Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is Here!

Today’s the day!! Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is happening now and after getting a bunch of chores out of the way, I’m ready to start! I going to be starting with Elizabeth Goudge’s A City of Bells and hopefully will finish it. Also on my TBR is Thornyhold by Mary Stewart and Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver.

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Halloween Movie to Book Matchup

I don’t know about you, but I am super excited for Halloween this year. To start celebrating I decided to pair a Halloween movie with a book.

It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

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This movie is a Halloween classic and to pair with it, I think a great match is another classic one that is as lighthearted, and fun, as well as uplifting. So to pair with It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is the Father Brown Stories by G.K. Chesterton


The Exorcist

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The Exorcist is a horror classic, scary no matter what time of year you watch it. My match for this movie is another classic the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. This is an epistolary novel of letters from Uncle to Nephew demons. These letters describe how demons influence a person’s decisions, leading them to Hell. Both the exorcist and the Screwtape Letters deal with demons. The Exorcist describes a possession while the Screwtape Letters demonstrate how a person’s ideas and thoughts can be subtly influenced by demons. Which is scarier, its hard to say…


Addams Family

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The third movie I chose is the Addams Family, a movie that takes classic horror and gothic tropes and turns them on their head in hilarious ways. A great book that captures some of the same absurdity is Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers. (Yes, I had to include a Dorothy Sayers novel, because she is fantastic.) The mundane office suddenly becomes the scene of a murder. This book is filled with humor, primarily from our protagonist, Peter Wimsey. Murder Must Advertise is definitely one of my favorite books in the series. I think you could read any of the Peter Wimsey mysteries out of order. However, you should read the ones with Harriet Vane in order.


Hocus Pocus

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Hocus Pocus has become something of a modern classic, for good reason, it has everything you could want in it: witches, romance, a mystery to solve, and a great musical number. While I can’t promise you a great musical number in Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell, it has everything else. It follows the author of Confessions of an Opium Eater, Thomas De Quincey and his daughter as they try to solve the murders De Quincey is being accused of. Murders that are the recreations of a series of famous murders De Quincey once wrote about.


Halloweentown

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loweentown is another movie that revels in its eccentricies and I think a wonderful pairing for this movie, would be Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. This is a book whose strength lies in the absurdity of its main character Hercule Poirot.

Series Review: Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries by Dorothy Sayers

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I tend to think of October as the month for mysteries, even though mystery month is actually during May. But October just seems like the perfect time to curl up with a sweater and a mystery to me. The series I would recommend picking up if you’re like me and are looking for a good cozy mystery series is the Peter Wimsey Mysteries.

All About the Series:

There are 12 novels (starting with Whose Body?) in the Peter Wimsey Mysteries, which is not enough in my opinion. (you can see where this review is going already). This series follows our protagonist, Peter Wimsey, a man of uncounted hidden talents, and a person people always seem to underestimate. Which is a fact he often uses to his advantage. Along the way, we encounter a recurring cast of characters all of who are wonderful, including Bunter, his manservant, Chief Inspector Parker and a definite favorite of mine: Peter’s mother the Dowager Duchess. In each novel we learn more about Peter and these characters. We also meet Harriet Vane who becomes incredibly important to our protagonist. *Wink Wink*

Each novel contains a mystery for Peter (or Peter and Harriet) to solve with the help of the recurring characters. Each of these mysteries is contained within the novel. In other words, the mystery is always solved at the end of the novel.

What I Thought:

I loved these mysteries. Dorothy Sayers was an incredibly smart and talented writer. Her mysteries require some brain power and the occasional lookup of information to understand a reference, but I think this adds to the novels rather than detracts. I found this website very helpful with its annotations of many of her novels and short stories. I’ll link it here: https://planetpeschel.com/the-wimsey-annotations/

One of the things I loved about these novels was the setting, and Dorothy Sayers does a truly remarkable job with an atmospheric setting. She truly has a gift for bringing to life these settings, and it’s especially memorable in The Nine Tailors. As these books were set in Dorothy Sayers present day (late 1920’s to early 1930’s) her novels are rich in the details of this time period in England, and I found this time period incredibly absorbing. The author asks relevant questions of her day which are still incredibly relevant today, for example in Gaudy Night she questions where a woman’s life belongs: to scholarship or to the home. Also memorable is the insight into the industry of advertising and inside look into the workplace during the early 30’s in Murder Must Advertise.

The mysteries in each novel were always entertaining and interesting. I would make a terrible detective as I never was able to solve the mystery very quickly. I also liked that the mysteries were wrapped up at the end of each novel with no cliffhangers. Occasionally, the mystery seemed a little overcomplicated especially in Five Red Herrings (should have seen that coming by the title lol) but I never lost interest as the characters always kept me intrigued.

The characters seem to be what actually keeps me reading a series and Dorothy Sayer’s characters were very easy to get invested in. Besides Peter my favorite character has to be the Dowager Duchess. Each character has a distinct personality and voice and their unique perspective usually gives Peter the insight into the mystery. Harriet Vane is important because she is the only character, besides Peter, who narrates substantial parts of the novels she’s in, therefore, allowing the reader to see Peter from a unique perspective.

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A brief note: In many ways the novels with Harriet Vane function as a stand-alone series you could read out of order from the other books in the series. Starting with Strong Poison they are only dependent on the reader having read the previous books with Harriet Vane.

I would recommend these novels to anyone looking for a good comfy mystery. If you are interested in the romance I would read the Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane novels but all of these books are wonderful reads.


Quick Links:

First Book: Whose Body?

My Favorites: Murder Must Advertise and Gaudy Night

Collection of Short Stories (a very good place to start): Lord Peter

 

September 2018 Wrap-up

During the month of September, I read a total of 8 books. These books were from a variety of genres from westerns to mysteries well as nonfiction. Overall, it was a good reading month for me.

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Here’s What I Read:

1. Hondo by Louis L’Amour – I reviewed this in my Western Roundup post.

2. The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers- I’ve been making my way through the Peter Wimsey mysteries throughout the year. Soon I will have a review of the series posted, but individually, I really enjoyed the Nine Tailors. This is definitely the most atmospheric book of the series, as well as one of the darker novels. But it’s one of the most memorable for those very reasons. I doubt I will look at bells the same way ever again.

3. Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers – This book seems to be many people’s favorite of all the Peter Wimsey mysteries and it’s not hard to figure out why. This book is told from primarily Harriet Vane’s perspective. It takes place on Oxford’s campus in the imaginary women’s college, Shrewsbury. This book is a poignant one as it grapples with the question:  what a woman’s place is in the world. Can women live a fulfilled life in academia, or is it missing something when they are not mothers and wives?

4. Busman’s Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers- After the ending in Gaudy Night I had to read the next and last book in the series. I immensely enjoyed this book and it was extremely hard saying goodbye to these characters.

5. A Prayer Journal by Flannery O’Connor- O’Connor’s writing is beautiful and so are her prayers and her appeals to God. So many of these prayers resonated with me. This is a book I will be rereading.

6. The Virginian by Owen Wister- I reviewed this book in my Western Roundup.

7. Of Wolves and Men by Barry Lopez–  review coming soon

8. Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman– This is a story about uncovering hidden depths in the most unlikely of people,  a beautiful theme but one that was done better in A Man Called Ove.

Boo To You Readathon TBR

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For the month of October, BookishPrincess is hosting a Disney themed readathon, the Boo to You Readathon. I’ll link her announcement video here. Although, its been a while since I’ve been to Disney World I am super excited to participate. Here is a list of the books I’ve chosen for each of the challenges Emma created for the readathon. Continue reading

Series Review: Sebastian St. Cyr Mysteries

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My Review

I think it’s no secret that I love history, so the fact that I liked the Sebastian St Cyr Mysteries by C.S. Harris was no surprise. As a historical mystery series, it seems pretty obvious that I would be interested but what came as a shock was how much I loved them and enjoyed reading them over and over.

The Sebastian St. Cyr Mysteries are set in Regency England (think Jane Austen) but instead of just portraying the glittering, beautiful upper-classes this series also delves into the darker side of England’s upper class, that wealth, privilege and power can corrupt and allow people to get away with their crimes. But that is where our protagonist Sebastian, as part of the nobility, can investigate his peers that are above the reach of the people who aren’t in the same social strata. The series begins with Sebastian accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Along the way, readers meet people who help and become indispensable to Sebastian throughout the series.

I love this series for a variety of reasons. The first one is the historical settings in each of the novels. The author includes various true historical events from the Regency period that are incorporated into the story and plot. The author has a background in history and it clearly shows in her novels, she does a great job of intertwining the fictional and the true. At times it was like a springboard to learn about different historical events.

The second thing that I love about the series is also my favorite thing from the novels: the characters. They are incredibly fleshed out (haha) and are made three dimensional and complex with their emotions. Throughout the series, readers discover the motivations behind the characters as you keep reading the series. This book series is definitely a character-driven one almost as much as it is driven by the mystery.

The relationships between the characters is also a reason I love the series. spoilers Especially the relationship between Sebastian and Hero. Their beginning is rough but they eventually overcome their initial animosity and end up realizing that they make quite a team.

Honestly, I have to admit that the mysteries aren’t exactly what drives me to read these novels, the aforementioned reasons are the real reason I read these series. But as this is a mystery series I figured I should probably discuss the mysteries. The mysteries are usually very good and addicting enough to keep me reading. Occasionally, however, the mysteries can get a little-overcomplicated leading to a lengthy explanation or rather the infamous an info dump. But on the whole, the mysteries are intriguing.

This series is a favorite of mine and has become something of a comfort read for when I need a palate cleanser, break a reading slump or to just as a pick me up. I would recommend this as a good place to start with mysteries, especially for any romance reader. 5/5 stars.

First Book: What Angels Fear 

September TBR

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So its been a little while since I posted anything. But I’m back and will be *fingers crossed* updating consistently. Here’s what I hope to read in the month of September.

  1. Hondo by Louis L’Amour
  2. The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself
  3. The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers
  4. The Life of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir
  5. Of Wolves and Men by Barry Lopez