I couldn't help but find this premise, Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle turned detectives, interesting. Unfortunately, when I dove into reading it, iI couldn't help but find this premise, Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle turned detectives, interesting. Unfortunately, when I dove into reading it, it just didn't live up to that potential. The writing and the characters are elementary to the point of becoming annoying. The farcical take on the events makes the entire story seem forced. I had to push myself through the first three-quarters of the story as it just seemed either dull as ditch water or so ridiculous as to instigate involuntary eye rolling on the part of the reader. Perhaps if the authors spent more time fleshing out the characters and the storyline rather than trying to create a caricature of "My Fair Lady", this work would be more successful....more
A beautiful book filled with plenty of pictures of the gorgeous creations of Madame Paulette, one of the greatest designers in the history of Haute MoA beautiful book filled with plenty of pictures of the gorgeous creations of Madame Paulette, one of the greatest designers in the history of Haute Mode. Following her life and career from her first sales during the Jazz Age to her final works in collaboration with Claude Montana and Thierry Mugler in the 1980s, this book delves into Paulette's incredible talent in working with not only the materials used in her craft but also the high society, royal, and celebrity clients which wore her hats. Paulette's understanding of the human form and the human personality as well as straw, fabrics, feathers, net, and jewels is what lead her to become so incredibly successful, her works gracing the head of British and Egyptian royalty as well as Rita Hayworth, Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Grace Kelly, Eva Peron, and Rose Kennedy. She is not only responsible for the popularity of the turban in the 1940s, the capeline in the 1950s, and the pillbox in the 1960s, but she is also responsible for the amazing hats and headpieces seen alongside Cecil Beaton's Academy Award Winning costumes in the films "Gigi" and "My Fair Lady". She was hired to create pieces to accompany the fashions of many Haute Couture designers, including Madame Gres. Her masterpieces still appear in museums around the world. A great book, about a great woman, who made great works of art which were also functional and fashionable. A definite must read for fashion lovers....more
I had high hopes for this book, but was disappointed. There are two main issues. The first is that it reads as a love letter to Mary Pickford and DougI had high hopes for this book, but was disappointed. There are two main issues. The first is that it reads as a love letter to Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, especially Pickford. She receives by far the largest section in the book, nearly sixty percent larger than many of the other sections, and she gets it completely to herself. She then appears as a comparison to every other actress in the book whom tend to share sections with other actors or actresses. The same is true for Fairbanks. While he doesn't have as large a section as his better half, it is still greater than the other actors who end up in constant comparison to him. The only actor who escapes this treatment is Rin-Tin-Tin, and he's not only compared to the other animal actors of his time and since but is also compared to Joan Crawford, not once but twice.
The second issue is the stories spend little time on the actors themselves and much more time bogged down by the minutiae of each and every one of the films they ever made, the costumes, the make-up, the actions, the lines, the reviews, the publicity...This reads more as an in depth comparative filmography than a book about the stars themselves. It simply becomes incredibly weighted down and redundant. If you want an in-depth review of every movie Norma Talmadge ever made or enjoy fifty pages concerning Mary Pickford's curls, feel free to read this book. Otherwise, there are much better choices out there....more
An interesting concept but one that has been done and been done better. The plot is predictable. The characters are quite flat at times. Clues that haAn interesting concept but one that has been done and been done better. The plot is predictable. The characters are quite flat at times. Clues that have already been introduced to the characters seem to be forgotten and reintroduced later as if never seen. The dialogue, especially in the end chapters, is stilted, cliche, and just plain cheesy. The killer is given away extremely early in the book leading to little actual suspense. I greatly suggest if you are interested in a fun mystery book involving paranormal elements and vintage fashion that you look toward of of the others already out there....more
The idea of this book is solid, and there are definitely moments that are fun and engaging. Unfortunately, the writing seems immature. The work is stiThe idea of this book is solid, and there are definitely moments that are fun and engaging. Unfortunately, the writing seems immature. The work is stilted, the dialogue is flat, and the characters are underdeveloped. I wish I could give it a higher rating, but the writing makes it difficult to just push it into the three star range....more
If only the author hadn't given up the main plot twist by around page 100, then again before page 200, and again and again and again. It was like beinIf only the author hadn't given up the main plot twist by around page 100, then again before page 200, and again and again and again. It was like being beaten over the head with a "Here's Whodunit!" sign. In a four hundred page book, to have the author to give away such huge hints so early on just made the book anticlimactic. Don't even get me started on the ending, which seems more appropriate to a B-rated teen flick than a mystery novel. Despite these errors and the somewhat elementary writing, the idea behind this book and the series holds some interest. Some readers will still find this enjoyable, and perhaps the writer will have worked out the kinds before the next installment....more
Poor motherless Flavia. Poor exiled Flavia. Poor lonely Flavia. In this installment, we find our favorite poison-obsessed pre-teen packed up and shippPoor motherless Flavia. Poor exiled Flavia. Poor lonely Flavia. In this installment, we find our favorite poison-obsessed pre-teen packed up and shipped off across the pond to Toronto, to Miss Bodycote's Female Academy. Here she will not only receive lessons in French and Science, but also in the ways of the Nide, the mysterious organization that has included both her mother and her Aunt Felicity, an organization in which Flavia has earned a membership as an inheritance following her mother's death. Of course, Flavia's first day at her new school would not be complete without finding a dead body, spinning her into an investigation which includes a plethora of possible suspects (and victims) but not many people to trust. While Flavia adjusts to life away from home, her new school and all its quirky inhabitants, and her new role in the Nide, she must also find out not only whodunit, but whogotdun, and all without the help of her trusted friend, Dogger; her trusty bicycle, Gladys; or her time-tested equipment in Uncle Tarquin's lab. Will our beloved underage super-sleuth succeed, or will she finally meet her match in the cold halls of a former convent in Canada?
I must admit, I was worried when I found out that Flavia was being sent to boarding school, leaving behind the halls of Buckshaw and all the characters we've come to know and love. Many times, when a series completely reboots, even if just for one installment, we completely loose all that makes the series special. The series simply jumps the shark. Not so at the hands of the incomparable Alan Bradley. While I did miss Buckshaw, Dogger, and, yes, even Feeley and Daffy, so does Flavia. Thus we do get snapshots of memories as reminders of all we love while also being introduced to an entirely new cast of characters to enjoy. The chemistry (both in the lab and between the characters) we've come to enjoy in this series has not been lost. This book gives us a chance to see Flavia outside the confines of Bishop's Lacey and allows us to see her grow in ways she couldn't do there while still keeping her integrity as a character intact. Mr. Bradley has done masterful work in accomplishing this, and as an avid reader of this series, it is greatly appreciated. ...more
It begins with an ending. As world-famous actor Arthur Leander collapses onstage, dying from a heart attack, little do the people in the theater knowIt begins with an ending. As world-famous actor Arthur Leander collapses onstage, dying from a heart attack, little do the people in the theater know that a greater death is waiting outside. A civilization ending virus has spread the world, sparing few. Those that are left must come to terms with the fact that the world they knew is no more and must find their way in the new and chaotic world left behind.
I must admit, I'm not one who generally gravitates to post-apocalyptic/dystopian, but there was something about this novel that called to me. I questioned, more than once, why I had put this book on my "to-read" list. Still, I kept being drawn back to it, and I'm glad I was. I'm glad I gave in to its call. This is a beautifully written novel, following the paths of those who knew Arthur, weaving multiple lines into one consistent plot. The characters' incredible depth is only increased as their storylines intersect. It is emotionally intense even when there is a sense of detachment. It is a novel full of heartbreak but also full of hope. Masterfully written, it's a definite must read, even for those who don't normally lean toward this genre, and definitely one of the best books of the year. ...more
In February 1922, a shot rings out, a man is seen leaving the home of Hollywood director William Desmond Taylor, and the film industry is rocked by onIn February 1922, a shot rings out, a man is seen leaving the home of Hollywood director William Desmond Taylor, and the film industry is rocked by one of the greatest mysteries and greatest scandals in its early history. Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood follows the ups and downs of early Hollywood, including the secrets surrounding the life and death of William Desmond Taylor. Mann does a wonderful job in creating an enjoyable and well researched read. Unfortunately, while Mann makes us thinks this research is leading to a major breakthrough in the case, it's actually leading to yet another possible scenario founded on conjecture and circumstantial evidence. Does Mann's solution make sense? Possibly. Does Mann provide any evidence equivalent to actual proof? Not so much. While the writing and research make this an interesting read, Mann's proclamation that his solution is somehow the only possible solution simply has no real evidentiary basis and ruins the ending of what could otherwise have been a truly wonderful book....more
A book as appropriate and important today as the day it was written, Black Like Me is a sociological and anthropological look at prejudice and discrimA book as appropriate and important today as the day it was written, Black Like Me is a sociological and anthropological look at prejudice and discrimination centered around race relations. Yet, this can easily be seen in matters beyond race in many instances. While some of the issues have lessened and changed, others have become better hidden, and still others have simply shifted to other population groups, When reading one can see the familiar justifications and excuses still given today. An enlightening look at the dynamics that drive discrimination....more