Saturday, August 30, 2014

Review: The Counterfeit Lady

The Counterfeit Lady (The Victorian Bookshop Mystery, #2)

The Counterfeit Lady by Kate Parker is the second in the Victorian Bookshop Mystery series, and the sequel to A Vanishing Thief.  Georgia Fenchurch is an antiquarian bookseller in London, and is also a member of the Archivist Society, a group that investigates matters brought to them by concerned parties. In the course of the first book Georgia made more than a passing acquaintance with the Duke of Blackford, who had an interest of his own in the case she was pursuing. This time, Blackford reappears and requests Georgia's assistance with another case- this time involving Britain's national security.

This case has a personal stake for Georgia as well. A woman has been murdered- and the woman is a relative of Phyllida Monthalf, who is a friend of Georgia's and was herself rescued by the Archivist Society years ago. Georgia promises they will get to the bottom of the murder, but it is a race against time as the murdered woman's husband is a ship designer- and some crucial plans have gone missing. The husband is the prime suspect, but Blackford suspects foreign spies are at work, trying to get a copy of the highly sensitive plans. Blackford decides that Georgia must impersonate a high society lady to gain access to the gossip and secrets that are swirling around the case... and not only that, she must pretend to be his paramour as well. Georgia would like nothing more than to spend time with the duke- but when it becomes clear that someone knows her true identity and will stop at nothing to obtain the plans, Georgia must decide how far she will go to find the killer... but will her own heart be broken in the process?

This book is just a lot of fun. Georgia is a great heroine, and there are twists and turns galore as the plot plays out. Blackford of course seems a little too perfect, but he also doesn't ave the day every time- Georgia is resourceful and can take care of herself, thank you very much. They have a great relationship, full of sexual tension (but this is Victorian times so everything is kept very appropriate). My absolute favorite part of this book was the repartee between Georgia and the various nobles and titled women she comes in contact with. The dialogue and banter are the strength of this series. I think I enjoyed this one every bit as much as I did the first one, and will be looking forward to the next book.







Sunday Post #59



The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

It's a long weekend! We don't have too many plans, other than heading over to the lakeshore at some point. This week was good, I finished two books and got a few reviews up. Will be linking to COYER today. With autumn fast approaching I'm starting to get in the mood for those kind of reads. You know, mysteries and stuff with more of an edge to it. I'm thinking of joining the Frightfall readathon and maybe doing some things like that this year. Do your reading tastes change with the seasons? 

Hope everyone has a happy and safe Labor Day weekend! 

LAST WEEK: 

Review: Through The Door- Cedar's daughter can open portals to other places. 
Review: The Wild Dark Flowers- a slightly disappointing follow up to Rutherford Park, not a bad book at all just not quite what I was looking for

THIS WEEK:

MONDAY Review: The Counterfeit Lady by Kate Parker- a great cozy mystery set in Victorian times 
TUESDAY Comic of the Week
THURSDAY Review: We Were Liars- okay I've read it now. Let's talk about this one. :) 

CURRENTLY READING: 

Divergent (Divergent, #1)

NEW ARRIVALS/ UPCOMING REVIEWS: 

Longbourn  20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Other Classic Novels Rise of the Arcane Fire (The Secret Order, #2)

BLOGOSPHERE FUN: 

Late Night Lamplight has a nice review of Divergent. Yeah it's been reviewed a zillion times, but if I wasn't already planning on reading it, this might have convinced me. Nice blog too. 

Book Den has a review for And Then There Were none by Agatha Christie. I've never read this so I'm going to pick it up. And hey, Clue movie reference!

I Solemnly Swear has a review for We Were Liars, which I just read. She talks about how no one will discuss the ending and I liked her Goodreads breakdown too as she was reading it. 

Jo at Mixed Book Bag has a review up for the new robin Hobb book Fool's Assassin. Fitz is back! I'll be reading this soon. Love that cover too. 

Lisa Loves Literature reviews Get Even by Gretchen McNeil. Nice review, and I'm looking forward to this one. The premise just sounds fun. 

Book Journey reviews The Cherry Cola Book Club

Some fun cosplay this week. A steampunk Frozen, Aquaman (Aquawoman actually- wow), and Rocketeer girl

So how was your week? 

Comic of the Week #5



This was a fun issue only because the Avengers were re- evaluating their membership (as they did so often) and it was always fun to see who they would pick. I liked the cover and thought some of the possible choices were intriguing.



The Silver Surfer as an Avenger? That would have been interesting. Dazzler too... And I love how Invisible Girl's picture is blank. As it was, Hawkeye rejoined the team in this issue, and the other new member was She- Hulk. The Avengers were not very good at this point, but I did like how Captain America and Iron Man asked Hawyeye to join, and he bitched them out but then accepted before they even left! Those three did have a history, after all...



Thursday, August 28, 2014

Review: Through The Door

Through the Door (The Thin Veil, #1)

Through The Door by Jodi McIsaac is an intriguing story about a woman whose daughter can open portals to other places The story starts out with Cedar McLeod and her boyfriend Finn out at a street fair, having a good time, and Cedar is waiting for the right moment to tell him she's pregnant. Finn is acting strangely though, as if he keeps seeing someone or something in the crowd that makes him uneasy. He cuts the evening short and doesn't stay with her that night- and the next day, when Cedar goes to his place she finds him gone- without a trace. His apartment is empty and there is no sign of him anywhere.

We then fast forward seven years and cedar has moved on with her life. She's a single mom, raising a daughter and trying to make ends meet. Then something happens to shake up her life- one night Cedar discovers that her daughter Eden has a very special ability. She create a portal to other places just by opening a door. They pass through a door and find themselves in Egypt, before the pyramids- and other places too, anywhere that Eden has seen, even if only on TV. Cedar is of course stunned, and begins to suspect this may have something to do with Eden's father, Finn.



 I thought the writing was good, very polished for a debut novel. There are some neat moments, including a cool bar that humans can't see and a thrilling battle between immortals and mermaids. About halfway through we get a POV change and we get to see the story from the perspective of the villain, which is certainly interesting. She's a nasty piece of work too!  The characters are compelling and well drawn for the most part, I thought the author handled Cedar particularly well especially the emotional aspects of her journey. Cedar's actions and feelings seemed very authentic and realistic. I liked the mystery aspect of the early going, and only towards the end did I tire a bit as the story moves into the fae realm and got perhaps a bit predictable. The end is satisfying but leaves the door (sorry) open for a follow up- and in fact, books 2 and 3 are already out.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Review: The Wild Dark Flowers

The Wild Dark Flowers: A Novel of Rutherford Park

The Wild Dark Flowers by Elizabeth Cooke is the follow up to Rutherford Park, one of my favorite books of last year. It is the story of William and Octavia Cavendish, their family, and the servants at their great country estate- set against the backdrop of World War I. William is still coming to grips with the fact that his wife is in love with another man, and Octavia remains at Rutherford only for the sake of the children. Their son Harry is with the Royal Flying Corps in France, but he has seen the reality of war and no loner views it in a romantic light. Louisa is still recovering from her fling with a rake, and this has caused her to mature, but also has shattered her confidence. Charlotte is a free spirit and wants to live, to try new things, and like her mother is less tied to the old ways and the restrictions placed on her.

William has grown in some ways since learning of his wife's affair, and yet in other ways he is the same man. Tied to tradition, not sure how to change or to open up to Octavia,  he fears she will leave but doesn't know how to stop it. Octavia, for her part, is torn between loyalty to her husband, whom she respects but does not love, and the American she fell  in love with the previous year. She feels stifled by Rutherford, and while she realizes she is fortunate to have her position, she wants the freedom to travel, to be free and find her own way.  

This is a story about the horrors of war, specifically WWI and some of the awful things that happened there, as much as it is about a country house and the family that lives there. This is both a strength and a weakness to my mind. I knew the war would play a role, as it was the backdrop in the first book as well, but I wasn't expecting it to play such a large role. I suspect this was a very personal book for the author, and I respect that, it just went in a different direction that I was expecting- I was looking for something similar to the first book, a country house drama with real events as a backdrop, and here the war kind of takes center stage and overshadowed everything else for me.

This book ends on a serious cliffhanger, which I didn't see coming This plot twist didn't really work for me, it seemed too unlikely- and to top it off, the preview for the third book gives away the aftermath of the cliffhanger, so you know what happens just not the details. I found this a little annoying, and much preferred the way the first book ended- it was self contained, a sequel clearly possible but the story was complete in itself as well. The characters were not as compelling for me this time around as well. This is well written and powerful at times, but it didn't move me like the first one did. I would recommend reading Rutherford Park, and if you enjoy that novel and want to continue the story, by all means read this as well, but for me this didn't rise to the level of the first one.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sunday Post #58



The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

This week has been quiet and mostly uneventful. I've been traveling for work so I haven't been around much on the blog, but I have finished a few books and have reviews coming. I have a few Bookstore Spotlights coming up in the next few weeks as well. Labor Day weekend is coming up and we don't have any plans yet, although the Michigan Renaissance Festival is calling us. I guess it's a toss up between that or a last trip to the beach. 

Gen Con broke attendance records this year- over 50,000 people attended, and by all accounts the place was jam packed. As I mentioned last week, I didn't attend this year but will definitely be there next year. I have some links below with pics. 

I know COYER is winding down but I have a few reviews coming soon that I'm going to sneak in at the last minute.    

LAST WEEK: 

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy/ All New X Men: The Trial of Jean Grey   
Comic of the Week #4 Photo Shoot Marvel style  

THIS WEEK: 

Review: The Wild Dark Flowers - on Monday . 
Comic of the Week #5 - on Tuesday.  
Review: Through The Door - on Thursday  
Tales from the Spinner Rack- the Inhumans - on Friday   

CURRENTLY READING: 

The Counterfeit Lady (The Victorian Bookshop Mystery, #2)

NEW ARRIVALS: 

We Were Liars Divergent (Divergent, #1)

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart  - short and sweet and I've heard the ending is a trip, so I'm in 
Divergent by Veronica Roth - my daughter wants to read it (everyone at school  is) so I finally need to read this. 

BLOGOSPHERE FUN: 

Of Dragons and Hearts reviews The Falconer. Also she has a nice post on hiking in Slovenia- with great pics. Check it out!  

io9 looks at the Coolest Games, Art and Cosplay of GenCon 

Cosplay seems to be much bigger at GenCon these days- not a bad thing! Here's a gallery of pics 

Daily Cosplay this week- I don't know who she is supposed to be, The Flash, and I don't really know what to even say about this one! Also a pic from GenCon and some cool lightning shots

And lastly (on GenCon), Geekdad has a Best of GenCon post- w/ pics! And I love the shirt- about halfway down the post. You'll see what I mean. Also a great post here about what makes GenCon unique

Bronze Age Babies had a great post this week on the Worst Depiction of a Marvel character on screen. Lots of choices, including a few I had not thought of. Who's your pick? 




Thursday, August 21, 2014

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy/ All New X-Men: The Trial of Jean Grey

Guardians of the Galaxy/All-New X-Men: The Trial of Jean Grey

The trial of Jean Grey is a story running through the Guardians of the Galaxy and All New X-Men titles. I am enjoying both titles so I was looking forward to this one, curious to see where they would go with it. Did it pass muster? Yes- big time. This is quite simply the best comic story I've read in a long time.

The story starts off with Peter Quill (aka Star Lord) in a bar having a drink, and Gamora shows up- or someone who looks like Gamora. Turns out she's a shapeshifting bounty hunter and Star Lord is captured- looks like he's in trouble but lucky for him the bounty hunter encounters the real Gamora before she can get him off world. Gamora and fellow Guardian Angela make short work of the bounty hunter, and they regroup with the rest of the team. It is then that they discover that the Shi'Ar have decided to grab Jean grey from Earth and put her on trial for the actions of her future self. Turns out that in the past (Jean's future) she did certain things that earned her the enmity of the Shi'ar empire.

However in All New X Men, the young original X Men have come forward in time to the present day- and the Shi'ar catch wind of it. The Shi'ar want to put the young Jean on trial for something her later self will do (make sense?).

The Guardians hear of this and show up to help- too late. Jean is gone. They and the X Men join forces and set off for the Shi'ar to rescue Jean. Meanwhile Jean is being counseled by a Shi'ar telepath named Oracle. It becomes clear to Oracle that this Jean has no memory of the events she is on trial for, and while she is loyal to the Shi'ar, Oracle has serious questions about what they are doing. The Guardians and X Men of course show up, but they have some unexpected allies as well. The Starjammers appear- a band of interstellar pirates with an interesting link to Earth.

There is a lot to like in this graphic novel. The teams mesh well, and the writer seems to be having fun with all the banter between the two groups. Brian Bendis' strength is his dialogue, and it's on full display here. There's a very cinematic quality to the story. When the Shi'ar are after the Guardians at one point Angela asks if they can get closer to the Shi'ar ship so she can engage them, and one of the X Men asks "closer?"

This is a rollicking space adventure with colorful characters and a lots of humor. Star Lord here is a little, more serious than the movie version, but he has his snarky moments too. I really liked his interaction with Kitty PRyde of the X Men- they didn't really flirt per se, but there was a little something there. Those two would make an interesting couple! They address this a little at the end , and I thought it was nicely done. Hope those two get to meet again soon.

 I've been enjoying All New X Men for a while now, but Guardians is sorta becoming favorite comic. The team is fun and the artwork is great.If you're into the Guardians or X Men at all, or just want a fun adventure, check this out. Good stuff.