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Arcadia: A novel
Arcadia: A novel
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $13.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Inkling Insipid, March 29, 2016
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This review is from: Arcadia: A novel (Kindle Edition)
Although cleverly plotted, this novel targets the YA market (or even adventurous younger readers) much more than it will engage adult readers who may have enjoyed either Pears' sophisticated art fraud mysteries or his philosophical magnum opus, The Instance of the Fingerpost. Although this tale offers some provocative speculations about time travel, the multiverse, and the tangibility of fictional creation, none move to a maturity other than that of a clever idea reasonably well expressed Also, as the novel reaches its climax, the characters themselves begin to lose coherence, with the result that the ending (or, perhaps more accurately, the frantic tidying up of the narrative) felt rushed, inconclusive and somewhat disconnected, almost as if Pears had grown bored with his creations and couldn't wait to leave them behind. This novel thus continues, at least for me, the disappointing trend in Pears' more recent fiction, where execution falls far short of the author's intellectual ambition.


Tangle Bay: An Enchanting Colouring Book with Hidden Treasure
Tangle Bay: An Enchanting Colouring Book with Hidden Treasure
by Jessica Palmer
Edition: Flexibound
Price: $11.37
68 used & new from $5.40

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joyful Immersion, March 5, 2016
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An ebullient joie de vivre radiates from the pages of this second coloring book from paper artist Jessica Palmer. It's loosely organized around the symbol of the nautilus, and twirls everything from shells, seagulls and hats to seaside streets, skinny houses and underwater wrecks into seductive patterns. Page after page captures almost every aspect of the human relationship to that liminal zone where sea and land meet and merge, tease and tempt, from the seafaring of pirates to the quotidian nostalgia of the mid-twentieth century beach hut. And, in some ways, the subversion of history and the wit of the fantastic recall the work of Phillip Pullman, with mermaids garbed as Gloriana, galleons buffeted under sun and moon, sea horses as steeds and the inquisitive fish who dart and swirl from century to century. In the perpetual present of the imagination, all is possible.

While the images are as complex as those in Tangle Wood, they are also bursting with energy, and begging for color. And some are downright addictive, with their profusion of detail reminding us to look, and look again, at the world around us and uncover our own idiosyncratic vision. I can imagine, for example, adults and children working on some of these images together, and banishing grey afternoons or rainy days in the quest to finish ' just one more picture.' Nor will experts lack challenges, or inspiration, as the artist subverts cliches (fish on a bicycle, anyone?) and cleverly takes the literal in wholly unexpected directions. In fact, I'm smiling just writing about this delightful, thought-provoking invitation to Tangle Bay....


Unbecoming: A Novel
Unbecoming: A Novel
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An (A)moral Tale, January 14, 2016
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This novel masquerades as a coming-of-age novel, with just a little too much sweetness at the beginning. Then the craquelure of self-delusion and deceit begins to spread, phrase by phrase, action by action, until each character discovers exactly what he or she is capable of doing to survive and thrive. The author writes with a limpid precision, but her real strength lies in the tautness of her plotting, and her chilling deconstruction of any concept of morality.


The Mystery of the Lost Cezanne: A Verlaque and Bonnet Mystery (Verlaque and Bonnet Provencal Mystery Book 5)
The Mystery of the Lost Cezanne: A Verlaque and Bonnet Mystery (Verlaque and Bonnet Provencal Mystery Book 5)
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $11.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun, Ligh-hearted and Atmospheric, November 21, 2015
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As this mystery involved the simultaneous telling of two stories, the mystery element was somewhat light and predictable, and itssolution perfunctory. But the vividly re-created locations, tantalizing descriptions of meals past and present and atmospheric wandering so through the city passed the time delightfully. A little too much chaps-smoking-cigars minutiae for this reader, though, and more discussion of the law and its intricacies would be welcome to add a bit more intellectual heft to the puzzles.


Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike Book 3)
Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike Book 3)
Offered by Hachette Book Group
Price: $11.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This novel attain the fine levels of writing characteristic of the earlier books in ..., November 8, 2015
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This novel attain the fine levels of writing characteristic of the earlier books in the series, but the plot itself was grievously padded with almost wholly irrelevant backstory, particularly that of Cormoran Strike. Certain elements of the backstory were necessary, but pages and pages of self-indulgent, and pretty mushy, at times, introspection which, in addition, really did nothing to move forward the somewhat contrived plot, bloated this slender mystery to tedious length. Romantic relationships diluted the narrative further and, while quite apposite and contemporary, began to feel as if they had strayed in the novel from a complicated "will they, won't they" story line in a prime-time sit. com. Unless a reader is completely addicted to either the characters or the author, I would recommend avoiding this episode in the series.


The Killing Kind
The Killing Kind
Offered by Hachette Book Group
Price: $13.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sharp plotting but more pedestrian writing, October 23, 2015
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This review is from: The Killing Kind (Kindle Edition)
The author constructed a tight plot, with convincing, even witty, incidental turns. But he failed to achieve the writing to match, indulging in some clunky over-editorializing. When the plot tightens, one can just skip this and follow the fast-moving, clever story to its conclusion. The hero, too, is a smart construction, the killer as wounded, troubled, driven by conscience and love loner, ideally suited to appeal to male and female readers in search of escape from the quotidian round. The author does not indulge in detailed, sadistic descriptions of torture, lingering death, etc., which is a welcome departure from the current direction of this genre...a safe read for romantic loners of any age dreaming of an action-packed existence in another life.


Tangle Wood: A Captivating Colouring Book with Hidden Jewels
Tangle Wood: A Captivating Colouring Book with Hidden Jewels
by Jessica Palmer
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.35
83 used & new from $5.69

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex and Compelling, October 14, 2015
Tanglewood offers a delightful escape from - well - everything, as the challenge of searching for the precise color, the question of the juxtaposition of different shades, and the concentration required by the complex designs stills the anxious chatter of the everyday.

While the designs are beautiful, they are not sweet or sentimental, which further enhances the pleasures of this book. Jessica Palmer's papercut art works, whether illustration, 3-D pieces, free-standing sculptures or portraits, hint at the uncanny, so that no line or motif is quite what it seems at first glance. In Tanglewood, both animals and plants, and even the magnificent moon, convey a shade of impudence that sets us humans wittily, but firmly, in our place, even as we bring them to life with our colours. Very enjoyable indeed!

I was surprised that some reviewers complained about thinness of the paper and colour bleeding. Part of the pleasure of any artistic activity is the matching of tools and project. I immediately thought of using coloured pencils for this pleasant and tactile paper, for example, and the flow of the drawings suits the effects they can achieve. And as another reviewer noted, no problems occur when fully opening the book flat, or reclosing it again. I am looking forward to Tangle Bay in 2016, as are the friends, from 75 to 16, to whom I gifted it.


The Children Return: A Bruno, Chief of Police novel (Bruno, Chief of Police Series)
The Children Return: A Bruno, Chief of Police novel (Bruno, Chief of Police Series)
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $11.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Too much local color, too little plot, September 25, 2015
Although I find the character of Bruno, and the location, as delightful as always, I found the plotting strained and rather contrived in this particular book. It seems as if the local color, and the local characters, are foregrounded to the detriment of the plot, both in its technical execution and in its human motivations.


Run You Down: A Novel (Rebekah Roberts Novels Book 2)
Run You Down: A Novel (Rebekah Roberts Novels Book 2)
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A clever but, alas, predictable plot for which ..., August 9, 2015
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A clever but, alas, predictable plot for which the assured writing could not compensate. Also, I'm more than a little tired of protagonists struggling with family angst to the detriment of plotting and pace.


Knit Wear Love: Foolproof Instructions for Knitting Your Best-Fitting Sweaters Ever in the Styles You Love to Wear
Knit Wear Love: Foolproof Instructions for Knitting Your Best-Fitting Sweaters Ever in the Styles You Love to Wear
by Amy Herzog
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.76
84 used & new from $13.50

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good basics with plenty of scope for customization, April 29, 2015
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I like this book for its emphasis on different body types, and the general wearability of most of the garments included. It's often a challenge to imagine a specific garment seen on a willowy model as it might look on a curvier, or smaller, or more broad-shouldered, or even older woman, and given the effort involved in knitting garments, some idea is always helpful. The variety of models in this text is terrific, and I can feel I might be making an informed choice when I choose a pattern to knit.


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