shadrach_anki

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Sylvester: or The Wicked Uncle

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At first glance, the subtitle of this book was somewhat confusing. Granted, that's likely because the copy I borrowed from the public library was a (first edition?) hardcover completely lacking a dust jacket, so there was no summary or blurb or anything else of that sort. Still, it took a bit for the "wicked uncle" part to be made clear.Sylvester, Duke of Salford, and Phoebe Marlowe are delightfully entertaining characters, with plenty of quirks. I also loved the various secondary characters in this story--Edmund is a particularly adorable little imp.
Alcatraz vs the Shattered Lens

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Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens is the fourth (and currently last) installment of the Alcatraz Smedry series. Brandon Sanderson ramped up the tension while still maintaining the lighthearted, humorous tone of the series. The reoccurring use of the word "stoopid" did get a little bit irritating at times, but each previous book in the series had some element or other designed for that purpose. Definitely hope that Brandon is able to write and publish the fifth book.
Girl Genius -Agatha H and the Airship City

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I was very excited to find this book on the shelf at my local bookstore (it took them a while to get it in). I have been reading the Girl Genius comic for several years, so a novelisation was of interest to me.The writing is solid, though some stylistic elements may take getting used to, particularly if you are unfamiliar with steampunk and/or Girl Genius. Content-wise this novel covers the same time period and story elements as the first three volumes of the Girl Genius comic. There are some minor differences between the two, and the novel expands on several background story elements that aren't really covered predominantly in the comic.Unfortunately, reading the novel doesn't let you see all the intricate background details that are shoved into the art in the comic. Including said details would be impractical; if nothing else it would completely bog down and derail the story. So as an example, in the novel we have to be content with knowing Gil's personal library has bookcases crammed with books, and some of the broad categories those books fall under. In the comic we can read the titles of many of those books (things like Who's Who, What's What, Cultivate a Maniacal Laugh, and Oops!) and get some chuckles.All in all I would say this is a good companion work to the comic, not a replacement or substitute. They work best together. Reading the novel had me jumping back in to reread the comic, because I was craving all the little humorous details that just didn't translate over to the written word.
Plum Pudding Murder

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This is my first experience with the Hannah Swensen mysteries by Joanne Fluke, and overall I enjoyed it. Because it is later in the series it was difficult at first to keep track of the side characters (which characters are there just for the one story, and which are recurring cast members), but overall I think it stood fairly well on its own. I'll have to go back to read more of the series to pick up on some of the book to book plot threads.I particularly liked that the murder investigation wasn't the only mystery within the book, and I'm really looking forward to trying a number of the recipes.
Cryoburn

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I love the character development that occurs in this book. And there's some beautiful symmetry between this book and The Warrior's Apprentice.
Percy Jackson: The Demigod Files

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My reactions to this book are...mixed (hence the average rating). First, the short stories. All three of them were excellent, expanding the story universe and giving more insight into the characters and their motivations. They laid the groundwork for some things that come up later in the series (and in the follow-up series) without bogging down the main narrative. The short stories were the reason I picked up this book in the first place.Second, the interviews with the various campers and the other Camp Half Blood related stuff. I found these mildly entertaining, but not much beyond that. They do give some insight/information into the characters and how the camp works, but in general they feel pretty light.Third, the puzzles and games. Again, mildly interesting, but also rather simplistic. This is completely understandable, given the target audience for the book, but I wouldn't have been fussed had they been left out entirely. I'm not a huge fan of puzzles in books anyway, since they can create issues if you lend/borrow the book.Finally, the character depictions...no. Just no. They don't match up with my mental pictures at all. Too cartoony for my tastes, with exaggerated proportions and garish colours. And there's just something off about the eyes in nearly every picture.
Wren Journeymage

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It's been about ten years since I read the first two books in the Wren series, and I managed to completely miss the third book, but the story in Wren Journeymage is easy to follow, even with minimal prior knowledge of the series and characters. I enjoyed reading it, though it probably would have been better for me had I reread the earlier books in the series before reading this one. Because I did not do this, certain character actions/reactions seemed disproportionate in nature to the events portrayed (the treatment Hawk received in general comes immediately to mind).As far as formatting of the book is concerned, I found the ebook to be well laid out, and multiple file formats were provided. I did not notice any glaring formatting errors, so it was a pleasant reading experience overall.
The Masqueraders

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What's the fastest way for a brother and sister on the run to shake off pursuit? Why, switch places, of course! Prudence and Robin Tremaine are masters of disguise, and they both need all their wits about them to pull off their most recent masquerade: Prudence as a dashing young man, and Robin as the lovely young sister.Of course, nothing is ever as easy as it seems, but that's more than half the fun! This was my first experience with Georgette Heyer's work, and it was absolutely delightful. Fascinating characters, intricate plots within plots within plots, and a goodly dash of romance. I have to admit, however, that I wanted to soundly shake the "old gentleman" on more than one occasion. He was far too pleased with himself for it to be healthy.
The Corinthian

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Another entertaining romp through Regency-era England. I found this one was a little slow to get started, but as soon as Pen showed up it was a nonstop run from one crazy thing to the next.
Desperation Dinners

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I was in college when my mother presented me with a copy of Desperation Dinners. While I love to cook, my busy school schedule only rarely provided me with the time to prepare any sort of elaborate meal. The promise of home-cooked meals in twenty minutes flat was definitely an alluring one for me, particularly if "home-cooked" meant more than box macaroni and cheese or ramen noodles. Still, I'd seen plenty of "quick" cookbooks before that were really anything but. Happily, this book delivers on its promise.Nearly every recipe found in this book will be ready within twenty minutes. The only exceptions are (clearly marked) recipes where you have to boil water; those can take up to ten minutes more in total preparation time. It should also be noted that the twenty minute preparation time is with one person doing the cooking, provided they remember to keep moving from step to step in the recipe. If you have someone else helping you then things can move along much faster.This remains one of the go-to cookbooks in my family. I have enjoyed every meal prepared using this book, and I make it a point to keep the ingredients for several of my favorites on hand. The instructions are clear, and the authors give explanations for why they use certain ingredients and preparations. In general the ingredients used are easy to find, and the recipes themselves are easy to modify if needed.I highly recommend this book as a starter cookbook for college students and new couples who want to do more in the kitchen but may not have the time for elaborate meals.
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