Comes the Sun – a highly recommended novel but it’s about women living in poverty in Jamaica – not fluff.  I NEED FLUFF.  The news is poop, my kid is a petri dish and got sick and passed on to me, and sometimes I just need fluff.  I want to finish both of these books but first I’m going to cleanse my mental palate with Nora Roberts.  I’ve admitted I love Nora and I’m not ashamed.  I’m still trying to figure out how I’ve let the start of her newest trilogy sit on my kindle for 7 months unread.  

My next library book is Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson and I’m excited to read it.  But I’m going to have to balance the justice system and the two books above with something like Sarong Party Girls – and maybe even more smutty romance.  Any suggestions?

Is it just me?  What do you read when the news is dark?  How do you balance light and heavy reading?  Do you save rainy day reading material?  

It’s Monday: What Are You Reading?

Happy Monday! If I think it’s a good day it can be one right?  I’m into too many books at once – shocking I’m sure!  Thanks to The Book Date for hosting!

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Flappers: 6 Women of a Dangerous Generation by Judith Mackrell – Fascinating!!  Thanks Eva for recommending it!

Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn.  Shaina raved about this while reading – I think its going to break my heart.

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff – Just waiting for the stab, stab, stabbing to start.

Lumberjanes Vol 2 – This is totally delightful!

Sex Object by Jessica Valenti – I want to love this nonfic so much! I stopped at about 20% and need to pick it back up.

I also finished the Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend which was full of cheese and adorable.  I decided to quit on And I Darken by Kiersten White – I feel terrible quitting but I just wasn’t feeling it.

What are you reading this week?

Review: All the Missing Girls

All the Missing Girls, Megan Miranda

Kindle Edition, 384 pages

Expected publication: June 28th 2016 by Simon & Schuster

Source: e-ARC from publisher via NetGalley

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Megan Miranda’s novel is a nail-biting, breathtaking story about the disappearances of two young women—a decade apart—told in reverse.

It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.

The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.

Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.

When I heard this was a mystery told in reverse I was really unsure how I’d feel about it.  I have to say that this book was basically a mind fuck. We start in the present as Nicolette returns to her rural home town of Cooley Ridge to help convince her ill father to sell her childhood home.  She leaves her fiancé behind and he’s unaware that Nicolette will be facing down both memories of her high school best friend’s disappearance and her physical high school boyfriend who she’s never really said goodbye to.

We then go two weeks into the future when there’s been another disappearance and Nicolette is being told to run – I won’t tell you who from. The book goes through each day and then flashes back again.  This was such a great way to tell a mystery!  I thought that I had everything figured out as Nic flashed back through each day – and I was always wrong! I loved how Miranda was able to drop clues that made so much sense in the end but totally threw me off as I was reading.  

If you need a summer thriller this is it!  Suspenseful and well written – definitely one to read at the beach!

Thank you Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for this advance copy in exchange for an honest opinion!

June Library Loves

Seriously, the CPL is killing me with my holds coming in.  Thanks Shannon for this check-in! I hope your library mojo picks up soon.    I’m starting with two books that I just finished that you should get on your library list too!

Dear Fang, With Love by Rufi Thorpe – This book definitely got me over the minor slump I was in after reading Girls on Fire.  Vera was delightful even as she broke my heart.  I thought the look at a non-traditional family dealing with mental illness was so well done.  

Roses & Rot by Kat Howard – This was dark and delicious and I was done in a day. Two sisters with a dark past and bright futures. Fairy tales and broken hearts – I loved it. The kindle edition is only $2! I might have to buy it.

Also read:

  • The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
  • Breaking Bad – The Final Season – Holy Intense!  We’re still talking about it!
  • Troublemaker by Lea Remini
  • A Gathering of Shadows (OMG so good) by V.E. Schwab
  • Charlotte Bronte: A Fiery Heart by Claire Harman
  • Nil by Lynne Matson (It only took 13 renewals!  Really enjoyed it)

Currently reading:

  • Flappers: 6 Women of a Dangerous Generation by Judith Mackrell – so fascinating!

Checked Out:

  • The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker (read and reviewed but need a refresher so I can read…
  • The King Slayer by Virginia Boecker
  • The Lorax
  • Mary Poppins (requested by the kid!)
  • The Good Death: An Exploration of Dying in America by Ann Neumann
  • Samantha’s Surprise by Maxine Schur
  • Hedgehugs by Steve Wilson
  • I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  • The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Going back unread:

  • Samantha Learns a Lesson (I’m passing down the library hoarding to Babycakes)
  • Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss.  Back on hold this goes.
  • Court of Fives by Kate Elliott – DNF

Holds:

  • Lumberjanes Volume 2
  • The Night Gardener
  • The Princess and The Pony (Again! Babycakes can’t wait!)
  • Grantchester Season One
  • Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley
  • Eligible
  • Tangled by Emma Chase
  • Rich and Pretty
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  • Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty
  • The Girls (woot! Down to 70 on 48 copies)
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (don’t tell my husband I’m getting the ebook rather than read my own 500 lb hardcover)

Review: Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart

Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart, Claire Harman

Published March 1st 2016 by Knopf

Hardcover, 462 pages

Source: Library 

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A groundbreaking biography that places an obsessive, unrequited love at the heart of the writer’s life story, transforming her from the tragic figure we have previously known into a smoldering Jane Eyre.

Famed for her beloved novels, Charlotte Brontë has been known as well for her insular, tragic family life. The genius of this biography is that it delves behind this image to reveal a life in which loss and heartache existed alongside rebellion and fierce ambition. Claire Harman seizes on a crucial moment in the 1840s when Charlotte worked at a girls’ school in Brussels and fell hopelessly in love with the husband of the school’s headmistress. Her torment spawned her first attempts at writing for publication, and the object of her obsession haunts the pages of every one of her novels–he is Rochester in Jane Eyre, Paul Emanuel in Villette. Another unrequited love–for her publisher–paved the way for Charlotte to enter a marriage that ultimately made her happier than she ever imagined. Drawing on correspondence unavailable to previous biographers, Harman establishes Brontë as the heroine of her own story, one as dramatic and triumphant as one of her own novels.

What a short and sad life.  Really what sad and short lives all of the Brontë children had.  So much talent lost to consumption, to a strangely unhealthy family lifestyle and to opium in the case of Charlotte’s brother.  Though this book was about Charlotte it would be impossible to tell her story without the context of her family.  It was fascinating to read about the Brontë siblings writing and sharing as children and how that grew into the three sisters publishing as the Bells.  The letters that Harman accessed for source were moving and gave such thoughtful context to the eventual writing of Jane Eyre.  I suppose as a reader I should be thankful for the unrequited love in Charlotte Brontë’s early life because without that story there would be no Rochester and that would be a loss!    

I might not be raving about this book quite as much as Romantic Outlaws, but it was still fascinating to read about how really revolutionary Charlotte was for her time.  Really though in the end, I was just sad.  I wonder how much happiness Charlotte missed out on with her early death and how many books she might have had left to write.  I am absolutely more inspired now to read Vilette, reread Wuthering Heights to see if I can hate it less and to try Anne Brontë’s Tenant of Wildfell Hall.  Obviously I have to reread Jane Eyre as well.  A Fiery Heart felt long while reading, but despite the depth was really easy to lose myself in the Brontë’s world every morning.

Next nonfiction though will be Flappers: Six Women of a Dangerous Generation by Judith Mackrell based on The Paperback Princess’s raves about it.  What biographies are you loving now? 

 

Best Books of 2016 So Far

Today’s Top Ten list really made me think – that is after the top book on my list.  No doubt Sweetbitter has blown everything else I’ve read this year away.  I’m still thinking about it!  Thanks to the Broke and the Bookish for this topic!

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  1. Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
  2. Tender by Brenda McKeon
  3. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
  4. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
  5. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
  6. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
  7. The Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susan
  8. The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian
  9. Chaos Choreography by Seanan McGuire
  10.  Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink

What’s at the top of your list so far?  I think I should make Holly come post her top ten this year soon too!