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review 2017-06-15 22:33
Another great Look-and-Find book.
Little Detectives At School: A LOOK and FIND Book - Baretti

Having enjoyed Little Detectives at Home with my granddaughter, this will be the obvious book to move on to when she's found all the hidden items in the home. As yet she's a long way from school age so I think of this as the second book, even though they will both be released on the same day.

 

As before, there are six images, this time, each one illustrates a room in a school. In each of these rooms there are numerous characters and objects and the idea is to find each of eight items, illustrated and named along the bottom of the page.

 

We meet the same characters as in the previous book and again I found some of them a little too stylised. Particularly the "snowman'' who I assume must be a duck. Despite this small criticism, these books are a great alternative to traditional stories and I can see them being a useful distraction in waiting rooms or busy places, where children need to be kept busy.

And when we have found all the items on each of the pages there is a list of additional things we can search for at the back - telling the time on the clock that appears on every page and counting items of different colours etc.

Age 3 - 5 years.

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review 2017-06-15 19:40
Recommended to fans of romantic historic novels looking for a short, enjoyable and thrilling read set in the early Civil War era
Genteel Secrets - S.R. Mallery

I have read, enjoyed and reviewed several of S.R. Mallery’s novels and short story collections (most recently The Dolan Girls, check the review here) and she has a knack for combining historical fact and characters with gripping stories that grab the readers, transporting them into another world, sometimes closer and sometimes  far back in the past.

In this novella, the author takes us back to the period of the early American Civil War, and our guides are two characters, James, a medical student from New York (an Irish immigrant who moved with his parents when he was a child and suffered tragedy and deprivation from an early age) and Hannah, a Southern girl, the daughter of slave owners, although not a typical Southern belle, as she enjoys books more than balls and feels closer to some slaves (including her childhood friend, Noah) than to her own cousin, the manipulating Lavinia.

The story is told in the third person from both characters’ point of view. They meet in Washington D.C. at the beginning of the novel, realise they have plenty in common (their love of books and their political sympathies among other things) and fall in love (more at at-first-meeting than at-first-sight) as they should in these kinds of stories. There are many things that separate them (I’m not sure I’d call them star-crossed lovers, but there is a bit of that), and matters get even more complicated when James decides to join the Pinkerton Detective Agency and ends up chasing Confederate Spies. At the same time, Hannah is forced to spy for the South, much against her will, and… Well, as the author quotes at the start of one of the chapters (thanks, Shakespeare) ‘the course of true love never did run smooth’. I won’t give you full details but let me tell you there are secret codes, interesting hiding places, blackmail, occult passages, and betrayals galore. The underground railway is put into action, Frederick Douglass (one of my favourite historical figures of the period, and I’ll recommend again his  Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave here in Project Gutenberg) makes a guest appearance, and famous spy Rose O’Neal Greenhow plays an important part. (I must confess I hadn’t heard of her before but the author’s decision of using her as one of her background characters is a great success).

The story flows easily and although there are no lengthy descriptions that deflect from the action, we get a clear sense of the locations and of the atmosphere of the period, including the abuse slaves were subject to, and the social morasses of the time, particularly the different treatment of women and the expectations of the genders and races. I was fascinated by the Washington of the period, the political machinations, and the fantastic description of the Battle of Manassas from the point of view of the spectators (as it seems that the well-off people decided it was a good occasion for a picnic and they ate and observed the fighting from the hilltop). The two main characters and Noah are likeable and sympathetic, although this is a fairly short story and there is no time for an intense exploration of psychological depths (their consciences struggle between complying with their duties and following their feelings but their conflict does not last too long). There is no time to get bored, and the ending will please fans of romantic historical fiction (although some might find it a bit rushed).

My only complaint is that the story is too short and more traditionally romantic than I expected (pushing the suspension of disbelief a bit). I would have liked to learn more about the Pinkerton’s role chasing spies during the war (one of the author’s characters in the Dolan Girls was also a Pinkerton detective), and I hope there might be a more detailed exploration of the underground railway in future stories (although the role of quilts to signal secret messages is discussed in one of the stories of Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads).

Recommended to fans of romantic historic novels looking for a short, enjoyable and thrilling read set in the early Civil War era. Another great story from S.R. Mallery.

 

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review 2017-06-14 02:03
Recommended board book.
Little Detectives At Home: A LOOK and FIND Book - Baretti

This is a cute book, a bit like Where's Wally for much younger children. There are six images, each one illustrating a room in a house. In each of these rooms there are numerous characters and objects and the idea is to find each of eight items, illustrated along the bottom of the page.

 

The recommended age for this book is 3 to 5 years but I tried it out with my eldest grandchild who is almost 2. We only attempted one page but she was fascinated by all the animal characters and on a second viewing is starting to get the hang of searching for the items. She was thrilled with herself for being able to name ''eggs''.

 

My only criticism is that some of the animal characters are actually quite difficult to identify, the dog looks very much like a bear and there's one that seems to be a snowman, though I must have got that wrong, maybe a duck?

 

I can see this being a book that we fall back on regularly when we find ourselves in waiting rooms or busy places where she needs to be kept busy. And when we have found all the items on each of the pages there is a list of additional things we can search for at the back - telling the time on the clock that appears on every page and counting items of different colours etc....and when all of that is done, there is a second book - Little Detectives at School, to move on to.

 

 

 

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review 2017-05-07 02:56
Watching the Detectives
Watching the Detectives - Julie Mulhern

I'm starting to think that this series could never disappoint me. I cannot tell you what you I felt when I saw that there was a new book in this series. Needless to say I enjoyed this one as much as I have the others in the series.

 

Ellison is such a great character to follow. I love her sense of humor and how strong a woman she has become. She also can't help but find dead bodies which provides endless annoyance for her mother and ends up putting Ellison in danger.

 

I figured out what the first deceased character had been doing that caused her to be killed a little before it was revealed but I was still wrong about who killed her. Ellison and I were both surprised in the end.

 

The end with Ellison and Anarchy left me with hope for a future romance between them. But then again I've been hoping for a couple of books now.

 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the galley.

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review 2017-05-03 20:53
Watching the Detectives - Julie Mulhern

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I loved the Mrs. White dead in the study and Mr. White dead in the dining room part of it. The main character, Ellison, is definitely someone I would have to think twice about being her friend. It seems everywhere she goes the bodies start piling up.

There are several quirky characters that really made the story appealing. There is also an underlying theme that is very serious and plays a major role in this cozy mystery. This was my fourth book by this author and she has yet to disappoint me. This series is fun, enjoyable and entertaining.

Huge thanks to Henery Press for approving my request and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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