7.5.17

reading of: medieval murder, daughters and high fae

I sit here, armed with a freshly brewed cup of Irish Breakfast Tea (my fave when mixed with a dash of sugar, and just enough cream to make it a pale, cozy color) and prepared to talk about the most wonderful subject to discuss over a warm cuppa: books.

Once upon a time, when I was much younger (read: had much more free time on my hands), I could quite easily be reading seven books at once and finish them in under two weeks.
Now, I'm excited if I can finish one book in a month.  While I am working on getting my reading speed and vigor back up to where it once was, or, at the very least, faintly resembling where it once was, I've had to cut back on how many books I am reading at once.

For example, rather than carrying around a book bag stuffed-to-the-seams with seven books, I am only reading three (I know. Don't look at me like that. I have book ADD. I can't stick with one book for too long or I get restless...no matter how electric and riveting the book actual is).


 Mistress of the Art of Death was a random find and buy from a thrift store; the cover looked pretty, the premise sounded intriguing and...I kinda have a thing for unconventional murder mysteries.  I get bored easily by the regular murder mysteries that crime-solving involve beat cops, or Parish Priests with a cunning mind (sorry, Father Brown. You are one of the better ones, though).
I grew up reading Agatha Christie, and as much as I still love her books, I think I rather burned myself out on them.
About a year ago, however, I discovered S.D. Sykes' Plague Land.  It completely changed the type of murder mystery I was interested in.
A murder mystery book that covered the black plague, a young English Lord trying to do right, a look at old England in a way that was gritty, ugly and far from charming? I absolutely loved it (also it delved into the human spirit and- stop me now because I could talk about Plague Land forever).
Mistress of the Art of Death vaguely reminded me of the same type of murder mystery that Plague Land was.  It's main protagonist, Adelia, an anatomist who was schooled at the University of Salerno, is a woman above her time who is trying to solve the murder of four children before it is pinned on the closest and most unlucky scapegoat. All in the meantime, she has to be careful to not be too above her time because, yo, witch burning was a thing. While I haven't gotten far into it yet, I'm definitely enjoying Ariana Franklin's medieval take on a forensic thriller.

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 In medieval Cambridge, England, four children have been murdered. The crimes are immediately blamed on the town's Jewish community, taken as evidence that Jews sacrifice Christian children in blasphemous ceremonies. To save them from the rioting mob, the king places the Cambridge Jews under his protection and hides them in a castle fortress. King Henry II is no friend of the Jews-or anyone, really-but he is invested in their fate. Without the taxes received from Jewish merchants, his treasuries would go bankrupt. Hoping scientific investigation will exonerate the Jews, Henry calls on his cousin the King of Sicily-whose subjects include the best medical experts in Europe-and asks for his finest "master of the art of death," an early version of the medical examiner. The Italian doctor chosen for the task is a young prodigy from the University of Salerno. But her name is Adelia-the king has been sent a "mistress" of the art of death. Adelia and her companions-Simon, a Jew, and Mansur, a Moor-travel to England to unravel the mystery of the Cambridge murders, which turn out to be the work of a serial killer, most likely one who has been on Crusade with the king. In a backward and superstitious country like England, Adelia must conceal her true identity as a doctor in order to avoid accusations of witchcraft. Along the way, she is assisted by Sir Rowley Picot, one of the king's tax collectors, a man with a personal stake in the investigation. Rowley may be a needed friend, or the fiend for whom they are searching. As Adelia's investigation takes her into Cambridge's shadowy river paths and behind the closed doors of its churches and nunneries, the hunt intensifies and the killer prepares to strike again.



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I had seen A Court of Thorns and Roses on multiple review blogs, bookstagram accounts and in the general bookish buzz.  The concept interested me (cute Fae lords? curses? animal shifters? um...yes??? please???) but there were so many anti-ACOTAR debates and reviews that I was a little scared to get involved into the story.  A chance meeting with the book in a discount book store made me decide to throw caution to the wind and dive in.


boy, oh boy, was it worth it. 

From the first page, I was plunged into a world of pure magic and delight.  Maas' writing style is the trustworthy simple that is frequent in Young Adult novels without being too simple and lacking in glimmer. In short: she writes beautifully.
Sure, there were things I didn't totally agree with.  For example, I can definitely see where Tamlin is pushy, and on a whole I didn't care for the premarital sex (and the whole "We will never see each other again, so might as well do it." I don't understand why that was a good reason, but...ok. whatever).
I'm almost finished, almost ready to start A Court of Mist and Fury...but while I definitely can appreciate Rhys (it doesn't take a genius to see that he's a stunner), but I'm not sure if I like Rhys yet.  Maybe I will in time. But I liked Tamlin from the start and everyone hates Tamlin after ACOMAF (I read the spoilers. I know why. it completely breaks my heart. Come on, Tam. I was rooting for you. I feel personally betrayed by him). But, lets be honest, if Tamlin hadn't done what he had, the fangirls rooting for him vs Rhys would be a lot bigger and there'd be fights. At least like this, there is peace between us.
 But still, knowing all that, I'm not sure is I'm ready for an ACOMAF that mainly focuses on Rhys x Feyre and I'm not sure if I'm ready for bad!Tamlin? At any point, I need to get my hurry on, because book three, A Court of Wings and Ruin came out and guess which girl hunted herself down a copy?


I love all the lesser faes and sprites and the magic in the world and it's just beautiful.  I wouldn't recommend it for younger readers simply because sex before marriage is shown favorably, but I certainly recommend it for people who are older, more mature, and totally down for falling in love with High Fae men. (Lucien ).
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When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.








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Where do I begin with Mr. Darcy's Daughters? Firstly, I suppose, it should be said that this has not yet proven itself to be a great work of legendary fiction, but is more along the lines of a well writ fanfiction bound up and published.  I know there is some very good fanfiction that has been published by some very good authors, but honestly the $3.99 I paid for this book at a thrift store is about as much as I'd be willing to spend. 
It is a light and fluffy read, and delves into the story of Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy's five daughters; Letitia, Camilla, Belle, Georgina and Alethea. 
The whole book (so far as to up where I've read), Darcy and Lizzy are both absent, visiting to Constinople and they've left their daughters in the care of a family friend. 
Letitia is absolutely maddening. I cannot honestly believe that Lizzy or Darcy would be capable of raising such a prudish, wilted flower of a daughter.  I think they tried to make her be The-New-Jane, but she lacks the heart, kindness and wistful honesty that Jane possessed and so Letitia just comes out whining, bossing her sisters around and making me want to rip her hair out with every word she says. 
Then we have Camilla. Spoiler: she's essentially Lizzy all over again, but she's more flirty, less dignified.  She's not the best female character I've seen on the pages of a book, but she's by far one of the most tolerable in this book.  Of course, however, with her being Basically-Lizzie, the author has set up two romances for her, one that smells distinctly of Wickham, and the other is basically Darcy all over again. 
I'm fairly certain I know who she will end up with. 
Belle and Georgina, the twins, are basically the same person. They are both flirty, both insanely driven towards men, and are quite likely to get involved in all manners of scandals (sound like anyone we know? I'll give you a hint...they are both fabulously infatuated by their Aunt Kitty...)
But, just so that we can tell them apart, the author made sure to make them look nothing alike. One is as dark as night (whats that even supposed to mean?) and the other is fair and lighter colored.  How handy. 
Last of all, we come to Alethea, the musically genius youngest daughter of the Darcys. She's ok. Thats it. Not super stunned by her. But she's not as awful as Belle, Georgina or Letitia. 
I guess I should save my hard thoughts for the final review, but if asked, right now, if I reccomended it...my first instinct would be to say, "only if you can find it for free."
However, I don't even think that would be a suitable answer because, trust me, there are far, far better things to spend your time reading.  I'm only finishing it because I paid for it and feel I ought to before ditching it.

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It is the year 1818, twenty-one years after the stirring events of Pride and Prejudice.
Mr Darcy and Elizabeth have gone to Constantinople, while their five daughters descend on the dangerous and dashing world of Regency London. The world is changing, but opportunities for women are limited, as intelligent, independent-minded Camilla soon discovers - and Society is unforgiving of those who transgress its rules.
The sisters are assailed on all sides by the temptations of London, with its parties and balls, gossip and scandals, intrigues and schemes, not to mention the inevitable heartbreaks arising from proximity to so many eligible - and ineligible - men. In Mr. Darcy's Daughters, Elizabeth Aston presents a new variation on a Jane Austen theme, introducing a wonderful array of memorable and amusing nineteenth-century characters in a witty, lively and perceptive tale of Regency life.








 
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So, those are the titles I have set to finish reading before I pick up any other books.  
Next up on my to-read list, however, is (naturally), A Court of Mist and Fury (shortly followed by A Court of War and Ruin). Then The Wizard's First Rule, by Terry Goodkind, which is the novel which inspired the tv show that I cant seem to find anywhere, The Legend of the Seeker. Finally, Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, is on my list, as it was recommended by a co-worker.  Somewhere in there, I'm also going to attempt to lightly pick my way through the Outlander books and hopefully not be too viciously scarred by Diana Gabaldon's lack of propriety when it comes to writing sex scenes. 


What are you currently reading? Do you recommend it? Why or why not? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

3 comments:

  1. Like you, I've seen a lot of people that love the ACOTAR series and a bunch of reviews that really hate it, so your review is really helpful.

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    Replies
    1. I plan on doing a more official review on the book once I finish it (aka: soon). :) So be on the look out for that!

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  2. Great reviews! Based on what you said, I think you'll enjoy ACOMAF. I didn't mind Tamlin in the first book, but I fell in love with the second books Rhysand. :)

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Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.
- Blaise Pascal