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Alexia Tarabotti has been on the shelf since she was fifteen. Her mother decided her Italian heritage and unconventional looks (dark hair, dark eyes and the predilection of tanning) was too much to overcome, that no gentleman would seriously pursue Alexia. So she made the early decision to concentrate her attention and money on securing good marriages for her two younger daughters.
What her mother didn’t know was this suited Alexia just fine.
Alexia enjoys the freedom spinsterhood allows her; to read whatever she likes, consort with flamboyant friends and concentrate on finding the best foods Victorian London can provide. Plus, well it would be a scandal if it came out to society that Alexia was born without a soul.
Soullessness can be an advantage when dealing with some of the residents of London, Werewolves, Vampires and Ghosts, since just her touch negates their power. This comes in handy when a very rude vampire has the audacity of attacking Alexia at party, thereby tossing Alexia into Lord Maccon’s path again, (how many times does she have to say the Hedgehog was not her fault?) and into the mystery of why all the lone wolves and rogue vampires are disappearing from all around England….
If you are looking for historical accuracy of Victorian London, with insights into the life and times of the people living in this period, this is NOT the book for you.
If you are looking for a funny, witty, romantic, melodramatic action-packed supernatural romp, then I highly recommend this book to you! I enjoyed every second of this book, the ridiculousness of pairing proper Victorian manners when being attacked by an unknown Vampire is hilarious. Alexia and the rest of the characters are over the top in their personalities and are just fun to read. And the mystery at the core of this book is well thought out as well, setting up future villains and problems in the books to come. I cannot wait to read the rest of this series!
I picked up this book purely because of the author description “Gail Carriger writes to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriated Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life for Europe and inadvertently acquired an education. She now resides in the Colonies with a harem of American lovers and tea imported from London.” If you find this as humorous and intriguing as I did, like urban fantasy without sparkling vampires, and enjoy a bit of steampunk thrown in for flavor, I think you will really like this book. (Not a Kids Book)
The school is all atwitter when a trip to London is announced by the headmistress. Sophronia suspects the reasons for this sudden excursion are far more complicated than meets the eye, since it doesn’t make sense that the school would uproot itself merely to witness a historical event, no matter the supernatural implications. Adding to the excitement is a debut ball, several kidnapping attempts and a flamboyant vampire. Well things are about to get very interesting!
For those of you who have read the five books in the Parasol Protectorate series, this is a very interesting YA series, as they are a prequel to those books. You get to meet Genevieve Lefoux as a precocious ten year old and Lady Sidheag Maccon and begin to understand how she was able to lead a werewolf pack as a human. I found it great fun to meet these characters again and learn more about their origins.
For those of you who have not read anything in this universe before, never fear! While it is set in the same world and has a few carry-over characters, you do not have to have any knowledge of them in order to understand and love this book. Carriger does a great job in setting the reader up for success, without her writing becoming formulaic.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is charming, witty, humorous, adventurous and filled with intrigue. I found that the notion of women out in society (high or otherwise) would make excellent spies during this period, with a bit of training, since ladies’ intelligence was often overlooked, and the school helped them to take full advantage of this flaw in society. I also enjoyed the fact that while there are many strong male characters, Sophronia never relies on them to save the day. Rather she relied on herself and her training to figure out what is afoot and to thwart other people’s machinations.
I would suggest reading Etiquette & Espionage, the first book in the series before you start on this one, as it will give you a firmer grasp the complexities in this installment in the series. I would recommend this book to any female 14 and above, or very open minded males of the same age (but this I think is mainly aimed at the female audience).
Like all of Clare O’Donohue’s writing I was sucked right into this mystery and really enjoyed reading it. While this book is a themed mystery, one which centers around quilting, do not let it fool you. It is an Agatha Christie-ish style of cozy, meaning it is clever, well plotted and engaging. It is not syrupy sweet or mechanical as some of the themed cozies can be. While quilting is a theme, as Nell and her Grandmother Eleanor run the Someday Quilts shop, it never become distracting one. It is deftly woven into the story, enhancing rather than detracting from the other plots and subplots in the book.
I really enjoyed reading about Nell. Her relationship with her Grandmother Eleanor and her upcoming marriage, the future of the shop and house are interesting dynamics to explore. Or the troubles she finds herself in with Jesse, her mother and friends at one point or another is all very relatable and interesting to read. Ultimately I could see Archers Rest being a real place, with the entertaining social dynamics you find only in small towns.
I would recommend this to any female (or open minded male, however I am not sure that is the demographic aimed at here) looking for a nice, interesting, light read. And if you have someone in your life who loves to sew, I would definitely recommend this series to them! As Clare is a quilter herself, her description of quilts, fabrics, the quilting addiction (which I also share), and such are spot on. And I admit it had me itching to cut a new quilt when I get home!
While in many series you need to start with the first book in order to understand what is going on, in this case it is not necessary. Clare does such a great job in her writing you never feel lost, or spend the first chapter rolling your eyes because it is a rehash of the last book. But if you are a completionist here are the other books in the Someday Quilts Mystery series: A Drunkard’s Path, The Double Cross, The Lover’s Knot, The Devils’s Puzzle. And Two in the Kate Conway Mystery Series, Missing Persons and Life Without Parole, all of which I recommend reading!
This is a fast paced, solid read with a whole lot going on between the covers: a love triangle for Miss Holmes, an inappropriate suitor for Miss Stoker, a time traveler, a disturbed cult leader, vampires, steampunk, a missing mother, a sister who keeps trying to find you a husband (whether you want one or not), and much more. Now, don’t get me wrong, while it does have a lot going on, it doesn’t lose focus on the mystery central to this book, while also hooking you into wanting read the next installment, so you can get the solution to a few of these peripheral mysteries. While delivering a satisfying conclusion to this first book in the series.
The story is told in alternating chapters from Miss Holmes’ and Miss Stoker’s points of view, so you are never confused about whose POV you are observing events through. Each of the women has a very distinct personality and ideas about how things should be handled, so you never get bored. The beginning is a hair slow, since a whole bunch of information needs to be related to the reader to understand this version of reality. This is over fairly quickly and you are caught in the grip of a high octane mystery.
I would recommend this mystery to any female reader (there are several male characters in it, however I don’t think this is the audience this book is written for) age thirteen and above.
Rather than selling the manuscripts to the highest bidder, Colophon’s father is reprinting them so everyone can have access to them, further bolstering the company’s already sterling reputation in literary and non-literary circles.
But no matter how high you fly, you have to come back down to earth. The media turns against him & the company when a lone academic calls the manuscripts’ authenticity into question. As we know in the media today, it only takes one voice to turn the cameras against you, and then the jackals begin to circle. In this case, that voice is Treemont Letterford, a cousin to Colophon and one of the heirs to the throne who can snatch the company away from her father and who tried unsuccessfully last year to take over the company, forcing Colophon into the treasure hunt.
Unfortunately this time he succeeds and Colophon is forced into another audacious plan in order to save her family.
This was an enjoyable read, but I am a sucker for all things Shakespearian!
The author, Deron R. Hicks, does a great job in balancing learning and the story. Never did it feel like the characters were giving a lecture about history or literary figures. One of this book’s plot lines centers around the authorship controversy of the Shakespearian cannon. The argument explored here is whether Christopher Marlowe was the true author of the plays, using Shakespeare as a beard to cover up the fact he didn’t actually die in a barroom brawl. Hicks does a great job in giving crumbs to follow, using existing facts and theories to further the plot., as well as giving enough information, should the reader want to, to follow up on this fascinating controversy on their own.
Hicks is also masterful at creating a palatable tension within Tower Of The Five Orders. By switching perspective frequently he creates a staccato rhythm which furthers the plot and has you reading at a flat-out pace so you can find out what happens next. This method of creating tension is riveting, and never hard to follow or distracting. Again it helps to further the mystery along.
I would recommend this book for girls or boys 9 and up who are looking for a fun and interesting read. I would recommend you read the first book in the series before starting this one, Secrets Of Shakespeare’s Grave, otherwise this book won’t make quite as much sense as it could!
When her cousin Viv calls and suggests she come to London to lay low for a while, Scarlett leaps at the opportunity. Guilt plays a small role in the decision, as Scarlett has not taken a more active role in the running of Mim’s Whims, a millinery business their grandmother left to them both.
Laying low in London isn’t in the cards for Scarlett. Her cousin Viv vanishes right before Scarlett arrives in London, leaving only Harry, a childhood friend and business manager, to help sort things out and no word as to where Viv went or when she will be back. Viv’s disappearance becomes more sinister when the body of a woman she loathed is found wearing nothing but one of Viv’s hats. Scarlett must now figure out how to help her cousin and their shop before it’s too late!
I was a little skeptical when I read this was a hat shop mystery, but I like Jenn McKinlay’s writing so I gave it a chance. Boy am I glad I did! I loved it, couldn’t put it down, in fact.
This mystery is set in a hat shop, but the focus of the book is on the mystery, not the hats. McKinlay does a great job of deftly weaving the shop and hats into the story, while never overwhelming the story or distracting you from the mystery she is telling.
The characters are well rounded and fun to read. Each have their strengths, weaknesses and back stories which are alluded to, but not wholly revealed., adding an extra layer to the mystery and making me impatient for the next book!
There were a number of times this book made me laugh, and had strangers on the bus looking at me funny. The viral video cake incident is an interesting (and funny) plot device which the author uses to great effect in the story. Ignore the punny title, it is just what publishers do to let you know it is a cozy (and a slight disservice I think, as it makes a good book look slightly ridiculous).
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes reading cozy mysteries and is looking for a new series to start! I believe any fan of Nancy Atherton or Cleo Coyle would enjoy this series.
Angel Crawford has always felt like a piece of white trash and has lived up to this label rather successfully.
Angel lives with her alcoholic father in a small town in Louisiana. Over the years, her father has decorated their front yard with empty beer cans and whiskey bottles. Her mother killed herself in prison. Angel herself has a record and is currently out on probation, due to a deal which was too good to be true. She dropped out of high school when she was only sixteen, due to an unfortunate incident with a frog. She’s been fired from a string of minimum wage jobs. Add a pill habit to all of this…. Angel’s life is on a collision course with disaster.
Fate, never one to turn down a temptation, provides a disaster of epic proportions. The disaster? An overdose of painkillers. A horrible car crash that Angel remembers being in, although she doesn’t have a scratch on her. And a mysterious note which gives her a choice - take a new job arranged for her and work for a month at the county morgue or go to jail.
And yet, this won’t be the weirdest event of Angel’s life, not by a long shot.
For several months now I have been reading reviews of this series, and yet I still hesitated, as I am not a big fan (generally) of the zombie genre. Last week I finally broke down and started reading My Life As A White Trash Zombie.
This book is actually a very fast paced mystery that I enjoyed reading. Well to be honest, it did take a minute to get used to all the talk about brains….. After that it was great. There are two primary mysteries to this book, the first you know the answer to; while you know Angel is a Zombie (hey it is the title, I am not spoiling anything, I promise) Angel takes a while to realize her new undead state and what it entails. Second there is a serial killer stalking through the Louisiana swamp, and due to her new job Angel is in the thick of things.
I also enjoyed reading the evolution of Angel as a character. Beyond becoming a zombie, her life and outlook do change. Instead of letting fate take the reins of her life, she slowly wrestles for control. And it is fun to read.
I would recommend this book to anyone (it may have slightly more appeal to the female audience, as Angel is the main character of this story) looking for a fun mystery, that just happens to have a zombie as the protagonist. This is NOT a kids’ book.
I am looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this series, Even White Trash Zombies Get The Blues, White Trash Zombie Apocalypse, and How The White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back (due out in 2014 according to the author's website).
It is Halloween and Cole Randolph and his friends have heard nothing but great things about the new haunted house in town. Deciding this sounds like more fun than trick-or-treating, a group of kids from Cole’s school head out to be scared out of their costumes.
The haunted house hides a much more sinister secret, a trap - one which Cole and his friends unwittingly walk into. While Cole is able to remove himself from it, his friends are not so lucky. Cole, unwilling to abandon his friends to an unknown fate, willingly follows them and their captors….to the Outskirts.
The Outskirts is an in-between place where, if you have the power, you can shape the world around you into a thing of dreams or nightmares, depending on your nature. The Outskirts are made up of five kingdoms, each very different but ruled by a single high king. An evil king, whose only love is power….
Cole, who is quickly discovered by his friends captors, is sold into slavery to the sky raiders. His quest to rescue his friends begins when he meets a unusual girl named Mira.
The biggest wrinkle in Cole’s rescue efforts? It is free to enter the Outskirts, but near impossible to leave. And even if you do, almost everyone will end up back in the five kingdoms, forgotten by everyone who loves you….
This is a fantastic start to this new series. It is action-packed and very dense (in a good way). Filled with well rounded characters, a well thought out magic system and dynamic over arching story lines, I cannot say enough good things about this book!
Now, do not read anything into the characters being sold into slavery. In this case, Mull is using it as a plot device to scatter the friends across the five kingdoms, making Cole’s self appointed task more difficult. Mull does a great job of not philosophizing on the subject or creating some sort of moral lesson, which would harm the story. Instead, this can be used as a talking point with your kids…such as how children have been sold into slavery through the centuries and even today in many parts of the world they still are not safe. But Mull does not do any of this for you. It is simply the reality of the situation the kids find themselves in, nothing more.
I enjoyed the fact there is actual crime in the book - a theft of sorts, faked deaths, people in hiding and others on the run. There are a lot of layers to this story, as it quickly turns from a simple plan to rescue his friends to rescuing a kingdom with some new friends. Mull is great at providing hints of what may come, details to speculate (read “obsess“) over and wonder about long after you have finished the book.
I would recommend this book to any boy (or open minded girl as Mira plays a very significant role in the book and is wonderful to read) 8+. I think the action-packed adventure and Cole’s determination will appeal to most anyone.
This is set up to be a five book series and I seriously cannot wait! (Book two is out October 2014)