Wanderings | Dublin: A Must BE

Dear fellow Babblers,

Welcome back to Wanderings, a project that I’ve embarked on beginning September 2017, upon my big move and lifestyle change from the United States (Los Angeles) to France (Burgundy region). My wanderlust and curiosity has been taking me between cities, cultures, countries and across boundaries. I’ve been challenged and inspired to take risks and never say “no”. And then there’s Dublin. I mean, come on, we all think the same thing at the the mention of this leprechaun, Lucky Charms city. No, not beer you sicko alcoholics. I’m thinking smiles! And with some chucky cheese smiles comes the epiphany “My dreams are coming true!”

I really have no more to say than that, okay, well maybe I do. It’s here in Dublin, with some of the emails and comments that I have been receiving lately due to the tone change in my blog that I realized that I am willing to risk and write as I feel and feel as I writ.e I feel when I travel and that is exactly what I am going to write. So, before we get into all that let me just say that the people in Dublin just “get it…” You get me ? I stayed in Dublin only for three days during my end of the year adventures back in December and if there was something that struck me more than the enchanting castles and sun-up sun-down weather pattern was the kindness and smiles drawn across people’s faces. And that’s why I here to tell y’all grouchy scrooges out there (*ahem* *ahem* EVIN) that if you’re planning a trip to this green and perky city there’s only one thing that you CANNOT even go past security without. And that is a smile.  Continue reading “Wanderings | Dublin: A Must BE”

ARC Review: The Beauty that Remains | Everything About this Beauty is B-E-A-Utiful

Title: The Beauty that Remains

Author: Ashley Woodfolk

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Expected Publication Date: March 06, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Mental Illness

Rating: 4 Stars

I received an ARC copy of The Beauty that Remains in exchange for an honest review. Thanks goes to NetGalley, as well as the Delacorte Press for this advanced copy which is expected to be released on March 06, 2018.

Dear fellow Babblers,

The Beauty that Remains is Ashley Woodfolk‘s debut novel, believe it or not. It is sure to be one of the greatest books of 2018 and that’s saying a lot given that we’ve barely walked into February. This is all that a contemporary reader looks for – LGBT awareness, suicide, depression, diversity. I’m still in awe over how deep this book has got to me. The expression and heartbreaking grief of this novel is breathtaking, as ironic as that may sound. Pain, love and struggle after loss spreads the lives of a group of teenagers who, initially seem only similarly by age and loss of a loved one, but it’s this love and loss that bring them together at the end. That, and of course, some good ‘ole rock and roll…  Continue reading “ARC Review: The Beauty that Remains | Everything About this Beauty is B-E-A-Utiful”

Share Your World meme | Is This Delphine’s World ???

Dear fellow Babblers,

It’s been a while since I had a heart-to-heart chit chat with y’all. Since my blog has undergone a shift from book reviews to include my new project, Wanderings, I’ve been feeling a bit lost and confused as to where I stand in the blogging community as well as in my life. Thinks are moving fast for me without really going anywhere. I write things without really meaning anything. I talk about things without really saying anything about them. I’ve been staring at this screen for the last couple hours, but if I’m being honest I’ve been staring at it for the last couple of days. If anything brings me peace and pieces me back together, if only for a short while, its writing to anyone here that still bothers to scroll through their feed and click and read through my dry, sometimes, but more often than not, babbles.

For that past few days I’ve been waking up at odd hours of the night due to some medical issues I’ve been dealing with and once I wake up, there’s no chance that I fall back to sleep again. During these quiet hours when the rest of my town is either sleeping or going through the same sickening nostalgia as I am, I go to my old soul playlists and spend the next five hours reading each and ever word I have ever written, be it on my blog or a document uncovered in my computer files. Some are lighthearted and quirky, but, more often than not, they are melancholic and reminiscent of a time where simplicity and innocence was all I ever knew.

For todays’ post I am going to share my world with y’all. I found this meme, “Share Your World” from one of my new favorite bloggers, Julie, a photographer and graphic artist. As most of my followers are book reviewers and/or wanderlust gypsies, I whole-heartedly recommend meandering over to her site and checking out all of her stunning photography, travel features, not to mention breathtaking art.

Especially as January is already coming to a close, it’s especially of value to me as a blogger and total lost pigeon to share my world, whatever my world is and by sharing it, maybe I’ll finally figure out what exactly my “world” even is…  Continue reading “Share Your World meme | Is This Delphine’s World ???”

Review: Murder in Little Shendon | Spitefully Slow, in Stuffy Ole’ Shendon

Title: Murder in Little Shendon

Author: A.H. Richardson

Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

Publication Date: August 28, 2015

Genre: Murder Mystery, Thriller

Rating: 4 Stars

I was recently sent Murder in Little Shendon by publicists in exchange for an honest review.

Dear fellow Babblers,

A.H. Richardson’s Murder in Little Shendon is an Agatha Christie murder mystery written in the hand of our beloved 40-page-sentence author, Marcel Proust. This means to say that this book is a murder mystery in the way that it is not so much the murder that is at heart of the entire story, but rather the way in which it is described – how the murder, it’s suspects, and everything and everyone in between are presented to the reader. Alternating points of view and perspectives lure the reader into the story where everything is no longer cookie-cutter perfect and all is amiss, inviting the reader to solve the inexplicable question: who killed ole’ Barholomew Fynche and does anyone really even care ?

Goodreads Review:

Picture, if you will, a picturesque village called Little Shendon, suddenly caught up in dealing with a murder of one of its citizens – not a particularly well-liked one at that. Which makes it all the more intriguing because the list of suspects becomes very long. This tantalizing tale unfolds with delightful twists and turns to find out whodunit to Mr. Bartholomew Fynche, the murdered shopkeeper. Fear grips the community as the investigation slowly progresses. Everyone is interviewed; everyone is suspect! From the murdered man’s housekeeper to Lady Armstrong, her staff and her nephew. Or could it be the shy librarian new in town? Or the defiant retired army major and his ladyfriend, the post mistress? Or perhaps the weird sisters who live on the edge of town? Then there is the couple who own the local inn and pub, along with the two Americans who are staying there? Even the vicar and his wife fall under the gloom of suspicion. Uncertainty, wariness, and terror reign as neighbors watch neighbors to discover the evil that permeates their upturned lives. No one feels safe in this charming little village. A.H. Richardson, noted author, places in your trembling hands a mystery murder that will keep you reading until you learn the details, uncovered by Police Inspector Stanley Burgess and his two amateur detectives, his friend Sir Victor Hazlitt and the famed Shakespearean actor Beresford Brandon. Scratch your head with them over the strange clues that turn up. Follow them as they tread carefully among the landmines that appear innocent as they lie hidden beneath the surface of mystery. Something evil skulks in this tiny country village. Who is the murderer? And why was this strange uncivil man dispatched in such a seemingly civil community? You are challenged to discover the culprit before the last few pages. And no fair looking ahead – it’s the journey that proves the most enticing.

Babble:

Set in a tiny, seemingly banal village called Shendon where all is expected to be right, a terrifying murder unfolds that brings a town together not for the mourning of a beloved inhabitant but rather as suspects of the murder of a brusque old man. In this post World War II British town Mr. Fynche is a sour antiques dealer but the reader never gets a chance to really get to know the guy as the story begins in the middle of things at the onset of his murder. Together with his trusted ally Sir Hazlitt and quirky actor buddy Beresford Brandon, local inspector Burgess traverse through the village, one by one questioning its inhabitants in order to discover the truth behind Mr. Fynche’s death. The three buddies split up, waking up a once gray and dreary town, spreading fire, spotlighting all everyone and anyone that they come across, determined not to miss a single detail of this sudden kill.

The novel quickly and suddenly alternates points of view between as multiple characters are introduced and made suspect, possibly villain in the story. Each character comes with a different past – their own story to tell, one way or another connecting them to the murder. Each have secrets, some more profoundly wicked than others. This is exactly what I found most appealing about the novel. The cook at Sir Victors aunt’s home is constantly fighting to keep still in the face of questions while a young newcomer evidently hides something that no one can guess but all can detect from her inscrutable manner. There are clues that the trio follows which bring them through twists, turns, and often back to where they started as they are lead to doubt what is being said and whom they should trust and believe is telling the truth and why others feel the need to lie. It was not so much the murder that drew me in, it was the flawlessness that the author displayed in using the murder as a way to study each and every person in the town. Richardson creates an accurate portrait as she takes the reader into the mind of the characters, revealing the secrets they keep, conflicts they are fighting, and the troubles that they have no choice but to confront with the unfolding of Mr. Fynche’s death. Each character has a story to tell and takes the reader along, back in time to the point where their secrets become their worst enemies.

The language is really old school, keeping up with the murder unraveling during the 1940’s. I particularly enjoyed this in the book, feeling as though I was reading into another time where everything was classic, different and the world was still suffering the consequences of the second world war.

If I have to give this book any negative feedback it would be the abrupt changes between first and third person, not to mention the random switches in perspective from one suspect to another. This made it at times hard to follow and keep up with what one suspect was saying, and differentiate it from what was actually going on in the book. As a result, I never really managed to feel as though I was in the story. I felt on the outside and never got the feeling that I could forget that I was simply reading a book. I also feel as though this book would have worked better were it formatted as a script rather than a novel with each scene taking the reader into the life of one of the characters. This would have solved the issues of distraction from the alternating time and character perspective. It also would have made the story far easier to connect with as each scene could have connected the suspect with their role in the murder, all-the-while canceling out issues of reliability and whether or not the suspect can even be trusted in solving the murder.

All the suspects’ stories lead up to the riveting, bone chilling and somehow unexpected reveal in the end: the merciless killer. The investigators finally get their answer, but this answer creates all the more questions which often go unanswered, creating ten more mysteries for ever one that is solved.

Murder in Little Shendon brings together the disturbed mind of Christie and the evocative descriptions of Proust to create an entirely new style of mystery, at the same time quick to form, slow to progress and difficult to resolve. This is a highly recommended story that rethinks what makes a murder mystery a murder mystery, no longer putting gruesome action first but instead reevaluating how it is described, rendering language and style more competent than story itself.

Yours Truly,

(Book image credits go to Goodreads)

ARC Review: The Book of Pearl | The Masterpiece of a Thousand Headaches


Title: The Book of Pearl

Author: Timothée de Fombelle, translated by Sarah Ardizzone  & Sam Gordon

Publisher: Candlewich Press

Expected Publication Date: February 6, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Rating: 2.5 Stars

I received an ARC copy of The Book of Pearl in exchange for an honest review. Thanks goes to NetGalley, as well as the translators of this edition, Sarah Ardizzone and Sam Gordon for this advanced copy which is expected to be released on February 06, 2018.

Dear fellow Babblers,

The NetGalley copy I read is actually a translation of Timothee de Fombelle’s original French, Le Livre de Perle, a well known book of fairytale and magic, being published back in 2014 by Gallimard Jeunesse.

The Book of Pearl is exactly as the title of this post suggest: a masterpiece of a thousand headaches. I really can’t describe this book in another, more precise way. So much happened that it does not cease to amaze me how the author was able to keep up with the overlapping times, characters and even worlds, and then somehow blur the initially disjointed stories together. Even turning the last page I’m at once amazed an in need of an excedrin. I’m just at a loss on how all the characters, events, and worlds, I repeat WORLDS, even happened all in different times but then by the end all became one. I’m not sure if this makes me a lazy reader or if anyone else who has dared read all 300 pages of this feels the same as bimbo Delphine over here.  Continue reading “ARC Review: The Book of Pearl | The Masterpiece of a Thousand Headaches”

Wanderings | 2018 To-Wander Itinerary

Dear fellow Babblers,

2017 was a year of great change, heartbreak and hope for me. I finally managed to leave the abuse of my past behind me as I worked on my health and illness. I managed to graduate with Latin Honors as well as make it on the deans list at UCLA, receiving a double bachelors in Comparative Literature and French, with a focus in Art History. I made the greatest decision of my life by leaving everything – mami, papi, Evin, Haruki, my books and basically all that has come to define me – behind and relocated to France. Up until this point in my life I have always considered myself a simple girl with a mean streak, pleased enough to spend weekends at home cuddled up with Haruki and some YA releases. Little did I know that by moving halfway across the world I would discover a soul, that was bursting to free itself from inside my very body.

Fast-moving, barely containable, heart skipping Wanderlust. From the moment I stepped out of Charles de Gaulle airport all but five months ago I have discovered, and continue to unravel the belly-aching yearning that I have suppressed for so long. I have been surviving off of story worlds and fictional figures which, all up until now, have quenching my desire for faraway places and gleaming possibilities. Until now, I have stood on the outside, blocked from life in these dreams by a blurred out screen preventing me from mattering. Wanderlust has given everything books, despite my love and attachment to them, has not: a new life of wandering, adventure and freedom to be who I always dreamed of: me.
New Years I was in Agadir, Morocco. I began 2018 as a Wanderer and, not to make any new years resolutions as I don’t follow such short-lived absurdity, I will, not plan, but will continue as my this new spirit has continued to spark inside of me.

2018 will be a year from beginning to end and into the years to come, as endless Wanderings and its my To-Wander Itinerary that I want to share with my fellow Babblers today as we are almost through January.  Continue reading “Wanderings | 2018 To-Wander Itinerary”

Wanderings | Amsterdam: Go, Just Go

Dear fellow Babblers,

If any of you read my earlier Wanderings article you’ll be well aware of my Belgian, or not so Belgian, visit to Brussels – complete with endless shots, cigarettes, and embarrassing moments vomiting on strangers in clubs that I, now having regained my sobriety, fail to remember apart from being escorted out rather aggressively by security.

Amsterdam: city of WWII history,bikes, Van Gogh and negative degree whether has brought back down to the daughter mami and papi raised – calm, sweet, art enthusiast and book nerd hermit, Delphine.

So, for today’s post I thought I would share with you all my innocent meanderings through this beautiful city as well as my brief day trip in Zaanse Schans, an adorable windmill town smelling of baked chocolate (for real though!) just north of Amsterdam.  Continue reading “Wanderings | Amsterdam: Go, Just Go”

Discussion: How Does the Blog Sparkleee

Dear fellow Babblers,

I’ve been writing on Delphine’s Babble on Some Good Reads for about seven months now. It has since then undergone some radical transformations from being a neutral place for book reviews, to also a personal diary onto which I expose my innermost raw thoughts to an insider travel manual. Lately, I’ve been doing some serious philosophical reflecting on this and what these changes my blog has seen come to define me as a human being, apart from this virtual cosmos we find ourselves lost within.

Book Blog. Book Blog and Diary. Book Blog and Diary and Traveler Reflections. This is all me. This is not 1 + 2 + 3 different bloggers. In the beginning stages of my blogging journey I believed that the blog is completely separate from the existence of it’s voice, the blogger, almost in the same way Descartes tells us the mind is separate from the body. Sitting here writing this post almost 8 months later, I now see where and how the blogger and the blog become one. It is only by fallen into unbearable lows and sadness, lifted up again and then fallen down yet again have I come to realize that the blog exists to sparkleee. And what exactly about the blog sparkles ? The blogger, course. All of the blogger’s ups downs, laughs and tears are like those clear currents that evoke the sea’s movement.
What has given my blog it’s voice, originality – everything that it is – has been me: Delphine the reader, the emotional disaster, the wanderer.

It took me some exhausting pondering to reach this seemingly common sensical conclusion, but now that I have I want to share what it is about the “me” that makes the blog “sparkleee“.  Continue reading “Discussion: How Does the Blog Sparkleee”