18 January 2017

Wordless Wednesday: Getting Ready to March

A few more letters (& glitter!) & I'm ready for the Boston Women's March
for America.
(Yes, I took the words from a pin I own ... I'm not terribly original).

16 January 2017

Cocaine Blues: A Phryne Fisher Mystery

After foiling a robbery at a posh English party, the Honourable Phryne Fisher is asked to investigate the probable poisoning of a society woman in Australia. Bored with society and at loose-ends, Phryne agrees to travel to Melbourne and find out the truth behind the woman's illness, but strictly on her own terms. Arriving in Melbourne, Phryne quickly begins a series of adventures that will introduce her to the heights (and depths) of Melbourne society ... and to the mysterious King of Snow who so mercilessly runs Melbourne's cocaine trade.

Cocaine Blues was a light and entertaining romp through 1920s Melbourne, full of interesting characters and beautiful descriptions of clothes. Its lightness and sheer entertainment value is a little surprising considering the heavy topics dealt with in the novel -- back-alley abortions, drug trade, domestic abuse, street life, communism, sexism, etc -- and I applaud Greenwood for pulling it off so deftly. I enjoyed Cocaine Blues very much and look forward to reading the other nineteen books in the series.

If you haven't watched ABC's Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, starring Essie Davis, you're missing quite a treat and I strongly recommend you get them out from your library or watch them on Netflix. Yes, they are rather different from the books, but that just means you now have two new things to enjoy.

Cocaine Blues: A Phryne Fisher Mystery by Kerry Greenwood (Poison Pen Press, 2006)

09 January 2017

Space Battle Lunchtime, Volume 1: Lights, Camera, Snacktion!

I love cooking shows like The Great British Bake-Off and Iron Chef as well as anime like Food Wars, so when I heard about Space Battle Lunchtime, I knew I had to have it. Apparently, so did everyone else as the wait for a library copy was too looong for an impatient reader such as myself. Eventually, though, Space Battle Lunchtime, Volume 1 arrived on my desk and I devoured it.

Peony is young, but very competent human baker who finds herself as a last minute replacement entrant on the intergalactic cooking show Space Battle Lunchtime. All of the ingredients and equipment are, unsurprisingly, quite alien to Peony but she strives to do her best and win against her alien competitors over four rounds of cooking. And, if it were just about cooking, Peony might be okay, but her competition is very cut-throat and there is sabotage and underhandedness afoot. Also there's some question as to how the chef she replaced ended up on the rival cooking show, "Cannibal Coliseum," where competitors cook and eat each other.

Like one of Peony's pastries, Space Battle Lunchtime is scrumptious and sweet. The illustrations are very expressive and colorful and I really enjoyed the amount of detail Riess packs into each scene. In a book with a large cast, every character still remains individual and interesting. I'm really rooting for Peony and Neptunia to become besties (or more) and I hope someone gives Melonhead a good kicking. The bonus material at the back of the book -- chef biographies, sketches, and examples of spacefood -- are just so much delicious icing on an already tasty cake. I can't wait to read the second volume, A Recipe for Disaster, out in July.

(The Husband also really enjoyed Space Battle Lunchtime -- especially the snafu with the salt).

Space Battle Lunchtime, Volume 1: Lights, Camera, Snacktion! by Natalie Riess (Oni Press, 2016)