Saturday, August 23, 2014

BookBub Book Reviews

I’ve read several e-books recently, and I find that BookBub is a good way to preview a variety of affordably priced books.  BookBub, actually a Cambridge, Massachusetts, start-up company called Pubmark, Inc. is designed to help publishers and authors sell their e-books online.  Co-founders, Josh Schanker and Nick Ciarelli, have no publishing experience, but are marketing entrepreneurs in the fields of technology and blogging. The two-year-old company emails a daily newsletter, BookBub, to those who sign up.  It informs the recipient of the daily deals, handpicked by BookBub staff, that are available for Kindle download. 

When you sign up for BookBub, you select the literary genres you prefer, and then you receive daily recommendations in these categories.  Publishers and authors like the BookBub service because it draws readers’ attention to their books--out of the 3,500 books released daily in the United States!  I like BookBub because it tells me about books I may never hear of otherwise and offers the down-loads free or at discounted prices.  The discounted prices are only available for a short period of time. To read more about BookBub, click here.

Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead
Sara Gran
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, 2011 

Private Detective Claire DeWitt needs money so she agrees to return to Post-Katrina New Orleans to determine what has happened to her client’s uncle who disappeared during the storm.  While a lot of folks lost their lives and all bodies were not identified or found, this missing man was wealthy, lived in the French Quarter where it didn’t flood, and should not have been in harm’s way.   

Claire’s search soon takes her into the underbelly of New Orleans.  She befriends young drug dealers and street thugs, smokes marijuana laced with who knows what, and stays up all night passing a bottle back and forth with a homeless woman. It appears to me that Claire goes above and beyond the call of duty! 

Using her PI skills, plus “signs” from the Universe, she gets closer and closer to the truth.  There are those who want to stop her, her client fires her, she narrowly escapes with her life, but, in the end, she does unveil the truth.   

The characters are interesting, but not likable.  The book is gritty and surreal at the same time.  Many readers will either like the flawed, quirky DeWitt or be repulsed.  I fall somewhere in the middle.  I have a mild curiosity about the sequel and the development of the recurring characters, but I’m in no hurry to purchase it.

Author Julie Smith & some of her titles

Louisiana Lament: a Talba Wallis Mystery
Julie Smith
booksBnimble Publishing
(Originally published as a Forge Book:
Tom Doherty Associates, 2004)
You may sense a trend here in my interests as Louisiana Lament features another New Orleans Private Detective Talba Wallis and her partner Eddie Valentino.  New Orleans may be called the City that Care Forgot, or the Big Easy, but its residents have a lot of troubles in murder mysteries.  Talba’s half-sister, her father’s “outside” child, calls her in a panic and begs her to come to an address in the Garden District.  When Talba arrives, she finds the owner dead, and her half-sister is the most logical suspect in the eyes of the police.  Talba agrees to investigate the murder, initially on behalf of her sister and then Talba is employed by the victim’s son.

The motives and the plot didn’t make a lot of sense to me.  One component of the Talba Wallis mysteries’ is her other occupation, that of a slam poet called “The Baroness de Pontalba.”  Talba often refers to herself in the third person when she is responding to comments about her poetry, e.g.  “The Baroness thanks you.”  I cannot relate to this character.  I prefer Smith’s other mystery series featuring Skip Langdon who is a New Orleans police officer, or those with Rebecca Schwartz, a San Francisco lawyer. 
Adventures in Funeral Crashing
Milda Harris
Kindle download, 2010 
Kait Lenox, at age 16, marches to a different drummer.  Her hobby, indeed her obsession, is crashing funerals.  Not just the service, but the wake and the burial, if possible.  Why, any reader might ask, would a teen-ager do this?  Kait, an only child, lost her mother about a year ago.  Her father doesn’t know much about raising a teen-age daughter, but does his best.  In the meantime, Kait attends every funeral that she can.  She likes to hear the stories about the departed loved ones as mourners share stories of the persons when they were alive.  

Harris writes with a light touch, although Kait deals with high school bullying as her former best friend, Ariel Walker, apparently derives great pleasure in ridiculing her, preferably in front of others.  This is not a serious Young Adult novel.  It is escapist fare, with cliques of the most popular boy in school befriending the class' weird girl, Kait.  Every book doesn’t have to solve the world’s problems.  The characters are likable, the plot around the murder is weak, the motive for murder even weaker, but I can see where some young adolescents would find it entertaining. 











  1. Well funeral crashing is certainly an unusual idea for a teen read!!!!! :)

    1. Jenny, funeral crashing was strange enough to be interesting to me! Thanks for stopping by.

  2. :) Funeral crashing caught my interest, too. The Louisiana mysteries don't sound all that appealing, which is a shame. New Orleans is a great setting for a mystery!