I've had this on my shelf forever and never read it until now, but this was quite delightful and surprisingly well fabricated.
It's a sort of interestI've had this on my shelf forever and never read it until now, but this was quite delightful and surprisingly well fabricated.
It's a sort of interesting and not often seen cast of characters, since both Cate and Tregaron are reticent, silent people...by this, I mean, they are noted to be unsociable. Cate, because she knows she's not of the Ton, and has no particular looks, and also as an orphan, with two irresponsible uncles, she's had to shoulder the majority of the financial burden for the family. It's not explained how she came by her architectural finesse, since I don't think that looking over a few books could suffice for building an ACTUAL house that won't fall down. Seriously. People put together IKEA furniture on the basis of instructions and sometimes fail miserably. So the ability of a person to redesign and remodel a house when she hadn't been inside and when she's been "taught" by her flaky artist father was a bit unbelievable to me. But put that aside.
Tregaron, on the other hand, has returned to London after a long absence from his Irish estates, because of his dark past -- notably, he's rumored to have killed his wife, who was found on the first floor outside of her bedroom window.
When they first meet, Tregaron has no interest in anything to do with the remodeling of the house, and Cate has slunk in with her uncles to pretend she's a "helper," rather than the construction foreman. But, Emma Jensen did this exceedingly well, by and by, Tregaron starts to notice that Cate is always around the house and gradually (and not lewdly or inappropriately) notices Cate. Well, she's super tall, apparently.
There's a sort of "mystery" in the book where these notes show up at the house hinting that there's an "impostor" and becoming quite threatening. The only clue is that Cate also has a few secrets from her past, the most disreputable apparently being that she knew this rakish sinister lord who made her fall for him and then humiliated her in front of his friends. For a gently bred woman of that time, it would have been truly a humiliating experience, and she would naturally want to avoid him. That he shows up again and tries to humiliate Cate again is a coincidence of the highest order, since apparently he did that all the time, so why taunt someone who afforded little to no reaction/satisfaction? He's made to be the culprit, but then it turns out to be (view spoiler)[the uncles, which is the most unbelievable part of this whole thing. Why would they leave threatening notes even if it's to bring Cate to the forefront of the business?? (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Quite a decent read, surprisingly so. I had no idea this was published by Signet. Such a sad day this line ended.
My only quibble was that the first chQuite a decent read, surprisingly so. I had no idea this was published by Signet. Such a sad day this line ended.
My only quibble was that the first chapter ran on and on about the background of Lady Gloriana, with the conversation taking place between two entirely unrelated people who just like to gossip. It was filled with information that was unnecessary (since I skipped it and didn't feel the lack). I thought all that was necessary was to say that Lady Anne was the daughter of some dissipated Earl who did some dastardly deeds and was ostracized. That's really all that was needed. But there was background as to why Lady Anne was residing with these Cits and the whole history of the Cits, how all the women are named Rosa-something, etc. etc. All turned out to be unimportant, because in the following chapter, it's years later, and Lady Gloriana is now Miss Anne, governess exemplar and of independent means. ...more
Maybe I'm not enough of a chocolate fan. In fact, I'm not much of a sweets person. I had a friend back in school though, who confessed that she buys pMaybe I'm not enough of a chocolate fan. In fact, I'm not much of a sweets person. I had a friend back in school though, who confessed that she buys pounds of chocolates every week and inhales them. So there are apparently people who are addicted to chocolate. If these people are looking for a chocolate cookbook that happens to also have a historical whodunit in it, they might enjoy this book.
The chocolate recipes and historical tidbits would perhaps have worked better if they were shorter and placed at the end of the chapter in ebook form. In paper form, the recipes would be great at the beginning and easy to find. In ebook format, it's tedious. But that's not the author's fault.
Maybe it was because all the characters seemed like caricatures. The book opens up with Ariana posing as Alphonse, but right from the beginning, her flashbacks in italics are incredibly frustrating and jarring. There are flashbacks regarding all sorts of people from her past, and something about the wording just made it terrible to pick out what was going on. Or it may have been the excessive historical prelude to every chapter seeming to derive from someone's diary that had me skimming.
Then there is the introduction of Grentham, the person in the government who's supposed to guard the Prince Regent, described as ruthless, but coming off more as a malicious head honcho who's constantly buffing his nails. He calls in Lord Saybrook, who's an Earl in his own right, but is so rude to him that I found it untenable. They banter (maliciously) about cooking, with Grentham finding it effeminate (but are not all great chefs at the time male?) and Saybrook stating that highborns on the Continent are more well-versed in household affairs. This conversation also has Grentham essentially asking Saybrook if he's gay, by asking if he likes boys or knitting (because that's also womanly). This conversation is RIDICULOUS to me. Homosexuality was, at the time, punishable by hanging, so for Grentham to accuse a Peer of this is simply incredible. And comparing cooking to knitting? What century are we in, now?
All the government officials are terrifically rude to Saybrook, who looks like a cadaver and is limping, due to soldiering, with veiled hints that a saber cut might have cut off his unmentionable. Again, also incredible, because the man is an Earl. He goes over to Lady Spencer (Prince Regent's current mistress) and lo and behold, the butler is also rude to him and doesn't recognize him! How is this possible in all dictates of the Regency world as established by publishers and writers alike? They should have known he was Quality from the cut of his coat, etc. etc. Not to mention a newly ascended Earl who was limping -- there really wouldn't be that many in the top 1% of England who happened to also be in London.
Then there's a confrontation between Saybrook and Ariana, in her disguise as Alphonse, who's outed in a matter of minutes, and the only clue the reader has is that Saybrook has been staring at her fingers for a long time. The way he chooses to out her is -- he stabs her in the down-filled chest and then they engage in a...knife fight? The action isn't very clearly written. Then there's an explosion of some kind or a pistol shot, and people are in the small kitchen, and they're fending off two assailants in masks.
Yes, a cook is going to pad herself with down feathers and cook in a poorly lit, badly ventilated kitchen. Oh, not to mention, with a false moustache, and a cotton roll down her pants as well. How is she not to overheat and die while cooking?
There were just too many unbelievable elements, and the characters and the writing both were turnoffs....more
The reason this book got a 3* rating was simply because it was easy to pick up and fall into Meg's life. The chapters are short and separated intHmm.
The reason this book got a 3* rating was simply because it was easy to pick up and fall into Meg's life. The chapters are short and separated into days, and as the whole book falls into the the month of June (July?) and the month is packed with three weddings (and a couple of deaths), it takes up the whole book.
But at the end, to be honest, I felt it fell a bit short of 3*. It shouldn't be labeled as a cozy mystery but more a chick lit, with some mystery deaths included.
A couple of small issues with the book is that the summary blurb is about the best prologue to the book you will have. There are tons of things going on and people introduced, and you won't know any of those details until several pages after they've first been introduced. For example, Michael's dog, Spike, being a holy terror? I had to refer back to the blurb. Made me wonder if I had skipped one or two or five chapters. Or did my ebook have some parts redacted? Or maybe I clicked on something inadvertently. Also, there's no mention of Michael being rumored to be gay...until the very end.
Essentially, Meg (and you don't know her name until several chapters in) with the huge forearms from ironworking and "not small in size" figure, seems to belong to a huge, complicated network of crazy individuals that take up a sizable part of the town. And the three weddings she's arranging appear to be her business partner, Eileen's, her sister-in-law-to-be, Samantha (a total biatch), and her mom. They run her absolutely ragged, which is initially amusing, but starts to be less so somewhere towards the middle, because, seriously, she hates doing all that, she's not made out to be a doormat, so why in heaven's name is she doing all the work anyway? For her mom, I get. Moms are hard to say no to. For her business partner, maybe. They're good friends, but that doesn't excuse anyone from using you like a toilet brush. But Samantha that she hates? Why's she helping this person? It's not like she doesn't come from an apparently rich family (they all belong to the uppercrust, so why isn't a wedding planner hired???) and can afford help. Then that wedding doesn't pan out. As an unpaid wedding planner, I think I'd be pretty pissed. But no, nothing. She's just thankful it's all over.
Oh, and FYI, all of the above, you sort of have to figure out who's who along the way, which was an innovative way of writing, I suppose, because it puts you on your way running. But I found the ending to be a disappointment. Bad guy(s) turning out to be the bad guy(s)? And only one conversation that alludes to any sleuthing?
All in all, probably 2.5*.
Innovative, I suppose. I did enjoy the ride. I was expecting there to be murder UTILIZING the peacocks, but it was just murder, and there were also peacocks. Which would be an understandable disappointment to anyone. I mean, using peacocks to kill someone, now that would really be something....more
Much better than the DK Witness guidebook, probably because of its clearly Pro-Palestinian stance. Because of that, it offers cheaper and more optionsMuch better than the DK Witness guidebook, probably because of its clearly Pro-Palestinian stance. Because of that, it offers cheaper and more options than the DK Witness Israel guidebook, which is very pro-Israel. Of course. I don't know if that would surprise anyone.
Has good advice on rental car agencies, places to stay in non-Israel areas, and how to drive into the Palestinian areas. Good stuff. Driving is very comfortable in Israel, unlike in Greece....more
I can't speak for the part regarding Beijing, since we used a really awesome local guidebook given by...somebody, but the part on Shanghai was TERRIBLI can't speak for the part regarding Beijing, since we used a really awesome local guidebook given by...somebody, but the part on Shanghai was TERRIBLE. Note: I have been to Shanghai and surroundings areas before, so I can attest firsthand at the beauty of the area. However, the photos of Shanghai and the watertowns nearby were so craptastic as to make us NOT want to visit them. Seriously, could there have been worse pictures of Hangzhou? Or Suzhou?
Not the mention the places to eat were really terrible.
Oh, right, and the French Concession area? Ask any local there and you'll get...a blank stare. NOBODY knows what the French Concession area is, because it's not even called that.
What a terrible guidebook. Pick up a local book for better tips on local eats. The ones included here included the worst food I've ever had on a trip abroad....more
Putting aside the fact that Candida Moss is a total babe, this book of revisionist history is quite entertaining and, well, impassioned. I don't knowPutting aside the fact that Candida Moss is a total babe, this book of revisionist history is quite entertaining and, well, impassioned. I don't know that I believe in everything Moss espouses, particularly as she is so passionate about her topic, but she presents, for the most part, a compelling argument. (It was less compelling when she said, Christians weren't persecuted, because it's not persecution when it's prosecution, and okay, if it's persecution, it wasn't that long anyway. <--That's not a compelling argument for non-persecution.) I must have apparently missed all this talk on Christians being persecuted, because the last I heard, the Christians of Western civilization have been persecuting others, or, ahem, converting lesser beings for quite a long time now. (But I recently ran across a BBC segment entitled "Are Christians Being Persecuted?" and although I didn't finish listening to it, the title would suggest that they are.) Also, regarding her interesting definition of persecution v. prosecution, I do think her definition tended to downplay persecution as persecution when it's a byproduct of political goals. I don't necessarily think it's not to be considered persecution on those grounds, but it may shed a different light, perhaps.
In general, I find revisionist histories amusing and interesting, especially when the authors can make a pretty coherent argument to support their thesis. I much prefer it to dry recitals of facts, therefore, I did like this book.
This book was also written in a very colloquial tone, which made it easier to read in some parts, but was also jarring in others. (In particular, the line referring to the writings of some apostle, Luke, I think it was: "He does this all the time." That line was so jarring that I kept thinking about how informal it was all throughout that chapter and the next.)
Aside from that, the book is good reading just for a beginner's intro to writings of the period and history, all the writings of the Apocrypha that had apparently passed me by before and now I am slightly more acquainted with. Good stuff. Very colorful. She did a good job presenting these documents without having the audience go to read it.
And though I may have thought her impassioned tone tended to take away from the credibility of her thesis, the last chapter did explain her bias against people not sympathizing with victims (say, the 9 y/o who got pregnant with twins as a result of rape by her stepfather was excommunicated with her doctor for the abortion which saved her life. But not the twins. Obviously.) Apparently, there are some people who believed had the 9 y/o died from giving birth, she would have instantly hit the jackpot by becoming a martyr. Instant crown-in-heaven and skipping-of-judgment-on-high and vengeful-sainthood-with-right-to-laugh-at-others. I did quite enjoy Moss's colorful depictions....more