Monday, December 29, 2014

The Black Cat (Richard Jury, #22)The Black Cat by Martha Grimes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Richard Jury is back and crossing mental swords with his nemesis, Harry, over the murder of woman at THE BLACK CAT pub. Once again, Melrose Plant is enlisted to help Jury in the investigation and the interplay of these old friends provide a touch of irony and humor amid the murder investigation.

No spoilers here . . . Grimes fans will welcome the Chief Inspector's return along with other familiar characters. I especially enjoy the return of Mungo, Harry's dog, who has his own caper in this book . . . engineering the return of a kidnapped cat to THE BLACK CAT pub.

View all my reviews >>
Tesla's AtticTesla's Attic by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An intriguing beginning for a new trilogy. After a disastrous fire that claimed the life of his mother, Nick moves to Colorado Springs with his father and brother into an old decrepit house that belonged to a great aunt. In the attic Nick finds lots of junk and broken objects that, strangely, sell like hotcakes at his yard sale. There is adventure, danger, and humor as Nick and his new friends discover the strange properties the attic objects possess and try to reclaim them before they do damage.

View all my reviews
Cozy Classics: Pride and PrejudiceCozy Classics: Pride and Prejudice by Jack Wang
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This series is delightful! Although questionable as board boards for babies and toddlers, the illustrations, featuring photographs of well-crafted, needle felted objects, are the highlight of this salute to classic literature. Single words are paired with an illustration on the facing page. Some work well ... "friends" is accompanied by felted, smiling depictions of Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy with the first page of PRIDE & PREJUDICE visible in the background; but "mean," which depicts Mr. Darcy ignoring Elizabeth Bennett at the dance will not be understood by the very young. This would be a great little gift for teens or adults who love the novel, or a vehicle for a parent to retell the story using the words and illustrations as guideposts to the plot. Also available: MOBY DICK, WAR & PEACE,LES MISERABLES [digital version courtesy of netgalley.com]


View all my reviews Cozy Classics: Moby DickCozy Classics: Moby Dick by Holman Wang
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The adorable illustrations, featuring well-crafted, felted creations, are the highlight of this salute to classic literature. As a board board for babies and toddlers, it is questionable. Single words are paired with an illustration on the facing page. Some work well ... "sailor" is accompanied by a felted, smiling sailor with the first page of MOBY DICK appearing in the background; but "find" appears with a sailor in the crow's nest pointing toward the distance. Some of the concepts will not be understood clearly by the very young. This would be a great little gift for teens or adults who love the novel, or a vehicle for a parent to retell the story using the words and illustrations as guideposts to the plot. [digital version courtesy of netgalley.com]

View all my reviews

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Murder on the Champ de MarsMurder on the Champ de Mars by Cara Black
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Aimee Leduc returns after her maternity leave and promptly gets caught up in s custody battle with Melac, the disappearance of a Romany woman who has information about her father's death, and post-partum guilt over the time she is spending away from her baby. Cara Black has created another high energy investigation that probes Parisian history and deepens reader's understanding of Aimee's story. This one has some significant twists at the end that will leave readers anxious for the nest installment. Thanks to Soho Press and Edelweiss for the preview copy.

View all my reviews
Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas: Being a Jane Austen MysteryJane and the Twelve Days of Christmas: Being a Jane Austen Mystery by Stephanie Barron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jane and family set out for a holiday visit to a neighboring manor and become embroiled in mystery when a courier, bearing a peace treaty, is found dead after spending the night. Barron is adept at capturing Austen's voice and her characters hold true to Austen's descriptions in journals and letters. From wry to guardedly romantic, Jane is an entertaining narrator to the lifestyles-of-the-gentry and the various intrigues and mysteries.

View all my reviews
Now You Tell Me! 12 Actors Give the Best Advice They Never Got: Making a Living; Making a LifeNow You Tell Me! 12 Actors Give the Best Advice They Never Got: Making a Living; Making a Life by Sheridan Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great collection of first-person essays that give insight into the careers of 12 actors: their training, their side jobs, how they prepare, their lucky breaks or years of honing their craft. Some chapters feature nuggets of wisdom while others are more superficial. Nevertheless, an interesting title for library collections or as a gift to budding actors.

View all my reviews
Leaving Everything Most Loved (Maisie Dobbs #10)Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Maisie Dobbs looks into the murders of two women from India working in London. The experience leads Maisie to close her agency and undertake her own journey, "leaving everything most loved," to process her life experiences and explore if marriage will be in her future. ....Please come back to us soon!!!

View all my reviews
Deep in the SaharaDeep in the Sahara by Kelly Cunnane
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A young girl's longing to dress in a malafa like her sister, mother, grandma, and other West African Muslim ladies will resonate with young readers. This simple story explains the malafa as a garment connoting beauty, mystery, tradition, and faith. The front endpapers echo the flowered pattern of mother's malafa and the back endpapers show the blue garment of the young girl.

View all my reviews
Chicago BoundChicago Bound by Sean Vogel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jake is off to Chicago for a music workshop and encounters a mystery surrounding his mother's research into a Mary Cassatt painting that hung in the Women's Exposition during the Columbian Exposition. A clever tale that mixes a tale of school and friendship with adventure and mystery. The second in a series.

View all my reviews

Monday, December 30, 2013

Tesla's AtticTesla's Attic by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An intriguing beginning for a new trilogy. After a disastrous fire that claimed the life of his mother, Nick moves to Colorado Springs with his father and brother into an old decrepit house that belonged to a great aunt. In the attic Nick finds lots of junk and broken objects that, strangely, sell like hotcakes at his yard sale. There is adventure, danger, and humor as Nick and his new friends discover the strange properties the attic objects possess and try to reclaim them before they do damage.

View all my reviews

Saturday, December 07, 2013

I am woefully behind on posts.  Once the holidays are over I hope to be better ... New Year's resolution!

Monday, October 07, 2013

Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American TasteProvence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste by Luke Barr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Barr recreates the separate events in the lives of M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard and others that lead to a turning point in American attitudes toward French cuisine. Culling information from letters, publications, and diaries of Fisher and others, Barr, Fisher's great-nephew, creates a narrative that is informative and dramatic. A great selection for foodies who savor the history of cuisine.

View all my reviews

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Icing on the Cake: The Cupcake ClubIcing on the Cake: The Cupcake Club by Sheryl Berk
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As the girls of the "Peace, Love and Cupcakes Club" return for more adventures, Jenna's mother is engaged to Leo and planning a Las Vegas wedding. Jenna is not sure about this, but her mother wants the club to come to Las Vegas and create a cupcake tower for the wedding. As can be suspected, not all goes well. They help an Elvis impersonator celebrate by making a peanut butter and banana cake for the 250 people in his audience. Then, several near disasters threaten the cupcake tower. This is a series that 2nd through 4th graders will relish because the characters are endearing and the recipes for the Cupcake Club's creations are appended.

Thanks go out to Sourcebooks for the review copy!

View all my reviews