This is a collection of photographs by Mohan Bhasker, and many of them are stunning. As the title indicts, the photos aDisclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.
This is a collection of photographs by Mohan Bhasker, and many of them are stunning. As the title indicts, the photos are divided by continent. While largely pictures, there is some text, for the most part relating experiences while on the journey.
It’s strange that North and South America share a chapter, while each other continent gets its own (and you can make a geologic argument that Europe isn’t one). While there are pretty pictures of New England in the fall, Canada is left out – though Mexico gets attention. The focus on South America is largely, though not exclusively, on Argentina. Those photos are beautiful, largely of nature, and they will make you want to visit.
I do wonder, can anyone not include photos of lavender in France, just once?
The weakest section of the book, for me, was the Africa chapter. This isn’t because the photos aren’t stunning; every photo in the book is. It’s because they are all nature photos. While the focus is on the natural world, the chapter on the Americas, Europe, and Asia do include buildings. Why not Africa? Why just the almost standard photos, wonderful as they are, of lions, zebras, and so on? Bu hey, at least Africa got more attention than Australia.
The heart of the book is the Asia section, including a section on Nepal that is impossible to look at without thinking of the earthquake. The Asia section does make up for other Africa and Australia. And it is this chapter that truly comes across as a love letter of words and photos. ...more
This book covers houses largely in the United States, though there is brief trip across the border to Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.
This book covers houses largely in the United States, though there is brief trip across the border to Canada. The houses range from those at Colonial Williamsburg to the Clintons’ house in Arkansas (as well as George W Bush’s childhood home, so the book is bi-partisan). The focus, as you can see from the title is the decorations that each house displays during the Christmas holiday. There are, therefore, lots of dressed up trees, mangers, and loud colors.
There is also quite a bit of history about each house and sometimes about the owners (and no, I’m not just talking about the Clintons here).
The decorations range from historically accurate to tasteful to loud. But that is, in many ways, a matter of taste. One of the more interesting sections is about Bayou Bend; a house in Houston once lived in by Irma Hogg. Apparently, each year includes a setting-more along the lines of a story- including ones set during the Civil War or a snow ball fight. That’s cool.
Whistler’s house is included in this collection, and you haven’t really seen Whistler’s mother until you’ve seen for the holidays.
The book is far more than photos. There is much history, so you will at least learn something. It’s a quick read. ...more
This is another installment in the Winemaker Detective series. Benjamin and his lustful apprentice Virgile are hired3.5
Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.
This is another installment in the Winemaker Detective series. Benjamin and his lustful apprentice Virgile are hired to evaluate a winery by its potential buyer, who is facing disapproval from his wife. Of course, as always, there appears a body.
I once said that the series reminds me of Jessica Fletcher, and this is partly true. In many ways, however, it is the children of Murder, She Wrote and Midsummer Murders. That is largely true here, and, in fact, there is more Midsummer than Murder She Wrote.
This installment is a little more adult than previous, and is closer to one of the stereotypes of the French that Americans have. Part of this is because the supporting characters get more room here. Overall, that’s a nice touch and removes some of the status quo feeling that sounds Benjamin and his circle.
There are also some in jokes about writing.
The charm of the series lies in the authors’ description of French country and country life, and this book does not let the reader down. In fact, there seems to be more emphasis on description of nature in this book. In part, this seems to be a desire to make a little known part of France better known. This also seems to be true of the discussion about wine and marketing. It’s a bit more issue oriented in this regard. This isn’t to say the discussion is dull; it’s not and you might find yourself recalling it when you next buy wine.
A good entry into an enjoyable series.
Honesty, there should be a vacation tour tied to this series. ...more
Seriously, there isn't much world building, but the plot does work. There is also an attempt at romance as well as lust. It's actually a rather good uSeriously, there isn't much world building, but the plot does work. There is also an attempt at romance as well as lust. It's actually a rather good use of the original story. Something about the writing isn't quite my taste. But this was a rather pleasant surprise....more
Edited. Nice re-telling of a lustful Beauty and the Beast, but pretty un-inventive in terms of plot. I think it's more my taste; so someone else mightEdited. Nice re-telling of a lustful Beauty and the Beast, but pretty un-inventive in terms of plot. I think it's more my taste; so someone else might like it....more
The only reason I started this series (I have #2 on audio) is because I thought Causal Vacancy was such a good novel.
I can understand why Rowling wantThe only reason I started this series (I have #2 on audio) is because I thought Causal Vacancy was such a good novel.
I can understand why Rowling wanted to keep her authorship of this series a secret. I mean, there is the whole genre thing, it isn't a novel of society the same way Vacancy is - though there several critiques of society.
What it is - an above average British mystery.
While not quite following in the footsteps of Rendell and James, Rowling's mystery does remind a me a bit of them. Both Strike and Robin have that educated feeling of Rendell and James' detectives. There is a bit more humor here, than in James and Rendell - but the feeling is slightly similar.
Strike is called upon to investigate the apparent sucide of a top model - he's also in dealing with money issues. Robin, his temp, is not only working for him, but trying to find a job (or at the very least what she wants to do).
While the mystery is somewhat predictable towards the end, Rowling does look at race issues in a way that was never addressed in the Potter series. It's actually a pretty good mystery....more