Book Talk: My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier

Book Talk: My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du MaurierMy Cousin Rachel Narrator: Jonathan Pryce
Length: 11 hrs, 57 mins
Published by Hachette Audio on September 16, 2014
Genres: Classics, Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
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Orphaned at an early age, Philip Ashley is raised by his benevolent older cousin, Ambrose. Resolutely single, Ambrose delights in Philip as his heir, a man who will love his grand home as much as he does himself. But the cosy world the two construct is shattered when Ambrose sets off on a trip to Florence. There he falls in love and marries - and there he dies suddenly.

Jealous of his marriage, racked by suspicion at the hints in Ambrose's letters, and grief-stricken by his death, Philip prepares to meet his cousin's widow with hatred in his heart.

Despite himself, Philip is drawn to this beautiful, sophisticated, mysterious Rachel like a moth to the flame. And yet . . . might she have had a hand in Ambrose's death?

Though I’ve owned a copy of Rebecca for years, and it’s been recommended to me by various friends for YEARS (hi, Heather!), My Cousin Rachel was my first Du Maurier novel. And, frankly, I’d never heard of it. But I was looking for an audiobook, and I do so love British narrators, so I thought I’d give it a go. Du Maurier mostly lived up to and exceeded my expectations, especially for a novel that’s not regarded as her best.


Book Talk: Menagerie & Spectacle by Rachel Vincent

Book Talk: Menagerie & Spectacle by Rachel VincentMenagerie by Rachel Vincent
Series: Menagerie #1
Published by Harlequin MIRA on October 1, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 480
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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From New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent comes a richly imagined, provocative new series set in the dark mythology of the Menagerie…

When Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, Metzger's Menagerie, she is an ordinary woman in a not-quite-ordinary world. But under the macabre circus big-top, she discovers a fierce, sharp-clawed creature lurking just beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, Delilah is stripped of her worldly possessions, including her own name, as she's forced to "perform" in town after town.

But there is breathtaking beauty behind the seamy and grotesque reality of the carnival. Gallagher, her handler, is as kind as he is cryptic and strong. The other "attractions"—mermaids, minotaurs, gryphons and kelpies—are strange, yes, but they share a bond forged by the brutal realities of captivity. And as Delilah struggles for her freedom, and for her fellow menagerie, she'll discover a strength and a purpose she never knew existed.

Renowned author Rachel Vincent weaves an intoxicating blend of carnival magic and startling humanity in this intricately woven and powerful tale.

Trigger warning: for pretty much everything, but especially sexual assault

Menagerie and Spectacle were such great and terrible reads for 2017. They’re books soaked in rage at the government and the patriarchy, and there’s something not-so-oddly satisfying about those sorts of reads during this Orwellian era. There’s rape and racism, and prepare to spend basically all of the book incandescently infuriated, which you’re meant to be. Unsurprisingly, they’re also deeply unsettling and uncomfortable.


Discussion: Sharing Pop Culture

Do you guys know about that hokey Five Love Languages thing? It’s actually pretty interesting, albeit a bit oversimplified. It’s basically about what it is that makes you feel loved and how you show your love: through acts of service (doing things for the other person), touch, quality time, words of affirmation, or gifts. There’s a quiz on the site for it, if you want to sign up, but the questions are really easy to see through, kind of like the Harry Potter house quizzes where it’s like “Do your friends call you:  1) Conniving, 2) Brave, 3) Clever, or 4) Nice?” Still, it can actually be a pretty helpful lens through which to evaluate relationships. Like, if you feel loved by receiving gifts but your partner doesn’t like giving gifts, that could be a problem.

However, I feel like my love language, for how I express my love, is sharing my favorite pop culture with people I care about. Recommending books, movies, TV shows and music that I think the person will enjoy too.


Book Talk: Moonraker by Ian Fleming

Book Talk: Moonraker by Ian FlemingMoonraker by Ian Fleming
Length: 7 hrs, 28 mins
Series: James Bond #3
Published by Blackstone Audio on August 27, 2014
Genres: Thriller, Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
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The Moonraker project has a millionaire backer, the war hero Sir Hugo Drax—a man who, it seems, cheats at cards. With a ballistic rocket at stake, Sir Hugo’s exposure could threaten Britain’s latest defense system, so James Bond is asked to investigate. Moving from London’s most exclusive gambling club to a missile silo on the Channel coast, 007 and his Special Branch assistant, Gala Brand, discover there’s more to Drax than meets the eye.

It will shock absolutely no one to hear that I’m not a big James Bond fan. I do like the Daniel Craig Casino Royale, but otherwise I mostly just enjoy the theme songs to some of the movies. They’re such male fantasies, complete with objectification of women and a lack of emotion, that I really just cannot. I’ve read the novels of Casino Royale and Live and Let Die, the first of which I mostly liked and the latter of which I hated. Though I didn’t have serious plans to continue the series, I was suckered in by the celebrity narration, because that is very Christina approved. Moonraker‘s nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be, but it wasn’t great either.


Size Doesn’t Matter (213): Practice Makes Perfect; Your Wicked Heart; That Scandalous Summer

Size Doesn’t Matter (213): Practice Makes Perfect; Your Wicked Heart; That Scandalous SummerPractice Makes Perfect by Julie James
Published by Berkley Sensation on March 3, 2009
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 291
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
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Behind closed doors, they're laying down the law.

When it comes to the laws of attraction...

Payton Kendall and J.D. Jameson are lawyers who know the meaning of objection. A feminist to the bone, Payton has fought hard to succeed in a profession dominated by men. Born wealthy, privileged, and cocky, J.D. has fought hard to ignore her. Face-to-face, they're perfectly civil. They have to be. For eight years they have kept a safe distance and tolerated each other as coworkers for one reason: to make partner at the firm.

...There are no rules.

But all bets are off when they're asked to join forces on a major case. Though apprehensive at first, they begin to appreciate each other's dedication to the law—and the sparks between them quickly turn into attraction. But the increasingly hot connection does not last long when they discover that only one of them will be named partner. Now it's an all-out war. And the battle between the sexes is bound to make these lawyers hot under the collar...

After I read and fucking loved The Hating Game, Practice Makes Perfect got recommended to me a lot as a read-a-like. On the surface, it certainly sounds like it should scratch similar itches, being another hate to love workplace romance. Practice Makes Perfect has a lot of great ratings from readers I usually agree with, but, you guys, I am decidedly not a fan. This book is nowhere near as good as The Hating Game.