Imaginary Books: The Gentleman’s Book of Vices and The Princess Bride

30 Nov

I’ve seen it called literary inception. Could there be anything more relatable for a book lover than a story centered around a character’s love for literature even if those books themselves don’t exist? Two spins on this I recently enjoyed were The Gentleman’s Book of Vices and The Princess Bride.

The Gentleman’s Book of Vices
by Jess Everlee

Set in London in 1883, The Gentleman’s Book of Vices, has protagonist Charlie Price counting the days towards an arranged marriage which he needs to pay off his debts. He takes solace in his naughty novel collection and when he decides to track down the secret author of his favorite; he finds actual sparks with the author/bookstore owner, Miles Montague. Miles’s novels always end in tragedy for its protagonists; can he and Charlie make a happy life together in a time when their love is forbidden? Though the novel is fairly predictable as romances go, the charming characters made this a fun read. I liked that Charlie’s bride found her own happily ever after as well. The novel is the first in the Lucky Lovers of London series. I received an advance copy from the publisher and Netgalley.

The Princess Bride
by William Goldman

Many people may be familiar with the Princess Bride in its movie form. Terrific casting and acting has made that story a romantic comedy classic. But the novel that the film is based on is also worth a read. We read it as part of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Discussion Club and many of the group shared stories about their first reads of the book but agreed that it held up for them over the years. One difference from the movie is the framing is that of a man recounting a book he loved as a child from the perspective of the author retelling a translation of the story, compared with the movie which shows a grandfather reading the book to his sick grandson. However, Buttercup and her long suffering farm boy Wesley, still fall in love and then are tragically separated. Adventures ensue with Buttercup being kidnapped and then forced to marry. Villains and heroes turn out not to be who they seem. It is as much a love letter to fairy tale romances as it is a parody of them.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services Manager

Like a Blanket on a Chilly Day: Legends & Lattes

23 Nov

Cozy stories are something that have been around for quite some time, Agatha Christie pioneered the cozy mystery genre with her work. For some time, it was often the mystery genre that was usually associated with the concept of a cozy story, many of them featuring covers with cats, dogs, quilts, cookies, and other such things associated with being comfy. Lately, however, other genres have begun to take on this subgenre and one of the books leading the cinnamon scented charge is  Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree.

Leading our cast of characters is Viv, an orgeress and warrior who decides to retire from her life in adventuring and open a coffee shop in the hopes of living out the rest of her days in quiet contentment, carrying with her a mysterious stone said to bring luck and fortune to whoever holds it. Through her we meet the rest of the cast and her journey bringing her coffee shop to life.

Baldree’s writing is as charming as it is whimsical, keeping each chapter interesting while still working at a pace that goes with the vibe the novel sets. It’s a dash of slice-of-life, but still with all the hallmarks of a fantasy novel that may remind some of the old fantasy cartoons of old. 

The characters also add their own flare and spice to the story, from the timid mouse Thimble to the spirited Tandry, they all add to the overarching plot and stakes (albeit very low stakes) of this book. Each one is interesting without disrupting the mellow vibe of the book and yes, this book does have its villain and mischief makers.  The descriptions of the food and beverages served at the title’s namesake cafe will leave you wishing Thimble would write a cookbook with all of the delectable goodies that he bakes throughout the story.

The warmth and charm of this book is one that will leave you craving coffee and cinnamon rolls while still providing you a comforting sense of adventure that feels very much like a blanket on a chilly winter day.

Written by:
Lauren Lapinski
Information and Digital Services Assistant

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