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Search tags: Reviewed-for-Netgalley
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review 2018-05-19 13:42
The Fire Court
Fire Court - Andrew Taylor

by Andrew Taylor

 

This started with a list of characters, something I always skip past. They don't mean anything until they become a part of the story!

 

However, once the story began, some familiar characters from the first book of the series appeared, most notably Catherine Lovett and James Marwood. Marwood's father, an old man without all his faculties, starts off in a sequence wherein he follows a woman thinking she is his wife, Rachel, who actually died years ago. He finds a body of a different woman and eventually discovers that the woman he followed is not Rachel.

 

Thus starts the mystery and intrigue that will shape the story. I found the pace a little slower in the first part of the book than in Ashes of London, the first book of the series, but still interesting and I'm glad I stuck with it as it gets better as more connections fall into place.

 

The pace actually gets very fast and dramatic in the later part of the book and the spiderweb of connections that have been set up throughout the story all fall into place. In a lot of ways it's a whodunnit, but with political intrigue and a lot of very human emotions involved. It's extremely well-written and I will be looking for a third book, which is hinted at by the very end.

 

The outcome surprised me not once but twice with plot twists I never saw coming. That's pretty rare!

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review 2018-05-07 14:33
A Grand Old Time
A Grand Old Time - Judy Leigh

by Judy Leigh

 

This reminds me a little of a senior version of Ferris Beuller's Day Off. A 75-year-old woman is bored with life at a retirement home and regrets getting talked into selling her house and moving into the facility. One day she takes her purse and cards and wanders out for a day in the city of Dublin for a change of scene.

 

Her adventures start pretty quickly. She buys a hat and coat to change her image and falls into 'interesting' company who leads her into trying things she has never done before, like gambling. It all escalates from there and becomes a fascinating journey with many twists and turns, sometimes relying on the luck of the Irish in ways that nudge belief a little far.

 

I like Evie, the main character. I also like that she was an older character and brought both life experience and attitude to her role. There were a lot of surprises in her story and I enjoyed the read for the most part. I thought a secondary storyline about her son and his wife was drawn out a little too long in the later chapters. I started out not liking Maura and ended not thinking much of Brendan either, but they did add some comic relief to the story.

 

The later part of the story settled into predictability but I'm glad all the loose ends were tied up. The majority of the tale was great fun and appealed to my sense of rebellion and the sort of old lady I aspire to be when the time comes.

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review 2018-04-29 12:46
The Illumination of Ursula Flight
The Illumination of Ursula Flight - Anna-Marie Crowhurst

by Anna-Marie Crowhurst

 

Set in the seventeenth century, Ursula Flight is an unusual girl with a curious mind and a hankering for adventure. As a child she applies herself to learning to read and to learn about the world in ways that girls of her era seldom do, then a chance meeting with an actress leads her to fascination with a vocation with a bad reputation that is outweighed by the appeal of life on the stage.

 

Ursula is a likeable character from the start. She's intelligent and curious, more interested in an experience for its own merits than in 'what people will think'. However, although her father encourages her learning, when a local Lord takes a fancy to young Ursula, her father effectively orders her to marry him. Needless to say, Ursula is not pleased with being effectively sold into marriage.

 

The story is mostly told in first person, so we get a look inside the thoughts of a young girl, her fancies, and her unspoken opinions all along. One of her interests is in writing plays, so we are given interludes that she has depicted as a playwrite and have to wonder how much embellishment Ursula has added to her private writings.

 

Facing some difficult circumstances in an era when women were treated much as property brings out the strength in the character, even through girlish fancies. The story kept me interested all the way through and made me wonder if I would have had the courage to do some of the things she does to overcome obstacles to her happiness.

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text 2018-04-17 17:13
Reading progress update: I've read 15%.
A Grand Old Time - Judy Leigh

This is a really fun read. Sort of a senior version of Ferris Beuller's Day Off. Might still be on Netgalley.

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review 2018-03-14 11:17
Amazing Origami Boxes
Amazing Origami Boxes - Tomoko Fuse

by Tomoko Fuse

 

Origami has interested me since childhood but these 20 original designs take it to a new level. Tomoko Fuse has achieved recognition for her modular designs and these intricate boxes and dishes show why.

 

This is not a beginners book. However, the instructions are clear and although I think practicing on cheap paper is a good idea before using the beautiful, decorative origami papers shown in the colorful illustrations, at least most of them should be possible for anyone with patience and prepared to practice.

 

If you have no experience with origami, I suggest an easier beginner's book would be better to start, but some of the square boxes are reasonably easy and once those are mastered, the harder ones should be doable. As I said, practice with cheap paper first. Common printer paper can be squared by folding it over and removing the excess. When you've got the hang of a design, then the origami papers will make it beautiful.

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