Degrees of Affection

That Are Properly Due to Books. Compulsive bookworm and bibliophile.

Darcy and Fitzwilliam: A Tale of a Gentleman and an Officer

Darcy and Fitzwilliam: A tale of a gentleman and an officer - Karen V. Wasylowski

I've owned this book for...years (wow, far longer than I thought by at least a couple of years!) but I'd never read it before now. It both was and wasn't what I was expecting.


The book is broken into three sections: Darcy, The Colonel, and the Family. The first two sections focus on Darcy after his marriage and the issues he and Elizabeth face surrounding that (Aunt Catherine, a baby, etc.) and Colonel Fitzwilliam as he deals with what war has done to him mentally and emotionally as well as finally finds a woman he can't live without. The last wraps up the situations both face as well as other elements.


I can't in good conscience recommend this book. The attempts to make it sound contemporary me, nonexistent and there were several plot points that I found...implausible is a kind word.


Yet I loved this book. I've not laughed so hard at an Austen-esque book since Austen herself. Yes, some of the characters were a bit (more than a bit OOC though there were reasons given, but this book shocked loud laughs out of me again and again.

The best had to be when Lady Catherine and Marie Fitzherbert (the Prince regent's wife whose marriage was dissolved by George III) stage a noble raid on a woman who is trying to sever all ties between the woman Fitzwilliam loves and her child from her first marriage. How they get her to change her mind is hilarious and worth the read by itself.

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There were also some truly poignant moments. I've never seen a P&P pastiche deal to a such a degree with Col. Fitzwilliam's profession and the toll that would take on him.


So while I say try this only if it sounds really interesting to you (or like me, you have to try basically every P&P pastiche once), this is basically one of my guilty pleasures.

Meow If It's Murder (Nick and Nora # 1)

Meow If It's Murder - T.C. LoTempio

I'll confess: I picked this up because it pays homage to the Thin Man movies. Yep, that's the whole reason this book ever found a home in my library bag. Oh, I might have read it eventually (I'm slowly picking my way through the cozy mysteries) but I would have held off for a bit. And no matter how much I love the Magical Cats Mysteries, I'm still leery at times when animals come into the picture. They can either be done right (the previous mentioned series and The Cat Who series) or really wrong (All Fudged Up).

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Sorry everyone.

So once again, I've gone a couple weeks disconnected from Booklikes. The past few weeks have been...not quite as bad as last year but rather close. I have read a few books and will be typing there reviews up as soon as I can. I have also read the Harry Potter chapters I'm suppose to and have my thoughts down. I'll be putting out those chapter posts as soon as I can get those thoughts typed out.


Sorry you guys. For someone medically fine, I sure don't feel like it.


Harry Potter - Chapter By chapter: Philospher's Stone - Chapter 1

Harry Potter Boxed Set (Harry Potter, #1-5) - J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Book 1 - Pottermore from J.K. Rowling, J.K. Rowling, Jim  Dale

As the page turns invited me to join in this in depth reread. I'm very excited because I've been wanting to do this for awhile. It's taken me a while to get this together but hopefully these will come out more regularly.


Chapter 1: The Boy Who Lived


I can remember picking up this book (though it was of course an US version) in the summer between my Sophomore and Junior year of High School. My Biology teacher knew how much I liked to read and couldn't believe I'd never read the Harry Potter series. She arrived at my doorstep four days after school let out with her box set of the first four books and said I was not to give them back to her until school started, when I had her for another class. Could anyone have said no to that? So I figured, I'd read them quick and at least answer truthfully I'd read them. See, I didn't buy into the hype.


In four days I'd read all of them. By the end of the week, I'd read them again. By the end of the summer, I'd read them four times apiece and could barely return them to her.


All of this was to explain to you what won me over: this chapter. I've long considered this to be one of the best introductory chapters I've ever read. Within only a few pages, we are moved from the mundane world we know (though it takes place in England, Rowlings keeps things very generic) to the threshold of a new and strange one. Do we get an info dump? No. Everything moves smoothly and we don't really understand much but we know enough. So that when chapter two opens with Harry completely in the dark, the reader is in the position to know that more is going on. For the rest of the series we learn about the world with Harry but for this moment, we know just a bit more.



Stuff I noticed and figured out:



  • Bonfire Night = Guy Fawlks night. Didn't know that before
  • Stopping here, I felt just a twinge of sympathy for the Dursleys. Now that's completely eroded by what they will do in the future. But with what we know now, you can't help but think about the ordered life and the curve ball sitting on their very step.
  • Does nobody question Dumbledore leaving a child (one that presumably can move around and get into mischief) on a doorstep? I mean really. Discounting that fact that he's a Headmaster and McGonagall's a teacher (which makes this worse IMO), this is a stupid idea and I don't care how old or powerful he is. Say something!
  • Of course, the motorbike is Sirius Black's, who we know is very connected with Harry.
  • Dumbledore doesn't fear Voldemort; Voldemort fears Dumbledore. = D doesn't fear death; V fears death. I'm not sure where I'm going with this but I just noticed this parallel this time around.



Spoilers for whole series



This is my first reread since the final book came out. And Dumbledore's insistence on saying You-Know-Who's name really bothered me. We had the idea hammered into our heads that fear of the name increases fear of the thing itself. And I completely agree. Especially when facing evil, you don't sugarcoat it and give it a pretty name. Call it what it is. Face it and conquer it. Letting that rule you is basically handing your freedom of speech over without even a whimper.


But with the last book, we learn that Voldemort knows when he's name is spoken and sends his Death Eaters to kill anyone who does so. First, I have to give him the applause due him, this is a great scare tactic.  But not everyone is as powerful as Dumbledore. While I still stand by what I said above and truly believe people in the Wizarding World should have said his name, you have to be smart about it. Aurors could have used this as a trap. That would have curtailed it quick. But for the average person...that's a choice they have to make. And when you're family is the one who will pay, I can't say what's the right answer. So many people have and are making this choice and it galls me a bit that he would ignore the issues the average wizard has to deal with.

(show spoiler)



On the reading front, I read my UK version (yes, I do own the first five in the UK version rather than the Scholastic - I don't like changing such hard to understand Britishisms as Moterbike and Sherbert Lemon) and then listened to the wonderful Jim Dale audiobook. Not only did it help me pick out the differences but how I read things versus how he did helped me rethink things.



Sorry if this is a bit rushed. I've had most of this disappear twice - when Booklikes went down and then when my computer decided to shut off for no reason - so I'm going to post it before anything else happens.


As the page turns post on Chapter One: here.

Google's Doodle!

If you haven't checked out today's doodle, you need to. It's for Clara Rockmore's 105th Birthday and you get to play a bit with a Theremin. I've always loved the sound the instrument makes but it's even more amazing if you learn the science and history behind it.



Book haul for the last couple of weeks - 2/27-3/9 2016

It's been an abundance of riches in the book department around here. Both from the library and a few purchases, there have been far too many books begging for my attention.


Library Books:



The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland - Jim DeFedeEvery Trick in the Book - Lucy ArlingtonMeow If It's Murder - T.C. LoTempioA Disguise to Die For - Diane VallereSnow White Red-Handed (A Fairy Tale Fatal Mystery) - Maia Chance



Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies - Alastair BonnettA is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie - Kathryn HarkupFront Cover: Great Book Jackets and Cover Design - Alan PowersBizarre Books - Russell Ash, Brian LakeSalt to the Sea - Ruta Sepetys, Jorjeana Marie, Will Damron, Cassandra Morris, Michael CrouchFrom Mother Goose to Dr. Seuss: Children's Book Covers 1880-1960 - Harold Darling, Seymour ChwastWe Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy: Two Nursery Rhymes with Pictures - Maurice Sendak

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Snow White Red-Handed - Never Again

Snow White Red-Handed (A Fairy Tale Fatal Mystery) - Maia Chance

Warning: gif has strong language

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Reading progress update: I've read 196 out of 336 pages.

Snow White Red-Handed (A Fairy Tale Fatal Mystery) - Maia Chance


Well, I'm over half way through.




The sheer stupidity of these characters...



The obviousness of the fairy tale elements that everyone is apparently ignoring so that it will seem surprising when it's revealed. (Spoiler: It Wasn't!)


And the book still isn't over!!!


Reading progress update: I've listened 210 out of 564 minutes.

If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home - Lucy Worsley, Anne Flosnik

We're currently covering how bathrooms and the idea of bathing changed throughout much of English history.


We've covered bedrooms (which weren't really private for quite some time), underwear, closets, sex, and more. It's quite interesting but I can tell I should buy the book. Much of these I'll want to be able to refer to again.

Reading progress update: I've read 23 out of 336 pages.

Snow White Red-Handed (A Fairy Tale Fatal Mystery) - Maia Chance

So, I attempted to read this last year and this is what happened. I said last time I would try again in a year I am. I had actually forgotten how little I cared for it.


And then I started reading it.




I'm going to try to get at least to where we see some actually plot but I'm not holding my breath.


BBC Radio Book of the Week: Benjamin Franlkin in London (3/6/2016)

A big thank you to Bettie's Books for posting about this five episode series! I will confess, I'm not a huge fan of Franklin but I was intrigued enough to listen for one reason.


There is a series of mystery books with Franklin as the detective set during this time. Benjamin Franklin Takes the Case (The Benjamin Franklin Mysteries) (Pine Street Books) - Robert Lee HallBenjamin Franklin and a Case of Christmas Murder - Robert Lee Hall


I only own the second one (there are others I think) but they are really quite good. I've always loved the characters in here: his housekeeper, her daughter Polly, etc. Well, turns out, thanks to the radio adaptation of the book, I learned they were real people! A great deal that I learned from these books proves to be fact. That's what I love about historical fiction, you can learn while reading for pleasure. If anyone's interested, another real figure that appears in the series is Sir John Fielding, I highly recommend them.


The radio series was really good and very easy to listen to. Franklin actually would have preferred to stay in London as he enjoyed the intellectual company he hung out with.


There are only a few days left if you are interested to listen to it:

His Good Opinion: A Mr. Darcy Novel

His Good Opinion: A Mr. Darcy Novel - Nancy Kelley

I think I've read too many of these. I spent the entire time convinced I'd read this before and yet every time the original parts surprised me (as much as they could within the framework of source material). All in all, I found this to be a decent pastiche but nothing spectacular.


This novel falls into the category of P&P from Darcy's POV. It starts out, of course, with Ramsgate and we see some of Georgiana's struggles after the aborted elopment. Darcy is practically packed off to Netherfield by his cousin in order for him to get some distance and so that his sister can heal.


We see how he perceives Elizabeth's teasing and because of this, her refusal is a complete surprise. And we see how hard he works to conquer his pride and try to correct the faults she threw in his face.


I tend to like these type of pastiches, though some are stronger than others. Here, the author stayed very true to the original source but managed to expand beyond it. One of the best parts was that Colonel Fitzwilliam gets a much bigger role and we get to see how much he means to the Darcy family. I loved seeing how he totally knew Darcy loved Elizabeth and goaded him a bit while at Rosings.


A quick and easy read, my biggest issue with this book was the style of writing and vocabulary. While nothing stuck out, it also didn't really read as contemporary to Austen. Now the author also didn't do anything crazy like have Darcy and Elizabeth make out before their marriage, so I'm willing to forgive a lot just for that.

My Hero Academia Vol 1

My Hero Academia, Vol. 1 - Kohei Horikoshi, Caleb D. Cook

This. This was exactly what I needed last year. I couldn't seem to read anything, so anime was my staple. But I kept hearing everyone sing the praises of this new series, so I had to give it try. Superheroes in manga/anime seems to be a thing now. Not too long ago, Tiger and Bunny came out. Now, One-Punch Man and My Hero Academia have come out roughly at the same time. I've only read the last but if the others are as good as this one, I may finally jump on the Superhero bandwagon!


Our hero, Izuku Midoriya, lives in a world where 80% of the population has a "quirk," a superhero ability that can range from water, gigantism, explosions, and even stranger ones. With so many people holding powerful abilities, the police forces were unable to handle them and so some rose up to take the mantle of hero and keep the peace. The best known hero, All Might, is Midoriya's personal hero as well. He wants to save people with a smile just as All Might does. There's just one problem. Midoriya is one of the rare 20% born quirkless. How can someone without powers ever be a hero?

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Murder By Candlelight: The Gruesome Slayings Behind Our Romance With the Macabre

Murder by Candlelight: The Gruesome Slayings Behind Our Romance With the Macabre - Jonathan Yen, Michael Knox Beran

Err. I don't really know what to say about this book. Really.



Because the audiobook went in one ear and out the other. I remember bits and pieces but it resembled nothing so much as a continuous noise you slowly cease to be able to hear.


Part of it was that I never could quite catch the flow of the text. The idea...I think...was to come at the rise in interest of murder during the Victorian times (and slightly before) from a romantic, almost poetic view. The author framed the cases, many of them the exact same ones covered by Lucy Worsley in The Art of the English Murder, around Thomas de Quincy. It was an interesting take...but I never seemed to reach the point of it all.


Now, I was listening to this at the same time (not reading and listening at once but going back and forth) as The Science of Sherlock Holmes, so it could be I kept confusing the two and simply remember the one I took notes on. But while they shared some similarities, none of it really overlapped at any one time. And wouldn't one be more likely to enforce the other if they covered similar information?


I'm tempted to say this simply isn't a book to be listened to. And while I think there's truth to that, I don't believe it was the only reason. Certainly the narrator was not by any means the worst I've found. I've gotten through truly monotone narrators and still remembered the information.


No, I think some of the fault lies with the writing itself but how much, I don't know. I do plan to attempt this again but read it the next time. But that won't be anytime soon. I may be interested in what the author has to say, but I need to forget how I first encountered it.

Shaun the Sheep: The Beast of Soggy Moor

Shaun the Sheep: The Beast of Soggy Moor (Tales from Mossy Bottom Farm) - Martin Howard, Andy Janes


If you haven't watched Shaun the Sheep, you should. A spin-off of Wallace and Gromit, it's extremely funny, with great characters and crazy hi-jinks. My favorite character has to be Shirley. Containing everything from pop culture references (particularly in the movie) to invading Alpacas, you never know quite what's going to happen. There is no real dialogue besides baas, other animal noises, and grunts from the farmer but they don't need it. The faces and situations tell you everything.


Still, I wasn't sure what to expect from a book with these characters; I only knew I had to give it a try when I saw it in my library.

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The Science of Sherlock Holmes

The Science of Sherlock Holmes: From Baskerville Hall to the Valley of Fear, the Real Forensics Behind the Great Detective's Greatest Cases - E.J. Wagner

Finally! This book has waited too long. First it languished on my TBR list for...3+ years and then when I at last sit down to read it, it took forever. In my defense, I think I read this at exactly the right time. I knew many of the cases by name (from The Art of the English Murder and others) and I'd read other books dealing with the history of forensics. So I knew there were going to be some difficult parts.


You could tell Wagner taught these subjects. There is a clear sense of time spent with the information and that she knows how to get to the necessary parts quickly but in a way the reader can understand. My biggest complaint is that Holmes seemed to fall by the wayside. Oh, there were mentions of him throughout each chapter but I feel like the information overwhelmed his presence. I think, personally, that was from the author's great presentation but still, I picked this up for Holmes. She did show how some of the cases might have influenced (and I think, given the corresponding elements, did) Doyle and the stories. The Kent murder mirrors The Sussex Vampire story quite a bit.


The chapter though, were grueling. Wagner describes a Victorian morgue in such detail, I swear I could smell it. I felt like it was a test from the author. If you made it through that segment, you could handle the rest. Switching to superstitious myths of black dogs almost gave me mental whiplash.


With a glossary in the back and an extensive bibliography, this is the type of non-fiction book I look for. The author doesn't pull in punches or consider the reader stupid, but writes so that a layman can understand.


If you have an interest in forensic science, the history of crime and famous cases, or just want to learn where Holmes stood in his time period, this is a great book. Just be warned if you have a weak stomach; there are some segments in here that are a bit more than you may be bargaining for.



Reading Updates (contains lots of notes and links to famous cases):





Currently reading

If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home
Lucy Worsley, Anne Flosnik
Progress: 210/564 minutes
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Book 1
Pottermore from J.K. Rowling, J.K. Rowling, Jim Dale
Progress: 29/513 minutes
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
J.K. Rowling
Progress: 18/223 pages
The Great Detective: The Amazing Rise and Immortal Life of Sherlock Holmes
Zach Dundas

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