June 17th, 2016

Me

Book Critique 2016 – 03/25/2016: Shot Through Velvet (Crime of Fashion, #7)

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
Prologue: Go here.
For review of books in the entire series: Go here.

Stars: 3.5 / 5
Recommendation: An easy mystery read that is weaved through the world of fashion, style and dressing from the view point of a fashion stylist.

Shot Through Velvet is the seventh installment in the Crime of Fashion series by Ellen Byerrum published in February of 2011. The time around Lacey gets tangled with Velvet and Murder - obviously with lots of fashion clues.



Lacey Smithsonian, the fashion reporter for The Eye Street Reporter at Washington, D. C., is touring the last velvet factory in Virginia as part of her article on the vanishing U.S. Textile Industry. Dominion Velvet's general manager Tom Nicholson had assured her that the closure was temporary and there were huge plans for the factory's future. She was not aware that the plans included finding the very dead blue body of Rodney Gibbs a.k.a. the Blue Devil - part owner in the company; a partner - completely dripped in blue color hanging from the overhead dye house tied to spool of velvet that was incompletely dyed. Vic Donovan, the newly hired security consultant to Dominion Velvet, had tipped off Lacey of the factory's closure. Now, standing beside her, he has second thoughts on his decision of giving her the scoop as well as regrets that he had listened to the client in starting his job a day later.

Knowing Lacey, despite what Vic says, she rolls up her sleeve and sets on to solve the murder of the dead man who literally wore bluuuuuue Velllll-vet - just like the song. To add to it she finds out that The Eye's publisher Claudia Darnell is a silent partner in the factory. People in Black Martin, Virginia and the workers at the factory feel that she helped pull the plug on them to close the factory. She felt some kind of animosity from the townsfolk towards Claudia. And the local reporter Will Adler, a constant by her side while investigating and who wanted to be the first on the case as well. Why was Rod Gibbs killed? What is the motive of the killer with all the blue velvet being left around the body? What is the role of Claudia in all this? Are the townsfolk right about her? Thus another adventure for Lacey begins, at least this time Vic was on her side for a change. Where does all this lead Lacey to? Well, read and find out. :)

Another good murder-mystery by Ellen with fashion clues. An easy read for those laze days. Enjoy the book and don’t forget the fashion bites. Here's a snippet from Lacey's Fashion Bites.

Lacey Smithsonian's Fashion Bites:  Shopping as an Art Form: Shop Early, Shop Often, Shop Well

Don/t shop when you are too hungry or too full. Hunger makes you cranky and you'll grab the first thing you see. If you just packed in a huge meal, you will feel too fat to try on clothes. I recommend a light protein-packed breakfast or lunch. You can always take a coffee break.
Me

Book Critique 2016 – 03/26/2016: Death on Heels (A Crime of Fashion Mystery #8)

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
Prologue: Go here.
For review of books in the entire series: Go here.

Stars: 3.5 / 5
Recommendation: An easy mystery read that is weaved through the world of fashion, style and dressing from the view point of a fashion stylist.

Death on Heels is the eighth installment in the Crime of Fashion series by Ellen Byerrum published in February of 2012. This time around Lacey Smithsonian gets involved with her ex-boyfriend, cattle rancher Cole Tucker when he is arrested.



Lacey Smithsonian had moved from her hometown Sagebrush, Colorado to Washington, D.C. not only for her career but also to get away from the small town gossip, Vic Donovan (at that time she wanted to get away) and vowed never to look back.  However when her ex-boyfriend who had wanted to marry her was arrested for murders of three women, she takes it upon herself to go back to that town and help Tucker. She didn’t believe that Tucker could be a killer at all. And to prove that she not only needed a lot of guts, courage and sheer determination but also her best, dandified, make-a-statement cowboy boots.

Seventeen years old Rae Fowler, a pretty run-away from Denver was the first alleged victim. This brought back memories for Sean Victor "Vic" Donovan as well. This was the case that Vic had investigated when he was working a the Chief of Police for Sagebrush. For Vic, this was one of those cases that haunts cops and he was heading back to help the current chief a closure to the case - which means even if he unearth clues that would hang Tucker eventually. For Lacey, this was not just helping an ex-boyfriend but also a murder with fashion clues written all over it - all three girls were found mostly dressed but with no shoes on. Why would anyone take the shoes from the victims? And also to prove to herself that she wasn’t a bad judge of character as well. Despite Vic objecting her going to Sagebrush - not just because she gets tangled with murders always but also his doubt that Lacey might still hold a candle to Tucker - Lacey joins Vic and heads to Sagebrush.

The list of suspects was not long but it did include Dodd Muldoon - Lacey's old boss when she worked for Sagebrush daily newspaper - which surprised her very much.  Then there is Montana McCandless Donovan Schmidt - Vic's ex-wife - still living around Sagebrush. Lacey dreaded that Montana might try again to get Vic back just she had done a year ago. Braving herself, Lacey joins Vic in Sagebrush to tackle all these and help Tucker. What will she uncover? Is Tucker really a killer? Had Lacey never knew anything about him? Why Tucker being so adamant to speak what really happened? Is he still holding a candle to Lacey? Well, the adventure begins folks, brace yourself. :)

The sub-plots covered in the book are - wedding between Stella and Nigel and blooming love between Brooke and Damon - of Lacey's best friends. They add a comic relief and tie in well with the main plot. Lacey's mother and sister also join her in Sagebrush adding to the anxiety that Lacey already was going through. How does Lacey battle all these? Another good murder-mystery by Ellen with fashion clues. An easy read for those lazy days. Read further and enjoy.  And don’t forget the fashion bites. Here's a snippet from Lacey's Fashion Bites.

Lacey Smithsonian's Fashion Bites:  Hey There, Annie Oakley, It's Western Wear , Not a Costume

The key is to know what pieces to choose, not the entire Sedona Arizona collection. Remember, nothing screams outsider as much as putting on the whole little dogie. You don’t want to look like an extra in a cowboy film. Unless, of course, you are an extra in a film.
Me

Movie Critique 2016 – 03/27/2016: Winnie the Pooh Springtime with Roo

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a movie review.
Prologue: Go here.

Stars: 4 / 5
Recommendation: A beautiful story that revolves around friendship, love and togetherness especially at the time of festivals - especially when one is hurt or had hurt someone inadvertently and how all come together despite.

Happy Easter everyone! Yes, I am way behind in posting my reviews, but this day all over the world folks celebrated Easter - springtime festival. For this day, I chose this movie featuring characters from Disney's classic Winnie the Pooh cartoons. This was my choice not just because I love Winnie the Pooh but also because my nephews love him too.  This post is dedicated to my three nutty naughty nephews.



Winnie the Pooh: Springtime with Roo is an American direct-to-video animated film released in 2004. The story mainly revolves around Easter and how they wish to celebrate in the Hundred Acre Wood. As always, Tigger heads out to Rabbit's place along with Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and Roo for an Easter Egg hunt.





However, once they reach Rabbit's house they see that instead of Easter, Rabbit is doing a "Spring Cleaning Day" and assigns tasks to everyone to do the spring cleaning. No matter what everyone says or try to explain he refuses to acknowledge Easter and insists on making it a "Spring Cleaning Day". Everyone is surprised and shocked as to why Rabbit was so bitter about Easter.



The rest of the story follows how everyone try to find the reason behind Rabbit's reluctance, what happened in the past, what changed now and how it affected Rabbit. Will everyone understand the cause? Will Rabbit get over his bitterness and finally concede in celebrating Easter? Will the Hundred Acre Wood have an Easter this year? Its always fun to watch Winnie the Pooh and his friends. They literally come to life in front of my eyes.

I also can empathize with Rabbit knowing how my nature is but at the same time understand others standing too. So it was with mixed feelings that I enjoyed it at times and was questioning the author at times. Nonetheless a thoroughly enjoyable adventure with Winnie the Pooh and his friends.