In case you didn’t know it, I have a love affair with all things New Orleans. And while technically this one isn’t set in the Big Easy, it’s close enough.
Bayou Perdu is a small little town in the backwoods of Louisiana. Close enough to New Orleans to be convenient but far enough to be in its own little world, it’s a typical small town. Everyone knows everyone else, and they’ve been through a lot together. Even hurricanes. But this one’s different. The one they call Katrina is so ominous that even Evangeline’s grandmother is scared and ready to evacuate.
With evacuation comes loss, especially when you return to nothing. Houses, personal belongings, friends, these are all things Evangeline is missing as she and her family impatiently wait it out far, far from Louisiana. She feels as if she’s stuck between two worlds, living two lives. The question soon becomes, which life will she and her family choose in the end?
A good story, an accurate retelling of events surrounding this devastating storm. A great read for young adults!
When Claire Broussard finds mysterious letters and a plaster death mask in her Louisiana grandmother’s attic, she takes it as a sign she needs to leave her directionless life and head for Paris.
I was fascinated by the flashbacks to historical Paris, when artists “hired” models to live with them and be their subjects. It was fun to learn this bit of history and have it come to life in a work of fiction. Since I’m not usually a fan of historical fiction, even better was reading how it intersected with Claire’s life in modern times. I liked seeing the new excitement in Claire. Blackwell developed Claire’s character well, illustrating how being ultra focused on the mystery of the death mask was part of her grieving process… and proved to be cathartic.
I loved the ending – maybe predictable for some, but I didn’t guess it ahead of time. I was too enamored with Claire’s new Parisian life – a testament to Blackwell’s ability to draw me in to every facet of the story and keep me there until the next chapter came along.
So instead of enticing you with a juicy new read today, I’m throwing several at you in the form of one of my favorite, most enjoyably fun authors.
Jana DeLeon is fun. Her stories are amusing, intriguing, can’t put it down”ing” all at the same time. She has so many more that I still haven’t read. But these three series are all at the top of my “must read the new one as soon as it comes out” list.
By far my fav is the Miss Fortune series. Who knew murder could be so funny? But I jest, just a bit at least. Whenever I’m reading one of these marvelous little gems I find myself laughing out loud, and trust me, I don’t LOL too often when reading a book. The characters are endearing and hilarious, and I can just picture their shenanigans as I’m reading.
My second favorite series from Jana is the Ghost-in-Law series. Almost as funny as Miss Fortune, but with a happy little helping of the paranormal thrown in. Same small town antics and appeal as the Miss Fortune setting.
And finally, we have the newest series featuring Shaye Archer. Not nearly as humorous, but instead dark and disturbing without losing any of the author’s skill as a mystery writer. Oh and did I mention that all of these books are set in Louisiana? Surely slanted my opinion just a tad.
As with many series, it’s not absolutely necessary to read them in order. But in my opinion, that’s part of the thrill. Growing with the characters, keeping up with them over time, both things that make serial novels most enjoyable.
As for which series to start with? Sorry, friends, I’m no help with that. Your best bet would be to grab the first in each, read them all, and then decide which one you’ll read next!
It’s always a joy to discover a book that’s been around for several years but has somehow flown under my reader radar. On the one hand, there’s a bit of frustration that I HAVEN’T READ THIS BOOK BEFORE NOW! But conversely, there’s pleasure in being able to recommend an older, maybe unheard of, book to friends.
Once upon a time, there were four friends. They did everything together. But then they began to grow up. And their paths diverged. Two of them became jocks. One became the popular cheerleader. And one becomes the outcast. But things aren’t always what they seem, and being on the right side of things doesn’t guarantee a happy outcome. Death, by both murder and suicide, sets everything on a collision course to an ending that can’t be happy for everyone.
This story is full of dark secrets and family histories that were best left hidden. Everything’s connected, and that’s not always a good thing. The writing is beautiful, poetic even, full of rich imagery and so descriptive that you can feel the atmosphere with every page.
This was recently a rerelease of Christopher Rice’s debut novel. Of special interest to me was the note from the author sharing his thoughts on how he would/wouldn’t change the story if he were to write it today. Yes, he’s Anne Rice’s son. And with that comes huge expectations. But talent is talent, regardless of the family lineage.
It’s been ten years since the unforgettable devastation known as Katrina came ashore. Ten years since families were displaced, homes were destroyed, lives were lost. Such a long time ago, but yet not so very long ago. And although I’ve read many different accounts of the tragedy, every new one that comes along immediately catches my eye.
In this newest telling, we are given an insider’s view of what one family encountered in the days leading up to the hurricane as well as their recovery process. This family is somewhat different from what most of us know from television accounts. They’re white, middle class (at least) and living comfortably. Mom is a nurse and dad is a surgeon. Kids one and two are enrolled in private school. They have a nice home in a nice neighborhood. And most importantly, they have the means to evacuate as Katrina bears down on the city.
I’ll admit, I had to sit on this one for a bit after finishing it. I knew that I wanted to write a review, but I wasn’t quite sure in which direction I wanted to go. The author does provide a very real, honest account of her family’s experiences. However, it’s hard to feel much sympathy for someone whose home escaped mostly intact while so many lost everything they owned. And how does a tree in a pool and rotten food compare with the loss of a loved one?
But the more I reflected on it, the more I appreciated this unique perspective on the Karlin family’s experience. Because who am I to determine what an authentic story is? And I give the author much credit for never minimizing the horror of what others went through. In fact, at several points throughout the story she makes a point of noting that so many others had it so much worse than her family did.
Mostly, I admire the hope and passion for New Orleans that is woven throughout this book. The author makes it clear that there’s no love lost for those who were in power ten years ago. Powerful people who, by the way, dropped the ball in a very big way. She also makes it very clear why she and her family made the decision to return to a city that many felt wasn’t deserving of rebuilding efforts. To quote a well-known phrase: “I’m not a native of New Orleans. Although I wasn’t born here, I got here as fast as I could.”
What a thrill it was to receive this as an ARC months before the release date. I’d been eyeing it for several weeks after I added it to my wish list, so of course I had to jump right in when I got it.
I have to start off by saying that the cover is one of the most beautiful introductions to a story I’ve seen in awhile. Simple and understated but so elegant and indicative of the story.
The story centers on Lucy, a teenager who has been dragged against her will to an old plantation outside of New Orleans when her dad takes on a new job. She’s determined to just ride out the summer until she can return to Chicago. Through a combination of dreams and encounters with a mysterious stranger, she begins to uncover secrets both old and new. Although parts of the story take place in the distant past, much of the danger is very much set in Lucy’s present day world.
I have a weakness for stories set in Louisiana and New Orleans in particular so this one was right up my alley. It’s a ghost story and love story wrapped up in one but, have no fear about it being too scary or gruesome. And although the story centers on the dark and spiritual world of voodoo, much of the scary stuff is left to the reader’s imagination. It’s simply a beautiful tale, reminiscent of legends passed down over time. An excellent debut novel from an exciting new author!
Reading is a lot like eating. Sometimes you need an appetizer, something to whet your appetite for bigger things to come. Sometimes you need something more meaty and substantial, like a hearty filet of mignon. And sometimes you need something sweet and fluffy, like a delicious tiramisu. This wonderful little book by Jana DeLeon filled my craving for dessert perfectly.
Welcome to Sinful, Louisiana. Such a quaint, picturesque little town where everybody knows your name. Just the place for a CIA agent in hiding to lie low. Secret agent Fortune Redding has a price on her head after killing the brother of an international arms dealer. To make matters worse, there’s an internal leak at the CIA. When her superiors decide she needs to go into hiding until matters are resolved, Sinful is chosen as the perfect hideaway. It’s quiet, peaceful, and safe. The perfect place for her cover as a former beauty queen turned librarian. But as luck would have it, she arrives in Sinful right in the middle of decade old murder mystery. Helped by a not-so-harmless duo of grey haired ladies, she naturally attempts to help solve the mystery while at the same time not blowing her cover.
This was such a fun book to read. The characters are hilarious and had me laughing out loud. The author nailed the descriptions of small town life and southern life in particular. It’s not going to win awards for being thought-provoking or life-changing but it was a highly enjoyable read for me. I’ll definitely be reading the next two books in the series very soon!