Women Who Sleuth-Week 6

Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead (Claire DeWitt Novels Book 1) by [Gran, Sara]This week we read and discussed The Eye of Jade (see my archive) and Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead.  Both were part of the class’s discussion of female P.I. novels.  In all, we talked about Cordelia Gray, Kinsey Milhone, V. I. Warshawski, Sharon McCone, Mei and Claire.

As was true for The Eye of Jade, setting for me was a critical part of this novel.  The story takes place in post Katrina New Orleans, a city of many neighborhoods and much destruction. Vividly portrayed characters range from street kids, to do gooders, to lawyers and everyone in between.  Claire, herself, is a complex protagonist.  She had a difficult upbringing with neglectful parents.  She teamed with a New Orleans detective who saw something in her but Constance died.  Claire is deeply influenced by the mystic and prophetic, including a book by a famous detective that is full of deep and meaningful statements.  I enjoyed the excerpts from Silette’s book.

Claire’s case involves the disappearance of a prosecutor.  The what happened and why affect the reader.

Claire is a unique detective and this book may not be for everyone.  I am glad to have read it though.  If you do, or if you have, please let me know your thoughts.

The hard-living, wisecracking titular detective bounces around post-Katrina New Orleans trying to track down a missing prosecutor in this auspicious debut of a new mystery series—and the Big Easy is every bit her equal in sass and flavor.”—Elle

“Reminds me why I fell in love with the genre.”—Laura Lippman

“I love this book!” — Sue Grafton

Josephine: My First Josephine Baker-Little People, Big Dreams (Sanchez Vegara) #JosephineBaker #NetGalley

This book is another entry in the Little People, Big Dreams series for the youngest listeners.  It tells the story of Josephine Baker, an African American performer who not only performed but did SO much more.  She explored the world, moving to Paris where she found a less segregated society.  Josephine was the first black woman to star in a film.  She was a spy, mother of 12 adopted children and a fighter for civil rights.  All in all, an inspiring and unique woman.

Little ones can learn about Josephine in this beautifully illustrated short book.  Collect all the books in this series.  They are wonderful!

Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for this book in exchange for an honest review.

Now Out: Churches and Churchyards of England and Wales

Churches and Churchyards of England and WalesI am most definitely both an Anglophile and a reader of many mysteries with clerical themes. For example, I think of the wonderful series by Kate Charles or Susan Hill that I have enjoyed. So, when I saw this title that was about the churches of England and Wales, I knew that I wanted to read it.

First…the photographs are absolutely gorgeous. Crystal clear in their reproductions, they complement the text perfectly and allowed for happy, contemplative armchair travel.

The author starts the book by describing churches as places that have absorbed the histories of their times, places and communities. He notes their artwork, design and origins. Next, there is a thorough history on building churches and the sponsorship of different churches; some were part of a wealthy person’s estate while others were build for contemplation. After this, there are sections on the churchyard, the interior and exteriors of churches and the furnishings. As a bonus, there are sections on further reading and places to visit.

I very much enjoyed this title. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this beautiful and informative book. I am now very eager for my next trip, whenever that may be!

Time for escapism: A Rose Petal Summer by Katie FForde

A Rose Petal Summer: It’s never too late to fall in loveSometimes I just want to read a “nice” book, one that won’t stress me in anyway and will provide me with a bit of escape.  Katie Fforde writes those kinds of novels, along with some other authors whom I enjoy, including Erica James and Jill Mansell.

This book definitely requires suspension of disbelief and an ability to accept random coincidences along with some unlikely good luck…but that is the point.  The novel begins with a short prequel in Greece and then readers spend time in London (some of the time on a houseboat), Scotland and France.  There are old loves revived, an actress ingenue and her older fiancee, a young girl looking for independence and… perfume.

This is not a weighty read but it is a pleasant diversion.  Keep it in mind for a time when you truly want to destress.


In the Garden: and then the SEED grew (Dubuc)

This story has whimsical illustrations that show life both above and below the ground.  Above are the troll father and son, while below are the various animal families, all of whose houses are illustrated in detail.  The story is simple; a seed falls into the ground and disrupts life both above and below.  It is up to Jack to protect the (tomato) plant and restore order.

This book’s strength is the illustrations while the idea of what goes on below ground may also appeal to young listeners.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this read in exchange for an honest review.

Time for school: My Kindergarten in 100 Words #MyKindergartenIn100words #NetGalley

I received this e galley in exchange for an honest review. I am not sure if this was the finished copy. The first pages had colored illustrations, after which the remaining pages were black and white. Deliberate? Something for children to color? Not the finished copy? I just don’t know.

Nonetheless this is a cute book with playful illustrations. The pages start with waking up in the morning, move on to getting ready for school, being there and, of course, returning home at the end of the day. A quick sample of words which are both concrete and abstract; playing, cereal, scooter, friends, goldfish, sharing, crayons, sandwich, skipping rope, smiling and gold star, along with many others.

This is a book for toddlers and adults to look at together. Children can point to objects while adults can familiarize a chlld with what school is like.

This is a fine book. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher.