Lady Mechanika, Volume 4: The Clockwork Assassin

Lady Mechanika, Volume 4

Lady Mechanika, Volume 4: The Clockwork Assassin (chronologically the fifth in the series, as the unnumbered volume La Dame de la Muerte fits best in between 1 and 2) takes us to Mechanika City, home to the Lady Mechanika and her friends.

It is one of her closest friends, perhaps her closest, Mr Lewis, that this volume focuses on. You see, people from his past have started to die, and the murderer has an M.O. suspiciously like that of his mechanically augmented friend.

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Enola Holmes

Enola Holmes

Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister has grown up in the country, raised by her single mother and away from her famous siblings Mycroft and Sherlock. After the disappearance of her free-thinking mother, she escapes Mycroft’s attempts to make her socially acceptable — and less of an embarrassment to him, a government official — to travel to London in search of the missing Holmes family matriarch.

On the way she gets embroiled, like Holmes family members tend to do, in the case of a missing aristocrat, has her brothers trying to find her, for various reasons, and is slowly stumbling across the plot her mother has gotten herself into.

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The Balero Affair

The Balero Affair

The best way to describe The Balero Affair by Aaron McQueen is dieselpunk meets Mission Impossible in the far future. With a lot of airships. Of various kinds.

The plot reads a bit like a Mission Impossible movie: against near-impossible odds, a small crew of heroes needs to get hold of weapons that can destroy the world as they know it from a terrorist cell. It’s fast-paced like the movies, too.

The Balero Affair might not have the most original plot, but it has good characters and a good pace. Which is excellent if you’re looking for some fun, light reading without too many twists and turns to wrap your head around. Character development is kept to a minimum, as is worldbuilding.

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Les 4 Maisons

Les 4 Maisons is a Harry Potter speciality store, but it is also a clock-, steam- and dieselpunk decor shop. Are you looking for a new globe? A pen and quill set? A coffee table that used to be an ocean liner travel cabinet? This, and much more, can be found at Les 4 Maisons.

If you can’t visit the physical store in Liège, Belgium, fret not, they have a webshop! But, as you can tell from the pictures, a visit to the store is well worth it!

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Decades of Hats

Decades of Hats

As the title suggests, this catalogue book is all about hats. Collecting hat ads from the 1900s to the 1970s, it is a marvelous display of the evolution of headwear through the years.

Sadly, as is too often the case with books like these, all pages are in black and white, denying us the color stories behind the designs.

Even in grayscale, the book is pretty amazing if you’re into hats and want to know more which piece was appropriate for which period.

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Catalogue Books: What We Will (And Won’t) Learn from Them

This is a companion piece to my series of catalogue book reviews for those wondering which book will suit them best and whether or not it’s something they want to start with.

Now, what is to be taken away from these tomes that give us a visual glimpse in sartorial evolution from 1909 to 1959? Other than how fashion has evolved from the steam into the diesel and atomic eras?

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Everyday Fashions, 1909-1920s

Everyday Fashions, 1909-1920, as Pictured in Sears Catalogs

Next in our series of catalogue book reviews is not one but two books, covering the Jazz Age.

First up: Sears of the late steam and early diesel eras, during which fashion evolved from late Edwardian and Art Nouveau era into flapper styles and Art Deco.

It’s pretty amazing to see how these styles evolved fairly rapidly and then stuck to that typical 1920s silhouette for quite some time.

This book gives you a wide perspective of the evolution into typical Jazz Age fashions, which is great if you want a nuanced look at the sartorial evolution or an era-specific outfit.

The book contains styles for different body types (although not as many as it should, in my opinion) as well as a variety of children’s, women’s and men’s clothing.

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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

The second Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them movie, The Crimes of Grindelwald, takes us to Paris in 1927 at the height of the Jazz Age.

As the title suggests, the movie continues to feature the plans of Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), the greatest dark wizard of his time. While he is featured, their paths cross and we do see him plot, the movie equally revolves around the personal adventures of Newt (Eddie Redmayne), his friends and other characters, separately from what Grindelwald is getting up to.

If you haven’t seen the first Fantastic Beasts movie but are familiar with Harry Potter, you might be a tiny bit confused at some points, but not so much that you can’t follow the storyline. If you are wholly unfamiliar with the Wizarding World universe, however, the movie be more confusing. But I wouldn’t say you won’t be able to enjoy it.

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Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns: A Complete Lady’s Wardrobe

Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns: A Complete Lady's Wardrobe

In my review of Patterns of Fashion 2, I mentioned that there are alternatives to that work. This is one of them. Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns (1999) has all the garments a lady living in Victorian-era America was supposed to own. Plenty are geared toward the upper-class woman, but the books contains patterns for a variety of outfits.

All the patterns are reproductions from a dressmaker’s journal called The Voice of Fashion. (Of which this is not the only reproduction, but I digress.)

Personally, I find these patterns much easier to work with than those in Patterns of Fashion 2. Not only are we provided with a short introduction shedding light onto the cost of an American lady’s wardrobe, and what should be in it according to polite society at the time; the methods needed to turn these patterns into a garment that fits your body are pretty well explained.

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The Green Wave

The Green Wave

Cassandra Kelly’s debut novel, The Green Wave, is a most enjoyable one, taking us on a wild adventure with Rosalyn Flynn, Reverend to the Enlightenment Church and airship pilot, from Canterbury to Sydney and far beyond. Along with a cast of characters that are well fleshed-out and equally interesting as the Reverend herself.

Even though the backstories of the characters are kept to a minimum, we are given ample information about them not to be left with tons of questions. Action scenes are descriptive, but short enough to keep you from becoming bored with detail. The author has definitely found that fine line between going in-depth and being overly descriptive.

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