The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches [BOOK REVIEW]

Book Reviews

Around this time last year, I reviewed the fifth instalment of the Flavia de Luce mysteries (Speaking from Among the Bones). The ending of that novel was so gripping that I couldn’t wait for the sixth instalment to come out and it finally has!

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Alan Bradley is an honest-to-goodness genius when it comes to Flavia de Luce. She is one character I cannot get enough of — smart, brave, curious and always up to no good (and yet she has the best intentions at heart)! What I loved about this novel was how it stayed mostly at Buckshaw, how the characters came to Flavia instead of her peddling her way through the entire village. I loved how you got into the core of each of the de Luce’s, how you got to see a different side of them because you got to witness something that is so close to their hearts.

Bishop’s Lacey is never short of two things: mysteries to solve and pre-adolescent detectives to solve them. In this New York Times bestselling series of cozy mysteries, young chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce once again brings her knowledge of poisons and her indefatigable spirit to solve the most dastardly crimes the English countryside has to offer, and in the process, she comes closer than ever to solving her life’s greatest mystery–her mother’s disappearance. . .

I admit *SPOILER* that I was truly disappointed when Flavia’s mother returned to Buckshaw in a coffin instead of walking on her own two feet. I was truly saddened for Flavia, I wanted her to meet her mother so desperately that I was brought to tears a few times while reading. But then… the mystery overtakes you and you nearly forget your sadness… because with Flavia, there is always a corpse nearby and a mystery to be solved! This mystery has to be my favourite by a long shot, it is so detailed, calculated, and intertwined that you have no idea where it’s going to take you next. You’re on the same page as Flavia the entire time. Each clue adds a little confusion and excitement, but not to worry, everything is always settled in the end. There are no loose ends, just new beginnings, and new tomorrows…

“What are we going to do, Dogger?”

It seemed a reasonable question. After all he had been through, surely Dogger knew something of hopeless situations.

“We shall wait upon tomorrow,” he said.

“But–what if tomorrow is worse than today?”

“Then we shall wait upon the day after tomorrow.”

“And so forth?” I asked.

“And so forth,” Dogger said.

It was comforting to have an answer, even one I didn’t understand. I must have looked skeptical.

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PLEASE TELL ME THERE IS GOING TO BE A BOOK #7?!

I’m not ready to say goodbye to this sleuth!

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

Disclosure: I chose The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches from a list of Random House Canada titles and received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Quote: Page 273 of The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches

Synopsis: Random House of Canada

Photos: MY PEN, MY VOICE and living in the kingdom of too much 

Post edited by: Grammarly

“And I realize that mystery is the catalyst for imagination.”

Bursting the Bubble, film, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

Lately I’ve been watching, reading, and searching for things to inspire me, to open up my mind, to get my brain going. The other day I watched one of J.J. Abrams TEDTalks on Netflix where he discussed this box.

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When he was a kid he bought this $15 magic mystery box, which contained $50 worth of magic, with his grandfather. He has never opened the box. He keeps it in his office and looks at it often. He loves what the box represents – mystery, the unknown, potential, possibilities. It’s the not-knowing that intrigues him.

The night after I watched his talk, I was bullied into watching Castaway with my dad. There I was confronted with another unopened box, this one representing hope, faith, and grace.

What’s in the box and why am I being surrounded by unopened boxes?

Why is everything a mystery? 

Aren’t I supposed to be thinking OUTSIDE the box?!?! 

Needless to say I’ve been Googling the possibilities of what is in either of these unopened boxes and I’ve stumbled on some pretty creative answers. I’ve even written my own list of what could be inside that FedEx box because I gotsta knowwwww. I’m at the mercy of these mysteries but that’s where the magic begins. My mind is exploding with possibilities.

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Because really, the possibilities are endless.

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

*The title of this post is a quote from the transcript of J.J. Abrams TedTalk*

"For some unknown but surely stupid reason, I felt sure things would be all right."

Book Reviews, Just for Fun

My latest Random House Read is The Child’s Child by Barbara Vine (BARBARA VINE is a pseudonym for Ruth Rendell).

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Never in all my life have I been so torn by a character. Let me explain, The Child’s Child is a book within a book, a story within a story. The lives of a brother and sister who lived many years ago (John and Maud) mirroring the lives of a brother and sister of 2011 (Grace and Andrew). Maud, the most talked about character, really stumped me. Maud is a hypocrite and to an ugly extent. Because of this, I didn’t know whether to pity her or hate her – I certainly didn’t love her, as you can see from my goodreads updates below.

photoHowever I did enjoy meeting Grace, Andrew, Hope, and James. I despised Bertie from the moment he was introduced and I felt deeply sorry for John – a wonderfully romantic man who constantly strived to do the right thing. This novel is about betrayal and deception. It’s about having to lie to escape different kinds of persecution. It’s about the pain one must endure when they live a lie and the consequences they face when a lie turns out to do more harm than good.

I learned a lot from this novel and I am thankful that I have never endured the things that some of these characters went through. I am thankful that I read this novel. A fair warning to you all, it is slower than I expected for a mystery BUT it’s completely worth it. The pace of this novel kept the suspense alive, the descriptions were wonderfully haunting, and the characters really made me think. What more could you ask for in a book?

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Love Always
Vanessa Xo
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Synopsis (from the Random House of Canada Limited website)
When their grandmother dies, Grace and Andrew Easton inherit her sprawling, book-filled London home, Dinmont House. Rather than sell it, the adult siblings move in together, splitting the numerous bedrooms and studies. The arrangement is unusual, but ideal for the affectionate pair — until the day Andrew brings home a new boyfriend. A devilishly handsome novelist, James Derain resembles Cary Grant, but his strident comments about Grace’s doctoral thesis soon puncture the house’s idyllic atmosphere. When he and Andrew witness their friend’s murder outside a London nightclub, James begins to unravel, and what happens next will change the lives of everyone in the house.
 
Just as turmoil sets in at Dinmont House, Grace escapes into reading a manuscript — a long-lost novel from 1951 called The Child’s Child — never published, owing to its frank depictions of an unwed mother and a homosexual relationship. The book is the story of two siblings born a few years after World War One. This brother and sister, John and Maud, mirror the present-day Andrew and Grace: a homosexual brother and a sister carrying an illegitimate child. Acts of violence and sex will reverberate through their stories.
The Child’s Child is an ingenious novel-within-a-novel about family, betrayal, and disgrace. A master of psychological suspense, Ruth Rendell, writing as Barbara Vine, takes us where violence and social taboos collide. She shows how society’s treatment of those it once considered undesirable has changed — and how sometimes it hasn’t.

“Just the habits of a copper who’s found it pays to trust nobody.”

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

I just finished Beware this Boy by Maureen Jennings (my latest Random House read). As I’m not an avid reader of Mystery I thought it might be nice to give it a try.

“The telephone clicked off, leaving Tyler to hang onto that morsel of news like a starving man, (page 13).

That’s how I felt throughout the entire novel, I clung onto every story, every character, every morsel of evidence, and felt hungry for more. I felt sorry for Jack and the situation that the war thrust him into, I was in awe of the strength and unity of the Abbott family, and I was truly moved by the depiction of Birmingham in 1940. There is much to say about this novel but I don’t want to give anything away. It felt like 294 pages of the game Clue and I enjoyed every moment of it.

I don’t know if I can say this for all Mystery novels but I liked the fact that I didn’t feel the need to underline important quotes or find the meaning of life – I was too sucked in by the plot to do so. Sometimes I feel so drained at the end of a novel because I try my very hardest to get something from it that will change and impact my life. Today I wondered, whatever happened to reading a book just for the pleasure of a good great story? Beware this Boy allowed me to do just that, enjoy an addicting, wonderful, emotional story.

“‘I exchanged only happinesses.’ Tyler thought he meant pleasantries, but he rather liked Wolf’s version.” (Page 105)

I quite like that line.

Today let’s exchange happinesses instead of the small-talk of day-to-day life.

Love Always
Vanessa Xo
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Synopsis (from the Random House of Canada Limited website)
November, 1940. Tom Tyler, Detective Inspector of the small Shropshire town of Whitchurch, is a troubled man. The preceding summer had been a dark one for Britain, and even darker for Tom’s own family and personal life. So he jumps at the opportunity to help out in the nearby city of Birmingham, where an explosion in a munitions factory has killed or badly injured several of the young women who have taken on dangerous work in support of the war effort.

 

At first, it seems more than likely the explosion was an accident, and Tom has only been called in because the forces are stretched thin. But as he talks to the employees of the factory, inner divisions — between the owner and his employees, between unionists and workers who fear communist infiltration — begin to appear. Put that together with an AWOL young soldier who unwittingly puts all those he loves at risk and a charming American documentary filmmaker who may be much more than he seems, and you have a page-turning novel that bears all the hallmarks of Maureen Jennings’ extraordinary talent: a multi-faceted mystery, vivid characters, snappy dialogue, and a pitch-perfect sense of the era of the Blitz, when the English were pushed to their limits and responded with a courage and resilience that still inspires.