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review 2018-02-06 19:39
Jack (of Beanstalk fame) and Rapunzel save fantasy!New York
Calamity Jack - Dean Hale;Shannon Hale

This second entry keeps all the fun, humor, action, and social commentary of the first but shifts the setting east for an urban makeover. It's the late 19th century and giants are pulling the strings of the city in this revolutionary spin on Jack and the Beanstalk. Art continues to be appealing, funny and a little manic.

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review 2017-12-29 02:59
A tale of two sisters. And monsters.
Odd & True - Cat Winters

Odette is the storyteller and warrior. Trudchen is the psychic, finding portents of monsters in the tea leaves. Or, Od is the wild, ruined runaway, and Tru is the frail cripple. There's more than one way to tell a story, and the lens you look through can make sense of an impossible world. Winters succeeds in a masterpiece of a historical fiction adventure told in two alternating timelines and perspectives. Great historical detail, with care taken to avoid anachronism and the perspectives of the time informing the plot and character development. Feminism and freedom play into the plot. I would have liked more monster hunting, but it's a bit more origin story-oriented. 

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review 2016-01-12 18:52
Finally, a review!
The Ruby in the Smoke - Philip Pullman

Sally Lockheart has just lost her father to the perils of the sea, but the mystery surrounding his death is far more tempestuous. Left with nothing but a note in unfamiliar handwriting instructing her to ask a Mr. Marchbanks about something called "The Seven Blessings", Sally begins the quest to find out what really happened to her father and to find a new place to call home. On the way she finds a scruffy office boy whose fondness for Penny Dreadfuls saves his ass (and hers) more than once and a lighthearted young photographer who is happy to help Sally explore the dangerous docks of London to solve the mystery of The Seven Blessings. 
The Ruby in the Smoke is an almost perfect YA novel. Philip Pullman never steers away from interesting or dramatic subjects just because his characters are young, and that's what I love most about his books. Though Sally tries to act as a young lady should during this time period, she knows she doesn't fit in. She's logical and businesslike and knows a good deal about guns thanks to her ex-military father. Victorian London was a dirty and dangerous place, and Sally's search for the truth leads her through back alleys to opium dens and dirty docks where murders are so common that kids working on the river gleefully pull out the bodies to search them. What I liked most about Sally was that she wasn't this totally confident, sassy badass. It would have been unrealistic for her to have started out that way during this time period. Instead she second-guesses what she says out loud and scolds herself for not being the badass that she wants to be, until she naturally comes into her own as a young woman. 
The Ruby in the Smoke is a fantastic mystery, a rollicking adventure, and has a unique female protagonist. It's a YA historical fiction novel, but I think this one even more than The Golden Compass is for everyone- Sally is 16 and her adventure is an adult's adventure through a real period in history, as opposed to Lyra who is younger and lives in a fantastical alternate world. I read it straight through in two sittings in airports- I think it took me maybe 4 hours all together- I got lost in the story immediately. I know the cover Booklikes uses makes it look terrible but you know the saying- go find a copy with a cuter cover so your bookshelf isn't ugly. :] 



[I still haven't cemented my rating system, so I have a really hard time with the stars... Whatever, it was a good book, you guys get it.]

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text 2015-10-23 06:14
Victorian Gothic Nightclub

Here's one of my favorite bits of creepy history, compliments of the always amazing sixpenceee





Cabaret du Néant (The Cabaret of the Void)

Basically this was a sort of gothic themed night club back in the 1890’s in Paris, but not like you imagine. Let me tell you about the cool and creepy things that went on here. 

  • After entering the Cabaret, spectators followed a “monk” down a blackened hall to a café with candles on coffin-shaped tables where they could order drinks from waiters who were dressed as if they were attending a funeral.
  • A lectured called their attention to paintings of figures that dissolved into paintings of skeletons.
  • While dark music played, the monk led the audience to a second chamber; here, a volunteer was asked to step up on a stage and enter a standing casket.
  • After the volunteer was wrapped in a white shroud the spectators gasped at an apparent “X-ray” effect as the man dissolved into a skeleton and then once again returned to plain sight as the skeleton disappeared.
  • In the last chamber, using a similar optical effect, a live spirit appeared to walk around an audience volunteer who mounted the stage to sit at a table.

Dark entertainment? But either way, I’d love to visit. 





*just to be extra clear, this isn't my work- there's a link to sixpenceee's site at the top

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text 2015-10-11 03:21
Reading progress update: I've read 34 out of 208 pages.
Polka Heartland: Why the Midwest Loves to Polka - Rick March,Dick Blau



...A writer in the Lewisburg (Pennsylvania) Chronicle wrote, "The modern imported dances such as the 'Polka'... are redolent with the lasciviousness of Paris and Vienna." The prevalence of the dance at elite balls was dampened when, in September 1853, American newspapers widely reported that Queen Victoria had prohibited polka dancing in her presence. No doubt, the queen's consternation only increased the dance's appeal to rebellious youth.

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