Friday, December 9, 2022

The Bat House Guide


The Bat House Guide is a well written and practical guide to increasing habitat and attracting and supporting bats written by Merlin Tuttle & Danielle Cordani. Released 8th Nov 2022 by Greenleaf, it's 88 pages and is available in hardcover and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. 

This is a concise and *useful* guide to creating supportive habitat for indigenous bat species in a wide variety of locales. There are tutorials for bat houses and colony houses which include lumber cut lists, isometric drawings and cutaways which will allow readers with some basic woodworking experience to recreate them for local species. 

The photography throughout is truly amazing and top quality. There are macro shots with incredible detail of bats in flight and standing still, eating, rearing young, and going about their business. Even without the useful woodworking plans, the book would be valuable for the amazing photography alone. In addition, it contains a surprising amount of layman accessible natural science and biology (and even a bit of botany related to bats' vital role as pollinators). 

Five stars. This would be a superlative choice for public or school library acquisition, home use, as well as for smallholders, community garden groups, and similar. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

Murder at the Gardens A Belinda Penshurst Mystery #3

 

Murder at the Gardens is the third book in Lisa Cutts' charming Belinda Penshurst village cozy series. Released 14th April 2022, it's 266 pages and is available in paperback and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. For Kindle Unlimited subscribers, this book is currently included in the KU subscription library to borrow and read for free, as are the other books in the series.

This is such an engaging and fun series. The narrative is lighthearted, including an ensemble cast of oddball small-town characters. There are moments of genuine humor which surprised a giggle out of me. The author definitely doesn't take herself or her characters too seriously. For all that, it's well written and eminently readable.

There are admittedly some fairly silly and over the top developments and plot twists, but it's a village cozy, so it's really part of the whimsy. The "over the top" characters and dialogue were always on the right side of charming and didn't shade over into annoying or yank me out of my suspension of disbelief, so it was a fun read.  As always, amateur sleuth Belinda, castle-dwelling, clever, and single minded, is determined to get to the bottom of the skullduggery infesting *her* village. 

Readers who enjoy very light village cozies such as the series by Merryn Allingham, Frances Evesham, and Clare Chase will find much to like with these books. There are 3 books currently extant in the series, making it a good candidate for a weekend binge series read.

Four stars. Charming, diverting, and well written.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Killer in the Crowd


Killer in the Crowd is a well written standalone mystery thriller by PN Johnson. Released 30th March 2022 by Burning Chair, it's 318 pages and is available in paperback and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. For Kindle Unlimited subscribers, this book is currently included in the KU subscription library to borrow and read for free. 

This is the author's debut novel and I was most pleasantly surprised with the quality of the writing. It's an engaging and immersive cold-case missing persons mystery/thriller with a death in the current day which draws the female protagonist into trying to solve the 30-year-old mystery of her own mother's disappearance. Much of the book is set in the underground/punk music scene and the author does a superb job of recreating the milieu, including the gritty behind-the-scenes realities. 

There's a romance subplot which was deftly handled and which meshes nicely with the book's denouement and resolution. All in all a well written mystery thriller. There are mentions of drug abuse and sexual crimes. The language is rough in places with rugged monosyllables sprinkled throughout. Very much a case of sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. 

Four stars. It'll be nice to see how (or if) the author develops the characters further.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

A Pen Dipped in Poison


A Pen Dipped in Poison is the second cozy mystery featuring a trio of retired primary school teachers by J.M. Hall. Due out 30th March 2023 from HarperCollins on their Avon, UK imprint, it's 378 pages and will be available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. 

There's an anonymous poison pen loose at St. Barnabus primary school and they've targeted everyone from the headmistress on down. Soon (despite the protestations of their spouses), retired teacher trio Pat, Liz, and Thelma are drawn into the case to get to the bottom of the nasty anonymous letters as well as potential skullduggery on the part of Lodestone, which has acquired St. Barnabus amongst other holdings.

I reviewed the first book in the series, and this one is a well written and solidly entertaining follow-up. The protagonists are believable and appealing. The writing is smoother than the debut book, and I found the mystery well wrought and satisfying. The author has found his stride and I look forward to more featuring these protagonists. 

Four stars. This would be a good choice for fans of Osman's excellent Thursday Murder club books, as well as Laurien Berenson's new Peg & Rose series. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.


Sunday, December 4, 2022

A Spoonful Of Murder


A Spoonful Of Murder is an engaging amateur sleuth mystery and series debut by J.M. Hall. Released 17the March 2022 by Harper Collins on their Avon, UK imprint, it's 331 pages and is available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. 

For fans of quirky fair play mysteries with non-traditional amateur sleuths, there's a lot to like here. The main characters are a trio of retired primary school teachers who are drawn into sleuthing when a former colleague dies under murky circumstances. The pacing is careful, and a bit slow, but does pick up toward the middle/later parts of the book. The background and interrelationships are built up gradually; I suspect the following book(s) in the series won't be as leisurely. 

One thing I found distracting, although I'm a huge sinner myself in my personal writing is that the author is -very- fond of parenthetical commentary throughout the book. Third person omniscient point of view provides temptations aplenty for side comments and the author hasn't resisted any of them (said Nonstop Reader in the privacy of her own mind). Readers who are irritated by small asides in third person PoV will likely be dragged out of their suspension of disbelief every page (not an exaggeration, she said with an earnest look). 

That's the only complaint I had with the book. The plotline is diverting and well constructed, the protagonists are competent and well-meaning, and the denouement and resolution are satisfying and well written. 

Four stars. This would be a good choice for fans of Osman's excellent Thursday Murder club books, as well as Laurien Berenson's new Peg & Rose series. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

How to Become a Gardener: Find Empowerment in Creating Your Own Food Security

How to Become a Gardener is a no-nonsense, well written, beginner accessible guide to getting started with food gardening and improving personal and community food security written and curated by Ashlie Thomas. Released 1st Nov 2022 by Quarto on their Cool Springs Press imprint, it's 208 pages and is available in paperback and ebook formast. 

Food security and transportation costs and availability are real and immediate concerns for the vast majority of people worldwide. We only have to look at the supply issues of the last few years to see how vulnerable we are to interruptions and resource scarcity. It's not possible to be self-sufficient with toilet paper and toothpaste (well, not really), but providing for part of our food needs ourselves is a great way to reduce some stress, gain valuable skills, and gain a fun and relaxing hobby. 

The author has a great encouraging writing style and she is willing to share her experience to help other would-be gardeners improve their outcomes.  The book contains tangible advice for starting, sourcing materials, planning, seed starting, growing, harvesting, troubleshooting and compensating for less than ideal results, but it -also- contains a lot of useful and thought provoking philosophy and interesting info for ruminating about our consumerist lifestyle, our definition of community, and how we can be less dependent on unstable supply chains for our daily nutrition. Plus it's good fun and healthy exercise.

Five stars. This would be a superlative choice for public or school library acquisition, activity groups, community garden collections, and home use. There is an emphasis on urban and to a lesser degree suburban gardeners, but there are valuable takeaways for gardeners in other situations.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks

The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks is an engaging, humorous, and light comedy/romance by Shauna Robinson. Released 1st Nov 2022 by Sourcebooks Landmark, it's 336 pages and is available in paperback and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. 

I liked the characterizations here - the author is quite adept at making her characters live and breathe and although I found myself horrified over some of Maggie's choices (I'm supposedly older and wiser), I could sympathize. There's a definite "Bridget Jones" vibe about some of her actions. The whole has a warm and quirky vibe which will appeal to most readers, and Maggie herself is mostly appealing and clearly well meaning. 

I'm never sure (as a ghostly-pale reviewer) how to mention that the MC is a woman of color - but she is, and the author does a great job of portraying her as real and certainly not as a prop. She has foibles aplenty, but she's never a cardboard cutout and Ms. Robinson doesn't ever make a huge case of her ethnicity. 

There were several places where I kept thinking "oh, this isn't going to go well", but Maggie's heart really does seem to be in the right place, and she seems to manage to just about hold it together. The "frenemies" romance part wasn't personally to my taste, and the whole subplot with the "cranky white guy running the show" was a bit over the top for me personally. I don't read a lot in the light slice-of-life romance genre, but fans will find quite a lot to appeal here. It's undeniably competently written. That didn't stop me wanting to shake some sense into Maggie, and, if I'm 100% honest, her helicopter parents as well. 

Three and a half stars, with the codicil that it will likely be higher for fans of the genre. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes

Monday, November 28, 2022

Spring of Hope A Gaslight Mystery #4


 

Spring of Hope is the fourth Gaslight historical mystery by Cora Harrison. Released 1st March 2022 by Severn House, it's 240 pages and is available in hardcover and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. 

This is an engaging and well written historical mystery featuring historical characters and a framework of actual historical events and people. It's set in 1859 in and around London environs and Dickens has befriended English civil engineer Joseph Bazalgette who is working on London's intractable sewage problem and the resulting dangers to the general population. His friend Wilkie Collins (yes, that one) has domestic issues in the form of a servant and her daughter who are terrified of something/someone from their past. 

I was impressed that the author managed to weave the fiction around the bones of historical events so skillfully that it wasn't always clear where fact shaded into fiction. She's clearly very adept at research and giving the writing verisimilitude of the period without being at all impenetrable or awkward to modern ears. 

The pacing was relaxed, but I didn't find it overly slow and never found my interest waning. The climax and denouement were satisfying and well written. It was enjoyable enough to me that I fully intend to seek out the three previous books. The background is presented well enough that it worked well as a standalone story. 

Four stars. Definitely one for readers who enjoy historical mystery.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes

Where Loyalties Lie

 


Where Loyalties Lie is a murder thriller with an investigative reporter by Val Collins. Released 1st March 2022, it's 270 pages and is available in paperback and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. 

This is a very fast paced, action driven thriller featuring a reporter protagonist and a heap of unreliable witnesses. Despite being the fourth book in the series, it works quite well as a standalone, and readers coming into the series with this book won't have any troubles keeping up with the plot or characters. I liked that Aoife is tenacious and intelligent, and her interplay with the other characters is well written and nuanced. 

Four stars. The ending is definitely a page-turner, and I found the climax, denouement, and resolution satisfying and well done. This is one for fans of procedural/investigative thrillers. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes

A History of Women in Medicine and Medical Research: Exploring the Trailblazers of STEM


A History of Women in Medicine and Medical Research is a well written and layman accessible collection of short biographies of women luminaries in the medical fields, written and curated by Dale Debakcsy. Released 3rd Nov 2022 in the UK (due out 15th Dec elsewhere) by Pen & Sword on their History imprint, it's 224 pages and is/will be available in hardcover format. 

The biographies are arranged in roughly chronological order, from Peseshet (~27th century BCE) to Dr. Virginia Apgar (1909-1974) and cover a gratifyingly large range of specialties and subjects. The subjects are from all geographical areas, not just well born women from Europe and North America.

Although it's not annotated and there are no chapter notes, this is a readable and fascinating look at some of the contributions of women over the last millennia to furthering the sciences, especially in medicine and biotech. It's completely accessible for readers of roughly teen to adult ages. The author has included an abbreviated bibliography, and there's an included index. It's not lavishly illustrated, but there is a chapter with interesting black and white photos at the end of some of the biography subjects.

Five stars. It would make a superlative choice for public and school library acquisition, gift giving, and home use.  

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Playful Peg Loom Weaving: A modern approach to the ancient technique of peg loom weaving, plus 17 projects to make

 

Playful Peg Loom Weaving is a beginner friendly instructional guide with tutorials for getting started with simple peg looms written by Stephanie Fradette. Released 31st Oct 2022 by Pen & Sword on their White Owl imprint, it's 120 pages and is available in paperback and ebook formats. 

This book *is* playful and exuberant, full of colourful and fun projects which will get readers' fingers itching to dive in. In addition (perhaps as importantly), it's a solid instruction book for making/acquiring tools and techniques to craft items with simple movable peg looms & weaving sticks, yarn/fibres, and hands. The author presupposes no previous experience or familiarity with the techniques and gives a step-by-step introduction to the process from start to finish. Full sized templates are included in the back of the book, as well as an abbreviated suppliers list with links (mostly aimed at readers living in the UK).

The book is arranged logically and the tutorials are grouped thematically: getting started (making/acquiring tools and sourcing supplies through setting up, materials choices, and even a little colour theory), followed by the 17 tutorials arranged roughly by time investment needed to finish each project. The projects range from utilitarian to purely decorative and there are several jewelry type accessories included. The photography is clear and in colour.

Four stars. Lovely and useful book. This would be a nice choice for public library acquisition, maker's groups, school art classes (even for young students), and for home crafters. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

Craft Your Own Cosy Scandi Christmas


Craft Your Own Cosy Scandi Christmas is a well written and accessible guide with tutorials to creating seasonal gifts, craft projects, and recipes by Becci Coombes. Released 30th Oct 2022 by Pen & Sword on their White Owl imprint, it's 168 pages and is available in paperback and ebook formats. 

This is a beautifully photographed and appealing collection of food, decorations, gifts and more, for helping readers create the perfect holiday with family and friends. The book is well laid out and the tutorials are appealing and easy to follow. The projects are arranged thematically: decorating, edible gifts, quick & easy crafts, Christmas comfort food, and family fun. 

The tutorials are written with an introduction, examples of the finished project, supplies in a bullet list, and step by step instructions. Full size templates are included in the back of the book. Tutorial supplies and recipes have ingredients given in metric measurements. There are many beautiful ideas for upcycling and recycling which look professional and appealing and would be welcome in any crafter's home. 

The book stands out especially with the lovely photography. All the projects contain a finished photo, but also many (many) tutorial photos. Photos are clear, in colour, and well staged so that hands and tools aren't in the way of the action. 

Four and a half stars. Lovely and useful book. This would be a nice choice for public library acquisition, maker's groups, and for home crafters. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

Cooking with Nonna Sunday Dinners with La Famiglia


Cooking with Nonna Sunday Dinners with La Famiglia is the newest cookbook with recipes and tutorials by Rossella Rago. Released 25th Oct 2022 by HarperCollins on their Harper Horizon imprint, it's 272 pages and is available in hardcover and ebook formats. 

These are traditional Sunday family dinners to be shared with loved ones. There's such a homey and warm vibe to the whole book along with the reminiscences for which she's well known. She has a chatty and informal style of writing, and I enjoyed her stories about her family and growing up (and learning from her Nonna) almost as much as the recipes and instruction. 

The recipes are arranged by courses just as a dinner would normally be served: basics (doughs & sauces), antipasto, soup & salad, sides, pasta al forno lasagne & primi, secondi & parms, oven dishes (with love), sweets, biscotti, and alcoholic & non-alcoholic drinks. Recipes are written with an introduction/history, servings, ingredients in a bullet list sidebar, and followed by step-by-step directions. Ingredient measures are provided in imperial (American) measures only, no metric equivalents. Nutritional information is not included. Most of the ingredients will be readily available in an average well stocked grocery store in North America. Some few specific ingredients and types of olive oil, anise oil, etc might require a gourmet food store or specialist supplier. 

The photography is stellar. The dishes are beautifully prepared, appetizing, and professionally styled. 

Four and a half stars. This is a very good Italian cookbook with lots of traditional sauces, pasta doughs, prep instructions, serving suggestions, sweets, and everything needed to prepare a traditional Sunday dinner. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

Cooking with Whey: A Cheesemaker's Guide to Using Whey in Probiotic Drinks, Savory Dishes, Sweet Treats, and More


Cooking with Whey is an accessible and well written guide to using whey alongside recipes developed by Claudia Lucero. Released 25th Oct 2022 by Storey, it's 128 pages and is available in paperback and ebook formats. 

For folks who make cheese, yogurt, and other related foods at home, whey (the liquid left over after curding, straining, and processing dairy) is usually seen as a waste product. I live and work in Norway and except for "brunost" (caramelized whey pressed into blocks and eaten on everything from pancakes to lunch sandwiches), I was not familiar with other thrifty uses of whey. This book is so much more. 

The layout is accessible and easy to follow. The author's friendly and competent instructions are well explained and accessible to non-experts/beginners. The book has a retro vibe; there aren't any photos in the text or the recipes. The illustrations are simple but easy to understand and recognize (see cover). 

Four stars. Definitely a niche book, but quite a good one. The recipes are varied and appealing. This would be a good choice for public library acquisition, home use, as well as for self-sufficiency and smallholding folks.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.


The Battle Cry of the Siamese Kitten


The Battle Cry of the Siamese Kitten is the third collection of stories by Dr. Philipp Schott from his 30 years in practice as a small animal practice veterinarian. Released 11th Oct 2022 by ECW Press, it's 282 pages and is available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. 

This is a warm and entertainingly written collection of stories gathered over a long and full career of service to his patients and their humans. He's a gifted writer and the stories are told with wit and compassion (and occasionally a little eye-rolling exasperation). The stories are arranged alphabetically by the author's admittedly eccentric chapter names (Thud, Scrumpy, and Emotional Slot Machine to give a few examples). 

My family had a tradition of reading short, well-loved, stories to one another after traditional "family" meals such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. This book, and its predecessors, would be ideal candidates for those situations. Inevitable comparisons will be made with Herriot's classics. They're not at all derivative, obviously, but fans of the latter will find much to love here.

Classic and humorous, this would be a good choice for holiday gift giving, public library acquisition, and home use. For reading out loud, readers should be aware the book contains some mild cursing (sh*t and d*mn a couple times, nothing worse).

Four and a half stars. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

The Mystery of the Painted Fan

 

The Mystery of the Painted Fan is an engaging and empowering illustrated chapter book for grade school age readers by Linda Trinh and the third book in the Nguyen Kids series. Due out 25th April 2023 from Annick Press, it's 128 pages and will be available in hardcover and paperback. 

This is such a fun and respectfully written book which will engage, entertain, and inform young readers. Despite the action filled plot (Jacob loves hockey, drawing, and dance but feels bad when his friends laugh at the pink hockey helmet he chose, and why *can't* he like bright colors??), the author manages to delve into deeper and meaningful themes such as integration and isolation, respect for culture, honesty, integrity, dealing constructively with gender identity, gender roles, activism, and family in an age-appropriate manner.

The art by Clayton Nguyen is expressive and colorful and is full of small details which invite readers to take a closer look and really think about the concepts being expressed.

Five stars. Representation is important for *everyone*. Highly recommended for public and school library acquisition, home library use, reading circles and similar. This is a great kids book for -all- kids whatever their ethnicity, background, or gender.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd Hercule Poirot #3

 

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is the fourth Hercule Poirot mystery by Dame Agatha Christie. Originally published in 1926, this gift edition was released 25th Oct 2022 by Penguin Random House on their Pushkin Vertigo imprint. It's 156 pages and is available in hardcover and ebook formats. 

This is one of the classics of crime literature and most readers who enjoy the genre can remember the delight of reading that shock twist ending. Now re-released in a new format with high quality production values and typesetting, I really enjoyed reading it again with "fresh eyes". I still enjoyed Poirot doing what he does so well, and as always, I noticed a few new details with every re-read. 

It's a well written subtle and beautifully engineered plot. The denouement and resolution are classics. At the time it was written, it was a shocking departure. If it seems less so now, it's because so many authors who have come after Christie have borrowed her twists and tricks. 

Five stars. Even for readers who have read it before, it makes a splendid re-read. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

Norway: Land of Fjords and the Northern Lights


Norway: Land of Fjords and the Northern Lights is a well written and beautifully photographed pictorial tour of Norway by Claudia Martin. Released 15th Nov 2022 by Amber Books, it's 224 pages and is available in hardcover format. An earlier edition of the book was published in flexi-bound format. This is book 15 of the Visual Explorer Guide series. 

Norway is full of awe inspiring "pinch me" scenery and this book highlights the vast expanses of mountainous terrain, glaciers, fjords, wilderness, and urban areas beautifully contrasting austere ice-fields, charming small fishing villages, and big city night life side by side. 

Five stars. This would be a good choice for public or school library acquisition, home use/display, or gift giving. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Sweet Land of Liberty: A History of America in 11 Pies


Sweet Land of Liberty: A History of America in 11 Pies is a well written microhistory of the social growth and development of the USA as related to food, specifically pies curated and written by Rossi Anastopoulo. Released 25th Oct 2022 by Abrams, it's 336 pages and is available in hardcover and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. 

This is an accessible, almost conversational, history of the USA as it intersects pies. The author has included recipes for each of the 11 pies featured in the essays. The history parts of the book don't always make for comfortable reading. I've heard that if history makes you feel proud and comfortable, then you're not reading about history. There were a number of uncomfortable undeniable hard truths included here: namely that the USA was built on the backs of enslaved people and brought about largely on lands stolen from indigenous peoples. 

There are careful annotations and chapter notes included throughout, which will provide keen readers with many hours of further reading. Despite being very well researched and annotated throughout, it's not at all academically stiff or formal or difficult to understand. 

Although I didn't fully test any of the recipes, I didn't see any glaring errors with a careful read-through. The recipes are written with ingredients provided in a sidebar bullet list. Ingredient measurements are given in both imperial (American) and metric units (yay!!). There are no photos of pies (or indeed anything else) included in the eARC provided for review. The layout of the recipes is easy to navigate and will undoubtedly produce a good pie with care. 

Four stars. It's an odd premise for a book (which the author freely admits). I found it fascinating, honestly and unflinchingly written, and in places, quite fun. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes

Monday, November 21, 2022

The Paper Dolls of Zelda Fitzgerald


The Paper Dolls of Zelda Fitzgerald is, of course, a pictorial catalogue of most of the paper dolls which were painted by Zelda Fitzgerald during her life, but it's so much more than just a well curated pictorial history. Due out 22nd Nov 2022 from Simon & Schuster on their Scribner imprint, it's 127 pages and will be available in paperback and ebook formats. 

Curated and annotated by Zelda's granddaughter, Eleanor Lanahan, this charming book is full of colorful and well reproduced paper dolls as well as full of recollections of playing with the dolls (gently), pictures of her mother playing with paper dolls, and many recollections of her family and growing up as a part of a very famous literary family. 

The reproductions are clear and beautifully detailed with tiny intricate wardrobes and historical figures with armor and fancy dress.

This would be a good choice for public library acquisition, for lovers of paper dolls and ephemera, and for drawing and painting inspiration for home use. 

Four and half stars. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes