First of a new series

This book comes with an excellent pedigree. Jessica Fellowes, daughter of Julian and Downton Abbey fame, is a writer in her own right. The Mitford Sisters who led fascinating lives and are the subjects of many books are the children of the book, while Nancy is the protagonist. The setting is Britain, the time is after WWI so all of the elements are in place. Despite this however, I found the book to be good but not extraordinary. There is a mix of romance, mystery, secrets from the war, questions of identity and yet to my disappointment, it was not a five star book. This is the start of the series; I will hope the next book is just a little bit better.

#TheMitfordMurders #NetGalley

Ada Lovelace for your children

This book, which is an account of Ada Lovelace’s life for young readers, was charming, accurate and inspiring. The illustrations were engaging and added to the story’s narrative. Highly recommended for both girls and boys who will recognize that talent and imagination know no gender or intellectual barriers. This book is part of a series on adults who can inspire young readers and thinkers. Please note that I reviewed an adult book on Ada Lovelace, Enchantress of Numbers, by Jennifer Chiaverini on my blog. Amazingly, this children’s book, a quick read, included a fair amount of the same biographical data.

#AdaLovelace #NetGalley

Put this one on your dance card!

In the fall of 2017, I audited a class on 19th century European painting which was largely a class about French artists. I also recently saw a wonderful exhibit on Renoir at the Phillips Collection in DC. So, you can imagine how eagerly I looked forward to reading this biography. Renoir’s Dancer absolutely did not disappoint. Renoir’s Dancer was Suzanne Valadon, a fascinating woman who was an artist’s model and artist in her own right. She was a woman who reinvented herself and evolved from Marie-Clementine to Maria to eventually Suzanne.
The author’s writing style is fluid and engaging and the pages kept turning. The book starts with the lives of Suzanne’s parents which were fascinating in themselves. Suzanne’s early experiences and temperament set the stage for the young adult and adult she would become. While reading Renoir’s Dancer, I revisited or learned even more about French history and artists. Such a pleasure to spend time in their company. If you read only one biography this year, make it this one!

#Renoir’sDancer #NetGalley

New Year’s Resolutions

Product DetailsProduct DetailsMany of us make resolutions on December 31st which are no longer in effect by the end of January.  This year, I decided to make/take the time to read something with inspirational potential each day.  So far…so good!  If you are of a similar inclination, look at one or both of these books.  Each gives you a short something to think about each day.  Let me know if this works for you!

A cozy mystery within a mystery

#ThePlotIsMurder #NetGalley  I have often had the dream of owning a mystery bookshop. A dream nurtured by stores like Otto Penzler’s and the old mystery bookshop on New York’s upper westside. For me, it will not happen but for Sam it does. In this book, she opens a shop while turning her hand to amateur detection. Sam needs to solve the murder of an unlikable victim who died outside her door. Sam is most ably assisted by her Nana Jo and Nana Jo’s friends. In addition, you also get to read the mystery that Sam is writing. This book is a pleasant cozy to while away some time on a cold winter night.

Journeys

Product DetailsProduct DetailsI am thinking about fathers/sons which could be read as parents/children as I finish Book One of the Odyssey and quite a few chapters or AN Odyssey.  What do you think of this quote?  “Few sons are the equals of their fathers; most fall short, all too few surpass them.”  This has led to some philosophical thoughts on my part as both my parents’ child and my children’s parents.  Just a hint of all that there is to think about in these two excellent reads.

Renoir’s Dancer (and my reading goals for the year)

Product DetailsThis year, I am trying to read more broadly.  I will always adore mysteries and fiction but also want to expand and keep learning and challenging myself.  I have read part of this biography so the full review will follow later.  I recommend it already though.  Suzanne Valadon had such an interesting, often difficult life.  So far, I have learned a great deal about the hardships that her mother faced, French history and customs; and Suzanne’s early years.  She will be a well-known model, painter and mother of a painter by the time I finish this book.  So many of us have admired Renoir paintings; there was just a marvelous exhibit at the Phillips in DC.  This is a chance to learn more about what transpired behind the scenes.  More to come but but this on your TBR pile.  It comes out in February.

#Renoir’sDancer #NetGalley

Be smart and read The Knowledge

Welcome back Richard Jury and Co!
After reading The Man with a Load of Mischief, I always looked for books in this series. Then, I moved away from them…not sure why, the books or me. But, I will tell you that I very much enjoyed The Knowledge. All of the trademarks are here; characters including Wiggins, Melrose Plant, Diane, etc. and of course the preternaturally smart, cunning and ingenious child(ren). On top of this there is Africa, Art, Astrophysics, the Stars and murder, all of which line up as perfectly as an eclipse. If you enjoy traditional British style (author is American) mysteries with a twist, read this novel!

#TheKnowledge #NetGalley